5 Wellness Benefits of Crocheting
Many moons ago a young girl learned a simple crochet stitch from her grandmother. This grandmother lived far away from Iowa... in Texas, so time with her felt especially magical. These times often included holiday crafts and baked goods (or at least enjoying her delicious baked goods) and the young girl was ecstatic to have a new crafty tool in her rapidly growing artsy expression belt. This girl is now an adult and mother of two, who returned to the art of crochet only to experience a handful of unexpected benefits. Here are five powerful benefits of crocheting, macrame, knitting, and other forms of creating with the hands.
Oh and as you might of guessed, I'm that young girl from many moons ago.
1) Active Meditation
Often when people think of meditation they assume this means one must be sitting still in lotus pose on a cushion with their eyes closed and spine erect. While it's true this is form of meditation, it is not the only form. As a meditation instructor I found myself in awe of how incredibly meditative the act of crocheting is. My breathing naturally slowed and synced to the rhythm of my hands as I wove the soft yarn in, out, and through. Hands occupied in a soothing repetitive motion (once my muscle memory recalled the pattern) I was able to ponder things that had unknowingly been occupying my mental space and acknowledge the feelings I'd been experiencing.
To put it simply, I was fully present. I was able to observe the kiddos as they played while being less apt to intervene should they need to figure out a tussle between them... which they did. I found myself feeling more grateful with every stitch of the stillness within the chaos of life at this stage with an active almost two year old and inquisitive six year old.
2) Outlet of Creative Energy
Sometimes we get trapped in the silly societal construct we've created that productivity is of greater value that creativity. This project of crocheting a big and cuddly blanket that our daughter already nicknamed "The Snuggle Blanket" was begun with the intention that I use it for reading with both children. I look forward to doing so... but that's not the sole purpose of doing so.
We can often get so focused on the outcome that we forget the many beautiful benefits of getting there.
The act of crocheting (or knitting or macrame-ing or sewing, etc. etc.) is as much about the act of creative expression as it is the enjoyment of the finished product. When you pick up that crochet hook and ball of yarn the possibilities are endless. You could make a blanket, a scarf, a stuffed animal, literally anything you decide to create. Your own imagination is the only limitation!
3) To Keep Or Share
The gift of something handmade is incredibly special. Knowing that someone chose materials that made them think of you, and spent their time and energy creating it is a palpable feeling. The receiver is reminded of your love every time they wear or use the creation gifted.
My sister is a master at the art of gifting handmade. From clay pottery she's made to plants she's propogated from her own, to the many cozy crocheted goods she's shared over the years... each gift is special. I think of her as I make my tea, her creations keep me cozy in the winter, and her plant babies can be found throughout our home and garden.
Whatever you choose to make can be enjoyed yourself, or shared as a gift from the heart and hands.
4) Warm & Cozy Winter Hobby
As I completed another row of our snuggle blanket, Hallie curled up next to me and threw the portion I wasn't working on over her body dramatically. She nuzzled the fuzzy yarn up to her chin and I recognized that while it was not yet finished, it was already keeping us warm! You can even work on it on the holiday car ride to visit family while keeping your lap warm as you go. Your project doesn't have to be complete to keep you feeling warm from on the inside and out.
5) Soothing Sensory Experience
I noticed that since picking back up my crochet hook and thread, I felt my heightened anxiety release its grasp on my chest. A contented smile came over my face as I rocked and wove, rocked and wove. Chuckling to myself at my grandmother stuck in a 30-something year old body tendencies, I recognized that our ancestors were onto something. Yes, there may have been a day when knitting and darning socks in the rocking chair by the fire was necessity in the winter... but perhaps they also did so to soothe their own weary souls when winter felt long and overwhelming.
As a highly sensitive person, emotions and energy can often feel intense. The steady motion of my hands, paired with the gentle rock of the chair provides a soft movement to my body. The pattern of the stitch and incredibly soft yarn feels soothing to my hands. And most of all, the ability to focus on something that is calming to my nervous system rather than further aggravating it is relaxing and enjoyable.
Have you experienced these benefits of crocheting? Knittting? Sewing?
Be sure to check out my latest Etsy creations here... lovely artwork that you can easily download and print at home (or have enlarged at your local print shop). Just like with your crocheted creations, you can enjoy yourself or share with someone you love!