Cozy season is upon us, and my cozy hobby is crocheting. You may wonder how this relates to a blog on Cornerstone? Turns out, knitting and crochet are clinically proven to help relieve anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and to help with eating disorders. Yarn work affects us deeply, maybe tapping into the primal needs of us as humans to create, provide, and contribute.
Personally, I love shopping for yarn. It’s a creative process in itself to choose colors for a project and find just the right yarn. It is deeply satisfying to have a stash of yarn you know will soon be something useful, that you made, that will hopefully become a family heirloom or just a treasured accessory. Gift-giving takes on a new, more personal tone when you have spent hours making something for someone that you love.
The process of yarn work takes concentration, skill, counting, and problem-solving. It sounds daunting, but it makes me so happy to figure out a new stitch. For easier projects, the repetition and busyness of it keeps my mind occupied and truly, makes me very happy and calm. There are so many videos on Youtube and tutorials all over the web – it is easier than ever to pick up this healing hobby.
I stumbled on the mental benefits of crocheting by accident. I have depression and anxiety, and had not done any yarn work for years. I decided this year to pick it up again and immediately noticed an improvement in my mental health. When I would take a day off, I felt the depression creeping back in. I would work a few rows and I strangely had an almost immediate improvement. I can’t say that it will work like this for everyone, but it is most definitely worth a try. I am still taking my medication, still doing all the other things I do to help myself, and with this addition, I may have actually found a way for true relief.
You may have noticed one of the British divers, Tom Daley, at the Tokyo Olympics knitting in the stands. He says it helped him stay sane under the pressure of performance. Instead of letting his mind be overwhelmed by the stress and anxiety to be the best as he waited for his turn, he instead calmed his mind with the repetitious and creative process of knitting. As someone with anxiety knows, the pressure to perform, and having to wait to do so, it overwhelming at times. Tom is self-soothing with this timeless hobby.
The Craft Yarn Council has a group called #stitchaweaythestress, where they provide happy projects to work on and provide some shocking statistics – 85% of yarn workers experience reduced stress, and 93% experience a feeling of accomplishment. Check out their page where they provide basics for getting started crocheting or knitting!
Yarn work is in no way meant to replace mental health counseling, and certainly not meant to replace any medication you may be on. But you may find that it is an excellent addition to your mental health work in general. The staff at Cornerstone are here for you, to help you care for your mental health, just as you would your physical health. Remember, you matter.