This article has taken so many twists and turns. Like… I’m writing it and I have no idea what direction it’s going in. Seems to be a bit like an analogy for life; “No idea what directions it’s going in.” I wanted to try and put into words the benefits of crafting for mental health. Crafting is the best escape. But mental health still remains a difficult thing to talk about. We talk about our physical health much easier, but mental health still remains taboo. During the current outbreak of the crazy COVID, I am paying way more attention to the little things. My priorities have done a full 180.
Coast to Coast
Living such a wickedly busy life means I don’t get as much time for myself as I’d like. Actually, let me re-phrase that. I don’t make enough time for myself. Aye 2.0 have spent the last 3 years travelling all over Scotland, growing our Scottish blog and helping small businesses with digital marketing. And every moment has been bloody brilliant. But it’s been pretty difficult to maintain a decent work-life balance. So much so that whenever we are exploring any of the wonderful beaches on the Scottish coast, I am usually knee deep in the sand hunting for Scottish sea glass to craft with. Because I’ve always dreamt of crafting time, but have never made the time to actually do any crafting. And I am sure I’m not the only one.
Benefits of Crafting for Mental Health
There are just so many benefits of being creative in improving mental health. The current COVID outbreak has forced me to take a breath. Instead of booking myself in for 63 meetings a day. With no rest. I am now taking things a little more slowly. Instead of 63 meetings in one day, I limit myself to 42. And that extra time has been ploughed into home decor and crafting.
Distractions are the best for my anxiety. And there’s something in it. Polly Allen on Mind.org talks about how distractions helped her with her mental health. When you are distracted, you aren’t focussing on the things that are getting you down. I have collected sea glass for years and I have a fair collection. I say fair, I mean huge. Poor Aye 2.0 has spent most of our beach wanders with pockets full of “treasure.” Which I have then shoved in a box and forgotten about. Until now… I’ve spent the last few weeks making a mosaic vase from sea glass. It’s not perfect, but it carries so many fond memories of beach-combing and Scottish travels. It has been just wonderful for me.
Creativity has helped soldiers with mental health for over 100 years. Crafting was first “prescribed” to help soldiers with mental and physical ailments after World War 1. Craig Mealing, an ex-soldier even managed to turn his pottery into a career. Pottery which he did to help with PTSD and to keep him from drinking alcohol. Creativity in itself is a distraction.
There’s something crazy satisfying about creating something. Something that you did. Successfully. Or in my case, somewhat successfully. Nobody’s perfect eh? But just look at the pride on my face, I couldn’t be more chuffed.
Mental health problems can make you really anti-social. Been there, done that. Not nice. There are crafting communities for basically any craft. In the current crazy COVID climate, when we can’t actually see our crafting community, we can simply go online and have access to literally thousands of crafting communities. And there is no pressure! These communities are a great place to share your work, get tips and advice, and to admire other crafters work. Do as little or as much as you are comfortable with.
I live by the sea which inspired my love of beach-combing and sea glass crafting. In saying that, I am just at the beginning of my crafting journey and would love to hear from other crafters. If you fancy trying crafting but have no idea where to start, hop onto Pinterest. Although I must issue a warning: Pinterest is addictive, you might forget to change for a few days. Happy crafting!