Today is World Mental Health Day, and I can’t help but think that we could all use a day to pay a little bit more attention to our stress levels and spend a little more time giving ourselves some self-care. This year has been…shall we say “bizarre”…to say the least. My stress levels are so high my ears are ringing and I have to keep reminding myself to relax my neck and shoulders. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better any time soon. Ugh. Everything is being cancelled, done virtually, and just messed up in general. They’re even discouraging Halloween festivities. Luckily for us, we are crafters, so we have some great de-stressing tricks and treats (see what I did there?) right at our fingertips, so I’m here today to remind you about a few of them.
1. Craft with friends
My household can be a bit chaotic even on a good day. With three (sometimes four) adults and two dogs, there’s always some kind of noise and commotion. I like to get away to crops and retreats where I can tune out all that mess, but with COVID, that’s just not possible. Back in March, when we weren’t able to meet in person any more, we started doing some Zoom crops (weekly on Thursdays, and frequently on weekends, too). It’s been a tremendous stress release to be able to chat with my friends, especially when we all come to realize we all have the same hopes and fears about this crazy situation. You can start your own Zoom meeting, open a Facebook “room”, or use any number of other online meeting options. You can even join our weekly meetings; the info is available in our Crafty Neighbor Facebook Group: Crop and Craft Events. That’s where we post all of our virtual and (hopefully some day) in-person events from now on.
2. Do something mindless
Since I can’t go anywhere to get away from the stressful things in my life, I’ve started to think instead about things I can do right here at home, and that usually means veg’ing out on TV while doing something quiet and mindless. Zentangle, doodling, and coloring are great options, as is sewing the binding on a quilt, or even just cutting your scrap paper down to card or photo mat sizes. I have spent many an hour rolling balls of yarn and spools of ribbon. Just find something simple that you don’t have to think too much about.
3. Go for a quick victory
One sure-fire way to feel better is to give yourself an easy win. Finishing an unfinished project, cleaning out a drawer in your craft room, putting those finished layouts into albums, or even jotting down some ideas for your next project are all great ways to boost your mood. By checking off a task on your to-do list, you give yourself an automatic check in the “win” column, and that always feels good. It doesn't have to be a big undertaking…completing even the smallest task is enough to get the endorphins going.
So the next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, or anxiety is making you pull your own hair out, treat yourself to one of these crafty (and fun) techniques to kick that stress to the curb! I know you’ll be glad you did!