June 20th, 2014
Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. This is part 2 in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.
Last month we explored the top ten health benefits of yarncrafting. Many of you chimed in with great comments about how crochet and knitting have helped you to heal from a variety of different ailments. Want to get more intentional about that? This five-step guide will help you create your own yarncrafting wellness plan.
1. List The Symptoms You Want to Cure
- Physical pain including headaches, muscle aches, and chronic pain
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Feelings of uselessness
- Addiction including food cravings
Knitting and crochet can help with each of these things. For example, it can be a distraction that reduces physical pain and helps control diet cravings and it can provide relaxation to reduce stress-related headaches and irritability. However, not every symptom will apply to you so think about what you really want to solve. It’s a lot easier to get healthy when you know what specific ailments you’re trying to reduce.
2. List The Ways Crochet and Knitting Can Help
Make a list of all of the ways that crochet and knitting can help with each of the ailments on your list. You can do some research to find the scientific answers or just use what you already know from experience. Some of the most common ways that crafting helps with symptoms include:
- Serotonin release – natural mood-booster and natural painkiller
- Distraction – breaks ruminating thoughts, takes focus off of body
- Builds self esteem – feels productive, useful and creative
- Calming, restful benefits of mindfulness practice
- Serves as a form of prayer
- Keeps the hands active and limber and occupied – for reducing some hand pain and keeping hands off of craving items like food
- Neuroprotective – helps retain memory
3. Create a Journal of Craft Ideas That Meet Your Needs
When you see the direct benefits of the craft for your symptoms, it’s easier to find the right projects and commit to a clear yarncrafting wellness plan. For example, if you want to reap the neuroprotective benefits of knitting to avoid age-related memory loss then you’ll want to consistently try new patterns and techniques and work on complicated projects. In contrast, if you’re seeking the peacefulness of prayer crafting then you may focus on making a daily practice of a repetitive pattern like a granny-square crochet project. With this in mind, put together a journal of patterns and craft ideas that you can turn to for inspiration throughout the year. You may do this in a physical notebook or using an online tool like Ravelry or Pinterest.
4. Consider Any Barriers That May Hinder Your Crafting
It’s important to anticipate the types of things that can get in the way of your yarncrafting wellness plan. Some common barriers:
• Time constraints
• Physical hand pain
• Lack of yarn resources
• Procrastination problems
• Overwhelming disorganized stash
• Negative comments from others
What is your biggest barrier to crafting? Make a “plan B” to deal with any barriers that you think could pose a problem for you. For example, free up your schedule by dropping an unwanted commitment if you anticipate not having enough time to craft daily. Or if you have hand pain, look into hand exercises and ergonomic craft tools.
5. Set Aside the Time and Commit to Crafting!
Now you know exactly what you want to get out of crafting, how you plan to get it and what projects you’ll do as part of your plan. It’s time to make the commitment. Figure out when your planned crafting time it is, write it on your calendar and don’t let anything get in the way of your wellness. It can help if you come up with a related affirmation to say daily, such as “I crochet every day because it helps boost my mood and relieves feelings of depression that can hinder so many areas of my life. I do this for myself and for those around me.”
Bonus tip: It’s a great idea to keep a short craft journal to help you track the success of your yarncrafting plan. At the end of each craft session, write down what you did and how it helped you along with any additional ideas you have for boosting your health with yarncrafting.