According to mental health charity, Mind, 1 in 4 of us will experience an episode of poor mental health each year. In addition, a survey of 16,000 adults conducted by Mind during the pandemic showed more than two thirds reported their mental health problems increased during lockdown. We keep hearing about it, and we know that there is no doubt the global pandemic is having a lasting effect on our mental and physical health and it will probably continue to do so for years to come.
The timing of this blog coincides with the third Monday in January which has had the dubious honour of being titled Blue Monday since 2005 for being the most depressing day of the year. Why is this? Combine the shitty weather, reminders from the bank to make good on your Christmas spending, it’s been a good 3 weeks since you made those resolutions you’re probably starting to regret and you’ve got a heady mix of self-doubt, rock bottom motivation and hopelessness.
And that’s in a good year – this January we’re still making up for lost time on 2020 and we’re not out of the woods on that one yet! So it’s no surprise really that we’re starting to wish we’d never signed up to Dry January (isn’t it just the longer month… EVER!?), we’ve talked ourselves out of going out for that run on the third consecutive day because it’s cold and dark and pay day feels like a million sleeps away. Even though we are trying to remain positive about 2021, the end goal still feels like a long way off and likely many of us will be feeling fairly low right now.
How Craft Helps
It’s important to state at this stage that if your mood is very low and you feel like you need help, then please speak to a professional. There are lots of places you can go to help but after you’ve made an appointment with the doctor, these are also good starting points:
Throughout history, people have turned to craft as a way of raising their mood, but during times of crisis it seems to reach epic proportions. Consider the evidence: French women cross stitching military scenes during World War I, shell-shocked soldiers being prescribed embroidery therapy, Knit and Natter sessions in the underground tube stations during the Blitz and in 2020 Hobbycraft reporting a 200% boom in online sales.
To a dedicated crafter, the reasons for this make perfect sense – the feeling of satisfaction gained from making something beautiful, the feeling of escapism whilst going through the process of creating something (beautiful or otherwise!), the comforting reminder of lost afternoons spent learning new skills as a child, the distraction felt while concentrating on something repetitive.
Here’s an idea… next time you find yourself at a loose end and in need of a bit of escapism, rather than scrolling through Netflix, swap your screen time for half a day learning a new skill (Youtube is a great place to start). If you do this, please let me know how you get on, I’m always interested in learning about new crafts.