Whether it is weaving on my loom, sewing a throw, knitting or crocheting, if it is a craft, I want to learn it. One of my goals is to learn how to make a quality broom – after I have grown the broom corn, of course. In all honesty, I am not sure if there is an end to all the creative things I want to learn how to do. I just love to create. Little did I know that all of this crafting is actually good for me. I don’t just get a table runner or a scarf out of my efforts, but I also work my way towards being a bit healthier.
On particularly stressful days, I usually head straight to one project or another. As I work, I find myself relaxing, and all that stress just rolls off my shoulders. It won’t be long before I find myself humming or singing quietly to myself. And we all know that ‘music soothes the savage beast’! Not only am I relaxing, though, but I am also working on things we don’t think about often, such as spatial relations and hand/eye coordination, as well as patience and perseverance. Deep breathing is also a side benefit – once I am relaxed, I find that I occasionally take a deeper breath to allow the last vestiges of stress escape.
When we are in a creative state, our brains give off dopamine, which is a natural anti-depressant. My mind will become still, and I find that I can focus more on the task at hand, instead of worrying about other issues I have in my life. When I let go of problems for a while, I find, when I come up for air again, I can work out those tiny details and find a suitable solution.
Creativity isn’t just limited to the fiber arts. Other great creative endeavors range from painting, baking, photography, sewing, design, and building furniture, to name a few. One Christmas, gazing balls for the garden were all the rage, and I really wanted one. To save money, the Country Boy decided to make a stand for the one he purchased. Considering he is a very talented welder, I still have that stand, long after the gazing ball faded and broke.
As much as I spend time in my craft room, I also spend quite a bit of time at the table with graft paper and assorted color pencils. From gardening to animal pen layouts, I am often looking to see if there is a better, more efficient way to run our farm. Having different types of animals means different living accommodations with a decent distance between them. Some need just a fence and a few feet. Bulls, on the other hand, need to be in a pen that does not have sight distance to the heifers and cows. Nothing can trash a fence as quickly and efficiently than a bull wanting to get to his harem. When sitting at the table with a design project at hand, my mind can completely be swept free of any and all clutter.
As the years go by, the Country Boy and I are subjected to the natural lifecycle of aging. With that comes the ‘fun’ of arthritis and joint issues. I can already feel it in my hands, but I am finding that working a pair of knitting needles or a small gardening shovel helps to ease that pain almost as well as a couple of Liquid Advil. Not only that, but it keeps my mind active, which also seems to help with memory. No extra mind clutter = clearer thinking = better memory. I just don’t think you can do better than that!
So what are you working on? I think discovering the health benefits of crafting should give you express permission to spend more of your time creating, rather than working. And if anyone calls you on it, just tell them, “it’s a required prescription for a medical issue.” See? Another benefit. No more having to ‘create’ excuses just to get creative!