So far 2020 has been trauma and disaster one after another. Many people have turned to their hobbies to cope.
When I was a teenager I worked at the community pool. I had a supervisor there whose favorite chore was to clean the wall length windows. She said the repetitive motion and seeing a task completed was relaxing and fulfilling. Sound familiar?
I found a great article that goes deeper. “Knitting as Therapy” by Daniel Natalo-Lifton discusses the reasons why knitting is so therapeutic. The one I most relate to is the sense of accomplishment. No matter how complex the piece might be, you’ve finished and have something to show!
There have been several studies using textile arts as occupational therapy. It can help with depression, chronic pain, managing stress, and anxiety. I think one of the reason why it helps so much is because your brain is active yet inactive at the same time. Typically you aren’t circling some negative thought over and over again while you are knitting. It’s counting stitches or reading what’ll happen next in the pattern. Even if you are doing the same stitch repetitively you are concentrating on not dropping a stitch or splitting the yarn. It allows you to let your mind go but still be grounded.
Choosing your background sounds can help even more lower your stress. You can listen to uplifting books or podcasts, catch that new tv show, or sit outside and listen to the bugs and birds. Whatever you choose, you get to choose it! Being able to choose our surroundings is really important when there are so many things we don’t have control over.
There is a ton of crafting communities out there. On every social media outlet there is a group or a person that would love to have you. From beginners to experts there is something out there for you. New to knitting? Find a YouTube channel to step by step teach you how. Are you an experienced knitter already? Try doing a test knit and help out a new designer. yarnpond.com has open calls for knitting and crocheting for all skill levels! During this time of social distancing there are a lot of people turning to zoom calls to knit and chat.
Textile arts may not solve all the world’s problems, but it can help. Stay safe out there. Wash your hands and don’t be a dick.