*originally published May 5, 2022
In the fall of 2020, I decided it was time to live a different day-to-day. So I quit my full-time day job to pursue the passion and indeed, POWER I feel about art. More art-making for me personally and more creative art exploration for others through the programming I develop for my Studio.
I have found that some of the first words out of my mouth when I’m standing on the sidewalk talking with neighbours or on the phone with a loved one, when they tell me that they are feeling low is:
Have you tried making something by hand?
It’s not just my tagline in my business. It is a deep-seated belief I hold that when we put down our screens and pick up something tactile, creative, artsy it actually slows us down, lowers our heart rate, tempers our worries and anxieties and might even make us feel happy.
In fact, the studies I continue to read (strange infatuation) give me impressive evidence backed by researchers and doctors that it’s true.
Getting creative through music, paint, drawing, textiles, creative writing and more is good for us.
A few years ago, I wrote this piece and posted it here on my blog. I spoke about dopamine as a natural antidepressant and the good feelings we get by picking up a craft.
Shortly after that piece was posted (February 2020), most of us saw our anxieties blow up to a point that we have never experienced before. In the early days of the pandemic, there was confusion, panic, fear and sadness. We changed our work lives, our school lives, our shopping habits, our travel plans, our family and friend gatherings - everything.
Well, almost everything.
The one thing that did not change (for me, at least) was the absolute need to pick up my yarn, to let it run through my fingers to bring about a sense of calm. All was not lost. I still had this.
So, as everything changed around me, I made sure that I continued to make time to make stuff by hand. And so did my kids on all those LONG days when the schools were closed and we pretended to home school. This was a place that I knew and that I could still get joy from, even when joy and happiness were in short supply in most other facets of our lives.
Now, over 2 years later and there is more and more evidence (just Google mental health/benefits of craft/art therapy) that we can do well for ourselves if we just spend some time with pencil, paint, yarn or some other medium.
This is creative wellness.
I have many friends that tell me, ‘oh, I’m not crafty!’. To that I say, try. Try knitting. Don’t like it? Ok, try painting. Too messy? Ok, try molding some clay in your hands. Yes? You like that? Good! Keep going.
I give myself license to make stuff by hand everyday. Not because it is now my full-time job (which it is) but because when I don’t, I feel flat, unhappy, and sometimes even angry. I might be an extreme example and you might be thinking, there is no time for this. So, here is a challenge to you - similar to ones I used to throw out to my colleagues about creating time to learn everyday …
Put a little time in your calendar starting TODAY to make something.
Start with some doodling in your notebook while you’re on a Zoom call if you have to. But just start. As you create this time, notice what it feels like to get off your screen and onto the paper, canvas, knitting needles. Can you take a deeper breath? Can you find a small smile on your face to further encourage yourself to tap into something that might feel like happiness?
Tell me about it in your comments. If you need some guided art-making time, check out our workshops. Take one with a friend or family member as a way to connect to one another AND to craft. I also have some cool DIY kits and other supplies if you prefer to go solo.
Want more ideas? Here’s a nice article.
Now get off your screen and go make something. I’m heading to my loom now for a little weaving time before my kids get off the school bus.
- Carmen xo
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