Why adult crafting is so good for my mental health
At the end of last year my sister set up a crafting business (Creation Station Iver Heath if you wanna go check it out!) where she put on monthly crafting classes for adults. As a lover of crafts myself (I have a craft toolbox which I use to make cards and cute bits and bobs for my loved ones) I jumped at the opportunity to take part!
At first, I thought it’d just be a bit of fun and I was mainly there to support my sister, but it has turned out to be so much more. I have a naturally overactive and anxious mind. Sometimes when I come out of the shower I have to physically write down all the mental to-do lists I created whilst I was thinking in there, all the ideas I had for potential novels and articles and a list of all the people I’ve been meaning to get in touch with. A hyper-active mind might be more accurate!
However, by its very nature crafting is a slow and physical process and often if you let your mind wander off into other realms you’ll do a shoddy job on what you’re making. For example, one of the first craft evenings I attended we made button canvases where we had to sift out the buttons we wanted from a pile, and glue them individually to the canvas to create something we’d want to display. Even describing it, it sounds like a delicate and therapeutic procedure. It’s also nice to do something with your hands. Most of us have office jobs and even in my job which allows me to be pretty creative, I miss producing something I can take home and put on my window sill. We just don’t get that sense of achievement from many other things these days. All we get is striking a line through something on our to-do list. Even on the days when I feel tired after work, after I leave, I always have a smile on my face.
It's been great to see the effect these crafting sessions have had on others. I didn’t expect to see my dad, a man who I’d never seen do anything creative for most my life, create a glittery reindeer or decorate a mug using ceramic paints. There is also a regular attendee who is in her 80’s and her daughter has shared with us that attending these events regularly has transformed her. Getting together with others in this kind of setting can be so joyful. Seeing someone struggle to get the hang of a particular craft and then creating something beautiful at the end is always great to see.
A craft I made:
In a world where we’re so digitally focussed, and I’m not saying that in a bad way because I am the biggest cheerleader for the positive things that have come from social media and the like, it is easy to forget just how things are made. When we can press a button on our phones and get any product delivered to our door in 24 hours, it’s refreshing to take a step back and spend a full hour doing something like trying to create petals from pieces of wire.
I also enjoy the fact that doing something slowly just for the joy of it is much better than being productive. I often feel guilty when I spend my time doing things that are ‘not productive.’ This is from the ‘hustle culture’ which has been ingrained into us by so-called entrepreneurs, that claim they don’t sleep and use every moment to advance themselves. Well, I’ve learned that sometimes to advance yourself you must stand still, take care of your brain, which is a fragile thing, and just chill the fuck out. Crafting, for me, is the perfect way to do this.
Another craft I made: