Updated March 22, 2021
I happen to work in a very stressful job, and one of my favourite ways to de-stress is with crochet. I’m passionate about my job, but also that have no illusions about it after fifteen years. Being passionate and disillusioned at the same time causes a lot of internal conflict for me, conflict that causes my body to go into flight or fight. And over the years, I’ve discovered a few ways to manage that stress.
Hobbies. Hobbies have really helped me shift my mind and thoughts away from the stressors I experience at work. Hobbies set me on the road to self care. And my most favourite way to de-stress is crochet.
Why De-Stress with Crochet?
You might ask this question. And the reasons are simple. Your hands are busy. Many of us often feel like we need busy hands. Which might be why so many people are often reaching for their phones when they’ve nothing to do, like during commercials on TV. Another reason is colour therapy. Yarn comes in such a wide array of colours. You might find yourself drawn to bright colours, or colours that are more mellow. The colours can uplift, or calm you. It’s a sensory experience. Ever been around a small child who gets absorbed in playing with playdough, water or sand? That’s because it’s sensory. Adults need these experiences as well. The melodic motions of crochet are soothing. As is the feel of the yarn itself, soft and cozy. It’s a way to practice mindfulness. If your hands are busy focusing on how to create a stitch, or following a pattern, you are not caught up in the whirlwind of anxious thoughts. And last but maybe not least, completing a project is hugely rewarding. Humans need to feel a sense of accomplishment I think, and hobbies can often be ways to accomplish little (but meaningful) goals.
Related Post: Crochet Projects I Want to Hook Up This Year
Evidence of How Crochet Reduces Stress
I was surprised to learn that there is actual evidence that crochet (or knit) can reduce stress. While I had experienced it, and drawn the conclusion that if my mind is busy learning or following a pattern, I had no idea that these hand movements, which are repetitive, are work for the brain and therefore distracting. If your mind is distracted, it can’t focus on things that cause anxiety. As I said above, working with yarn is sensory, and this too provides feedback to the brain and body that is pleasing. And, as you crochet, the repetitive movements release serotonin, and the mood improving hormone. Those who knit or crochet have show a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. These are only a few examples of the evidence that crochet can actually help reduce stress!
How Do I Learn to Crochet?
If you’re thinking, well that’s great but I don’t know how to crochet, never fear. Because there are TONS of crochet blogs and tutorials out there. And I mean, tons. You don’t need someone’s grandma or ancient aunt to teach you. You can learn it all from Youtube. Of course, if you want to learn from a real person, you totally can. There are classes offered at local yarn stores, and even Micheals. So, if you are need in of a new hobby, or ever thought crochet (or knit) would be relaxing, this just might be the hobby for you.
I know many people say that they just can’t move their hands in the right way or that knit or crochet are too fussy, or that they don’t have the attention span to learn this kind of skill. And, while I understand it may not be everyone’s “thing” I would encourage you to keep trying as learning any new skill takes time. Just because you are struggling to learn how to chain stitch doesn’t mean you never will. It just means you haven’t learned yet. Patience is key, and so is perseverance.
I have found crocheting immensely beneficial to my mental health. It has helped me manage my anxiety, and there have been times when little else did. Creating something as simple as a scarf brought a smile to my face, and completing my first sweater gave me a sense of pride that little else has in recent years. And, it is honestly so much fun. I have no choice but to forget my problems.
What do you do to de-stress? Let me know in the comments, xo