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It is such an exciting time of year! We can look forward to gatherings of family and friends, festive outings, and big hearty meals followed by delicious sugary treats. And don’t forget the giving and receiving of heartfelt gifts. Everywhere you look, there are decorations, music, and celebrations of the winter holidays.
But all those wonderful things can also be a great source of anxiety. There is so much to do: baking, shopping, decorating, planning for the parties, etc. Some of us have events with extended family that might get a little too confrontational or drawn-out office parties that leave us exhausted. Not to mention all the stress of trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
Between the financial pressures, big expectations, and excessive commitments, the holidays can leave many of us physically and emotionally exhausted. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way that we could take some time off to relax and enjoy ourselves while still marking off our never-ending holiday to-do list?
Continue reading to find out how crafting can help ease holiday anxiety:
Crafting To The Rescue
Whether it’s baking cookies, knitting holiday sweaters, or making homemade decorations, there is a ton of ways to craft around the holidays. And while we are painting those ornaments for the tree, designing the wreath for the front door, or preparing the cocoa cookies for the school party, the act of crafting is itself helping to reduce our anxiety.
Crafting has been shown to have several benefits for our mental health:
Getting in the flow
When we’re focused on something, we aren’t thinking about everything else on our list. Crafting can help us be more present in the moment. A 2017 paper compared the mindfulness of crafting to mediation, with similar mental health benefits. This can be bettered by purchasing some Kratom tea, or another herbal tea, that can give us increased motivation and focus on tasks such as crafting. If you haven’t tried this before, make sure to do your research on the benefits of herbal remedies!
Lowers our stress
Art therapy is often used to reduce stress levels in patients from PTSD to breast cancer. Multiple studies have shown that making art, from drawing, modelling, knitting, to painting, lowers our cortisol levels. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is linked to headaches, depression, insomnia, and weight gain. One study found that just 45 minutes of making visual art reduced cortisol levels in 75% of participants, regardless of whether they were new to crafting or seasoned pros.
Makes us more resilient
Crafting is a great way to foster our creative spirits. Creativity encourages us to think differently and step out of our old ways of thinking. By encouraging us to think more open-mindedly, creativity and crafting can enhance our mental resilience.
Boosts our self-esteem
Crafting can give us a sense of accomplishment and pride in seeing our completed work. Many projects can be completed with little prior experience, and even if they don’t turn out perfectly, we can take pride in our completed work.
Makes Us Happy
While we are getting in the zone mentally and our bodies are lowering our stress levels, crafting has a positive effect on our emotions. Scientific studies on numerous crafts, including knitting, gardening, to baking, show that the art of crafting boosts our positive moods. Creating art is a fun activity that makes us happy.
Crafts Make Great Holiday Gifts
With all the stress of finding the perfect holiday gifts for everyone, crafting can provide an ideal solution.
When we are making a gift for someone, it’s made for them specifically. It can be very personal, and we can design it to reflect their personality and interests, making it so much more than an ordinary store-bought present.
Crafted With Love
Homemade gifts can express how much you care about someone. They can be incredibly thoughtful, and it’s not unusual for the recipient to find a few tears in their eyes on opening a truly meaningful crafted gift.
Might Save You Money
The holidays can be very expensive and put a lot of financial stress on you. Crafted gifts may be less expensive than store-bought ones. However, keep in mind that crafting takes time. You don’t want to trade off saving a few dollars only to give yourself more stress because you don’t have enough time to complete everything.
Crafting is A Great Social Activity
From the quilting bees of long ago to craft fairs of our modern-day, crafting has a long tradition of bringing people together. The socialization and camaraderie in crafting can build new relationships and strengthen existing bonds.
And there are unique mental health benefits from crafting for different age groups. Creating art has been shown to help children express themselves and build confidence. At the same time, it has been linked to a lower risk of dementia in older adults. Planning for a family holiday crafting activity can be an excellent way to help with holiday stress for everyone while encouraging healthy family bonding.
Make the Most of Your Holiday Crafting Time
In order to get the maximum benefits of holiday crafting, it’s important to plan ahead. The last thing we want is an activity that is supposed to lower stress, giving us more anxiety instead.
Know Your Workspace
If possible, find a separate work area for crafting. Even if it’s setting up a folding table for the day, try to find a particular place to create. A little planning can avoid potential sore tempers if a half-dry project gets ruined because it needs to be moved off the dinner table at mealtime.
Plan Ahead for Materials
Decide in advance what the project is going to be and what materials are needed. Buy everything ahead of time to avoid frustration in the middle of a project. If it’s a family activity, perhaps have a mix of materials but plan for a central theme like making ornaments or card crafting.
Make It Fun
This is a special time of year, and crafting is a great way to make it festive. Put on some holiday music in the background, light some candles (away from the crafting table), get some cocoa, and make it a special event for yourself.
This holiday season, try out some new craft projects. It will help your health and mental well-being and is a wonderful way to focus on the positives and joy of the season. It sounds like the perfect new holiday tradition!
About The Author
How Crafting Can Help Ease Holiday Anxiety was written by Laurie Trueblood. Laurie is a freelance writer specializing in topics of nerd culture and mental health. She is the editor for Adventures to Authenticity, a fantasy-themed self-development and lifestyle blog.