It has long been said that keeping the hands busy is a great way to calm the mind. Studies have shown it has a beneficial impact on the neural pathways in the brain, and although it isn't a magic panacea, I certainly found that crafting helped me to cope better with the circumstances surrounding the death of my partner a few years ago. I think there is something very therapeutic about tackling a craft you are unfamiliar with and following it through to it's ultimate creation, there's a degree of having control over something, when other things in your life have left you feeling out of control.
Occupational Therapy is a tool used by the medical profession to help people get over a trauma. Crafting, Creative arts or home-making could be considered the non-medically prescribed version! For some people, the idea of seeking help to overcome their grief is abhorrent to them, yet it is often the case that these are the very people who desperately need it. There is no shame in seeking help to surmount your emotional pain. Be it in the form of prescribed counselling or occupational therapy or even via the pharmaceutical route. But if this is not something that you feel you need for, or even if you have turned to these but feel the need to change, then I highly recommend crafting.
As mentioned earlier, I started to crochet. Knitting I could do (as long as it was a scarf!). Crocheting I had no idea! A close friend, with the patience of a saint, tried to teach me the basics, but I didn't want to stretch the bounds of our friendship so far that they snapped due to my inability to crochet anything but a long chain! So I looked it up on YouTube, there are many different sites that can show you how to start with the basic stitches. At the end of last year, I crocheted a rather nice cardigan that was longer than I thought it would be but looked brilliant nonetheless. This year things have been different and I have found myself creating gifts, with love, for those that I love.
Nowadays my crafting has extended to creating gifts to sell at craft shows, upcycling furniture to order and I'm now trying to teach my eleven year old daughter to crochet. When she lost her father she turned to crafting to help her with her grief, she would draw pictures for Papa and she drew a beautiful one of the three of us together that we had placed in his coffin. Crafting helps her to deal with the emotions she has had to deal with and with the fast approaching puberty period on the horizon, I hope she will continue to craft and create instead of obsessing with boys, her looks (she's beautiful already, but I'm biased!) and all things social media. She already knows how to sew, I bought her a lovely starter sewing machine and she can spend days designing and creating dresses for her dolls. In the not to distant future she'll soon be growing out of the "playing with them" phase, but hopefully she will still use them as her models, this will help her, I hope, to develop a style that is unique to her and not to follow the crowd. We have decided to earmark craft projects that we are going to undertake together. Giving us some mother daughter time and learning a new skill in the process.