There are lots of reasons to take up a crafting hobby – from passing the time in winter, to making gifts for friends, to the simple, pure enjoyment of mastering a new skill. It’s worth asking if crafting is good for you – is your next craft subscription box good for your health, as well as a fun hobby?
Today, we’re taking a look.
Is Crafting Exercise?
Unfortunately, crafting is unlikely to be directly physically good for you in the same way as running, swimming or a session at the gym. It entails, after all, long periods of sitting still, hunched over a knitting project or embroidery hoop.
In fact, there are several steps you’ll have to take to make sure crafting isn’t actually harmful to your health! You’ll need a chair that offers support for your back, and to be conscious of your posture. Being literally hunched over your knitting can cause serious back pain!
You’ll also need to make sure you have adequate light – squinting to make out small stitches in insufficient light is a recipe for a headache. You’ll also need to remind yourself to get up and move from time to time. Long periods sitting still can increase the risk of your blood clotting, so getting up, stretching, and moving about every hour is a must!
Crafts and Your Mental Health
One area where a crafting hobby really can be good for you is in your mental health. Crafts offer a sense of reward uncoupled from the financial pressure of work, where you can simply enjoy your growing mastery of the skills of your chosen craft. If work is stressful, this can be a much needed escape.
As well as providing a simple distraction, crafts can also be helpful to people suffering from depression and anxiety. Getting absorbed in your knitting, sewing, embroidery or papercrafts can create a state of mind similar to the ‘mindfulness’ called up by meditation techniques. This helps you focus on the present moment, and calms thoughts that focus obsessively on a distressing past or anxiety inducing future.
The stillness and focus on small, intricate repetitions mirror meditation techniques – while meditation would traditionally have you focus on your breathing, or repeating an intonation, in crafting the small, precise repetitions with the embroidery or knitting needle focus your attention in a similar way.
While it’s unlikely to constitute a whole answer for severe mental distress, developing your crafting skills might well prove to be a useful tool in your arsenal for dealing with difficult times in your life.