When thinking of crafting, I know many of us (if you’re old enough) probably recall making boondoggle keychains at summer camp or bringing home that homemade gift for a holiday that we made in class. Sure, those were great memories and I’m sure our loved one’s enjoyed each and every piece of work we brought home but those are memories, right? I mean, who can possibly benefit from me creating something now?
The answer is simple. You can!
But Katrina, what do you mean?
Crafting is designed for all ages, races, genders, and ethnicities. Sure, it is very common for all of us to revert back to our childhood when thinking of crafting, but crafting has actually shown to be quite therapeutic for all age groups.
Therapeutic? How so?
Research has shown that crafting, regardless of the medium you use, can bolster mood, improve self-confidence, and reduce stress overall. In addition, crafting has also shown to improve mental agility, improves both gross and fine motor movements, and also decrease cognitive decline. Crafting additionally has been shown to be a natural anti-depressant. Research studies have shown that those suffering from PTSD, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Insomnia and any level of chronic pain have achieved a reduction in symptoms by incorporating crafts into their lives.
Crafting creates a situation very similar to that of meditation. When engaged in a craft, you are focusing on the here and now. In those moments, time stands still. You are able to forget the stressors of day to day life and be part of something completely separate. In addition, crafting stimulates the production of dopamine, the “feel good” neurotransmitter, that is responsible for pleasure and enjoyment.
So what craft do I have to do to achieve these benefits?
Any! The beauty of crafting is that crafting is non-specific and can be anything that your heart desires! From the classics (knitting, quilting, sewing, ceramics) to the more modern-day crafts (card making, resin, body scrubs, or macrame).
But Katrina I’m not crafty, I don’t know what I like?
No problem! Start off with something simple such as a paint by number or the newly popular (and amazingly relaxing) diamond painting which is a very guided craft activity with the same quality results! There are also some amazing craft YouTube channels to give you some guidance! Low on cash? No problem again! Crafts do NOT have to an extra expense. Check out some of those old household products or recyclables you no longer have use for! There are many projects that can be done by simply checking out what supplies you have on hand.
Katrina, I just don’t know where to start. What do you suggest?
Join Sandy Pufpaff or myself Wednesdays for live guided activities on Spectrum Health and Human Services Community of Caring! We have a multitude of craft ideas that are designed for all ages and are made from products you already have in your home! Sandy and I recognize how important craft activities can be to your overall health and it would be our honor to help you make and create something special while bolstering your well-being!
By Katrina Norris
Program Manager II
Spectrum Health & Human Services
Springville Counseling Center