Do you find yourself stressed out and looking for a way to relieve your anxiety?
Sometimes we hold onto all this tension and anxiety without even realising it until we sit down and do something creative. Taking five minutes out of your day to sit down and do a craft can help to take your mind off all the things that are going on around you.
Crafting is a wonderful way to connect you to practising mindfulness; as your experience allows you to become more aware of your surroundings, so you start to feel its calming effects, which help reduce stress.
Mindfulness uses the right side of your brain, the same side as art marking. We don’t use this part of our brain nearly as much because we’ve been conditioned and praised for being rational and logical. But the right hemisphere is what births our creative juices, intuitive abilities, daydreaming, emotions and visual imagery.
Former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Prof Mark Williams shares: “It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us; to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’. An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. (Source https://mnessexmind.org/mindfulness-for-mental-wellbeing//)
Mindfulness through craft-making can help with:
– Reducing stress
– Reducing anxiety
– Overcoming depressive symptoms
– Increasing calmness and concentration
– Promoting empathy for others
What craft should I try?
There’s no right or wrong way to go about it.
During the last lockdown, I decided to choose a craft that was fun, useful, and would make wonderful gifts for friends. So I bought a soap making kit online. Now soap making may seem a little left field to the more well known crafts like knitting, cross stitching, painting, drawing, pottery, or writing and journaling, but I like making things with my hands.
How to get started?
The wonderful thing about mindfulness through craft-making is that it can be tailored into anyone’s daily schedule or routine. When starting out on a project, give yourself permission to be in the moment. This will help get you into the (mindful) flow of your creation, so you’ll simply be at ease and fully immersed in your work.
In order to practice this type of mindfulness, you need a space where you can be alone to stay focused. The most common interruptors I find are children and phone notifications. Ideally, the space where mindfulness through craft making takes place should be quiet, calm, clean, organised and clutter free.
To begin mindfulness through craft-making, individuals should find a comfortable seat or cushion and prepare their materials before they start. It is also important to plan out your mindfulness through craft making session so that you do not get distracted with any little details that may lead to more distractions.
How to practise mindfulness?
Once you have your materials prepared, begin mindfulness through craft making by focusing on the present moment and making sure to stay in tune with yourself. If your mind begins to wander or become distracted, gently bring yourself back by focusing on your breath, the sensations in your body or becoming aware of what is around you.
Once your craft-making is complete, it’s time to take a mindfulness break through self-care. The two go hand in hand. So whilst mindfulness helps reduce stress, self-care allows you to focus on yourself for a little while.
A self-care break can be anything that promotes calmness such as listening to music, reading a book, or taking a walk to enjoy nature. For mindfulness through craft-making and self-care to be most effective, you must take time out of your day and make it a priority.
Craft based mindfulness is something that has helped me on my slightly bumpy journey through this pandemic, and can be more than just an enjoyable pastime. It is one of the best ways to reduce stress, prevent burnout and improve mental clarity. And it doesn’t have to be about soap-making, sewing or knitting either!
If you are looking for more ways to relieve your anxiety … what about paper crafts, scrapbooking, I love cooking Indian curries (and eating!), or jewellery making.
You don’t need expensive supplies or elaborate equipment; all that’s needed is some enthusiasm and maybe a little bit of space in your home where no one will bother you.
Image of marble swirl and honey soaps by Fiona Craig
Fiona Craig is a life coach, psychotherapist, business mentor, and published author of the award winning self-help book, “Stuck in a Rut – How to rescue yourself & live your truth” helping women remove the fear, worry and guilt to confidently take the steps towards creating the life they want to live.
Fiona has been interviewed by The Australian Women’s Weekly, Women’s Fitness Magazine and The New Daily and written articles for Collective Magazine, Herald Sun Melbourne, Sunday Life Magazine, Career One, I Am Woman Magazine, plus Mouths Of Mums and other online publications. You can learn more about working with Fiona at www.lifebalancecoach.com.au or call 0405 433 217.