As we are coming to the end of mental health awareness month I thought I’d take a little time to reflect on crochet and mental health.
I am a worrier, I worry about everything. What to wear, whether we have everything in for tea, how a certain conversation is going to go, where will I be in a month or a years time, is my brother getting on okay in his exams, how did my friends appointment go, are my guinea pigs too warm in this heat, should I be drinking this diet coke without a straw, will I make my train today, absolutely everything. I have a busy job and have something on or things to do most evenings so I get tired and can feel quite down at times with how things are going in life.
Crochet is my way of leaving all those worries, anxieties and sad thoughts behind. I love to get snuggled up with my hook and get lost in a pattern.
I think the reason why it helps is that you have to fully concentrate on what you’re doing, I can have the TV on in the background but I’m usually only half watching (it’s not good to have something with a lot of subtitles while working on a project I have found…!). There’s no thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow or whether I sent that email or if we have enough fabric conditioner, it’s all about what’s on the hook. I think the repetitive nature of crochet and the constant counting helps, it’s very relaxing and almost forces you switch off.
I love how you can literally see a project grow and come together, you are creating a thing! Whether it’s a simple granny square or intricate doilies you can see it forming in front of you. You have achieved something today. Making cute amigurumi, and bringing the character to life with adorable features can’t help but bring a smile to your face too.
Quite often I will plan what I will crochet each night too, many a wintery walk to work from the train station is me thinking about and looking forward to finishing a pokemon commission tonight and doing a few more rounds of a current work-in-progress tomorrow and thinking of the more time consuming projects I can begin or finish over the weekend.
There are other ways crochet can help mental health. I love hearing about crochet or knitting circles where people get together, bring their project bags along and just crochet away while chatting with each other. Sometimes it’s easier to talk about things that are bothering us with others whilst everyone is absent mindedly doing something else. Making things for others also makes me feel happy, especially if it’s a surprise or a present. When things turn out exactly how I want fills me with pride.
If a pattern is very confusing or doesn’t work out right it can be frustrating and sometimes feels like I’ve wasted time if I have to do some dreaded frogging, but at least I have (hopefully) learned from what I did wrong. I tend to keep these harder projects for a weekend when I’m more rested and in a better state of mind for complex hooking!
No matter what the problem is, we all need our own ways of dealing with our mental health. I know I am very lucky in that I don’t have severe issues but even my worries are helped by a couple of doubles and trebles. Just a few minutes to myself where I can be quiet and peaceful with my yarn and hook to do something that I love can make such a difference in my mood, outlook and sense of achievement ❤
Does crochet help you to relax and find yourself? What do you do instead?