My grandmother was a master crocheter. Crocheting is something she learned as a child, and she never let it go. When I was young I remember her trying to teach my sister and me how to crochet, but it didn’t stick. In my adult years, I decided I wanted to learn. But I didn’t tell my grandmother about it. Instead I bought books to teach myself how to crochet so that I could surprise her. I am so glad I was able to do that before she passed. I am not a master crocheter like she was. Usually I stick with simple things like blankets, scarves, or hats. My grandmother, on the other hand, could create dolls, purses, and many other elaborate items. After learning to crochet, I tried knitting as well. I never stuck with it because it seemed to take a lot longer to complete an item. Then I was introduced to looms, which I enjoy using a lot. But for many months I had not touched any of these things.
Recently in the pandemic, I picked it back up again and I am so glad I did. I forgot how therapeutic it was. When we were riding in the vehicle recently, I brought my latest project along. My husband said to me, “Isn’t that tiring?” And I said, “No, it’s soothing.” He replied, “I should try it.” I agreed and he laughed. He was kidding, but I wasn’t. It really is a great art to learn, especially if you are looking for a stress reliever. It is believed that any kind of yarn-crafting can relieve depression, reduce anxiety, build self-esteem, reduce or postpone dementia, relieve insomnia, help relax, aid prayer, help with grief, and relieve stress.
But crocheting and knitting are not the only creative arts that can improve mental health. Drawing, painting , collage, coloring, and sculpting can help heal emotions, improve self-esteem, manage addictions, relieve stress, improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, and cope with a physical illness or disability.
Crafts can also help us in this area as well. Crafts can help us recover from traumatic life events, relieve stress, build self esteem and find moments of calm.
If you prefer music, playing an instrument can also help with stress, insomnia, and depression. Singing, playing instruments, and dancing are also found in the Bible. Music is definitely a great way to boost your mood, especially if it is praise music. Praising God turns our attention towards Him, and takes our focus off of our worries.
“Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.” – Psalm 105:2
If the events of 2020 have been bringing you down, I want to encourage you to try creative therapy. If you already are gifted in one of the pastimes I mentioned, maybe it’s time to pick it back up. Or if you have never tried any of these hobbies, perhaps now would be a good time to learn.
© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas