Too Busy for Arts & Crafts?

Kimberly Vallance

knitted heart

When does self-care get scheduled in your calendar?

You know you need it but it’s ever so easy to be “too busy”. Is your own physical and mental health always at the bottom of your to-do list?

Self-care promotes stress relief and, of course, reducing stress has many health benefits. There has been much research done about the health benefits of crafting. For example:

  • A 2011 study conducted with a random sample of 1,321 people ages 70 to 89, most of whom were cognitively normal, found that those who engaged in crafts like knitting and crocheting were less likely to develop cognitive impairment and memory loss. The researchers speculated that craft activities promote the development of neural pathways in the brain that help to maintain cognitive health.
  • A 2014 study demonstrated that learning to quilt or do digital photography enhanced memory function in older adults.

Crafting of any kind engages the mind and releases pent-up stress.

Spending time with others is also self-care.

The CDC, State, and Local government guidelines and restrictions on gatherings and social interactions in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 have severely limited our opportunities for social interaction. Many have been deeply impacted by the lack of connection to other human beings. Now is a great time to enjoy the camaraderie of craft classes and other group events.

Commit 15 minutes a day for self-care.

Many studies have shown that as little as 15 minutes of crafting “playtime” can provide significant health benefits. And well, it’s just plain fun! You deserve some of that. Here’s a suggestion to help you make the commitment to yourself.

Limit one or more aspects of your chosen craft. This reduces the number of choices your brain has to consider and make, which reduces the energy required while still providing the benefits. For example:

  1. Set a timer on your phone or a kitchen timer for 15 minutes or whatever time you want to allot.
  2. Focus only on what the current step in your project needs.
  3. When the timer goes off, decide between continuing for another set amount of time or stopping to attend to other commitments.

Even 15 minutes a day adds up to several hours over a month’s time, and one or more projects completed each month, quarter, or year!

Remember: creativity is when time falls away, pain disappears, and joy fills you!

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