How crafting can boost your mental wellbeing

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Crafting for mental health; woman knitting

Not only is it great fun, creating things can also do wonders for your wellbeing, helping to ease stress, anxiety and depression

Brush away those lockdown blues by taking up a new crafting hobby. Whether it's knitting, painting or pottery, it can benefit you in lots of different ways.

The benefits of crafting

Crafting for mental health; woman colouring in

In a 2018 poll by The Handmade Fair, 75% of respondents backed the claim that crafting can be beneficial to mental health, with many revealing that it had helped them to deal with stress, anxiety, depression and other conditions.

This statistic has been backed up by further studies. One, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, noted that 81% of 3,500 knitters polled reported feeling 'happy' after knitting. More than half said that the activity made them 'very happy'. This is perhaps unsurprising considering the fact that the repetitive nature of knitting has been shown to release serotonin in the brain.

Crafting for mental health; woman decorating cake

Crafting may also help to ward off the onset of dementia. Evidence suggests that Alzheimer's disease is caused by plaque gathering around the brain's synapses – connections between the nerves that enable the transfer of information. It is possible for the brain to create new synapses, however, and one of the best ways of doing this is by learning a new skill, such as crafting. 

Add in the fact that crafting can promote a sense of achievement, boosting self-esteem, and you start to see why it's a popular pastime with millions of people around the world. 

Choose your craft

Crafting for mental health; man doing pottery

So, what area of crafting are you going to experiment with? 

"Any arts and crafts will help with mental wellbeing, from cross stitch to crochet, patchwork to sewing and more," says Debora Bradley, Immediate Media's Assistant Publisher, Craft. "Anything that gets you to create, in no matter how small a way, is good for the soul. Knitting is particularly helpful for anyone who suffers from anxiety or pain, because it uses both sides of the body and brain, which puts the mind into a state similar to meditation, and changes how the brain experiences sensation."

Read more about the therapeutic qualities of knitting

A renewed sense of purpose

Crafting for mental health; woodworking

With the country in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, there's never been a better time to start crafting. Getting stuck into a project – whether that be creating a collage, knitting a cardigan or building a new coffee table – will give you a renewed sense of purpose when you wake up in the morning. And once you've finished, you'll feel a real sense of pride at what you've made.

Under normal circumstances, we would urge you to have a look at the classes and groups that are happening in your local area. But with everything currently closed because of the coronavirus, that's not an option. Happily, there are many resources online to give you inspiration and help you to master your chosen craft.

Free crafting projects

Crafting for mental health; couple pottery has an endless selection of free projects you can choose from, including a feature on 30 stash-busting projects you can make with a small selection of materials. Crafting with kids? You'll find everything from fabulous Easter projects to easy recipes. And there is plenty of inspiration for transforming household items into useful and decorative things for you and your home.

You'll also find plenty of general info here, including guides on how to knit and make a quiltWe hope you have fun looking – you're sure to find at least one craft you'll love!

As for materials, you probably already have plenty of bits and pieces at home that you can craft with. If you have some paper or card, you could make cards for family or learn to draw. Done a shop? Well then, try out potato printing. Otherwise, plenty of online retailers are still doing deliveries – you may find what you need, and at a discounted price, by clicking here.

Get 20% off an online crafting workshop through Virgin Experience Days

Virgin Experience Days is giving you the chance to enjoy an online 'paper garland making' workshop hosted by Peach Blossom's decoration experts. Paper garlands date back to the Roman era, and still make beautiful decorations for the home today. As a Boundless member, you will receive 20% off the usual price, meaning you'll pay just £15.60. For more information, click here.

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