“Some of us feel bad about [taking] time for creative expression. One would think that we’d view creativity as ‘more productive’ and hence less guilt- producing than leisure, yet we still seem to believe that self-expression is less of a priority than satisfying the needs of others.” Alice Domar, Ph.D.
Unfortunately, many of us push crafting and creativity to the bottom of our To Do List. Maybe we feel guilty for doing something for ourselves—women, of course, are taught that everyone else’s needs should come first—or maybe we feel that even when we’re relaxing, we should be doing something productive. All we need is permission from ourselves to spend time creating and the courage to push beyond our comfort zone so our projects truly express what’s inside and help us to unblock, purge, and transform our feelings.
Because arts and crafts provide us with opportunities to:
- Relax and de-stress – crafts make you concentrate and focus on the here and now and distract you from everyday pressures and problems.
- Feel a sense of accomplishment and pride, as crafts are a way of valuing yourself and giving to yourself.
- Improve fine-motor skills.
- Develop a meaningful life-long hobby.
- Maintain an alert mind – crafts are keeping your hands, heart and mind busy.
- Express feelings – research has shown that arts and crafts allow you to express what’s inside and gain access to your feelings and fears. They can transport you to another place and help you in your journey through life.
- Encourage creativity – crafts allow you to release stowed up energy and frustration and reduce negative feelings.
- Increase self-esteem – when you complete a project you feel good about yourself and your ability to tackle things.
- Improve physical health – crafting can lower your heart rate, blood pressure and improve sleep.
- De-clutter – crafting often reuses and gives new purpose to old things in your house.
- Encourage positive interaction with others and be sociable – it can be fun and you don’t need to craft alone – invite your friends round and work together.
- Give yourself permission to do something, which you love doing, badly – the finished product is not the goal, the time you spent relaxing and doing something you love is the objective.
- Heal – arts and crafts are now important components of healing therapies for people with illnesses, both physical and psychological. Arts and crafts are now frequently used as part of therapeutic rehabilitation in hospital and community settings.