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From Scrubs to Sketches: How Creative Hobbies Can Help Nurses De-Stress

Updated: Dec 21, 2023


Nursing and stress: the importance of creativity. Wow, really, crafts can make me feel better? Can therapeutic crafts help improve mental health?


The use of crafts for therapy is still quite a new concept. Crafts such as basketry were first used as therapy in the late 19th century to support soldiers suffering from PTSD. The soldiers found that participating in the craft helped reduce negative thoughts and helped them develop a functional skill they could use in other areas of their life.


Even with these findings, it still took a long time for crafts to be implemented to support other mental health conditions. Today art therapy is used to support and treat a range of mental health conditions. Art therapy usually needs a professional to guide you through the process.


However, crafting at home to support your well-being is becoming more popular as people become more aware of its positive impacts on your mental health.



How can crafting help improve your mental health?

There are many positive ways crafting can help improve your mental health; check out some below.


● provide relaxation.

● Stress relief.

● Give a sense of accomplishment.

● Reduce anxiety.

● Reduce negative thoughts.

● Improve confidence and skills.

● Increase social skills if attending a crafting group.

● And many, many more


Why is crafting therapeutic?


Crafting is a natural antidepressant and has been proven to alleviate a range of symptoms for people living with PTSD, anxiety, and depression, amongst other conditions.


Crafting helps create a sense of calm, similar to meditation. Crafting enables you to focus on what is happening in the present moment, giving your thoughts less time to wonder or become negative.



Crafting also helps increase the release of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. These hormones help us feel happier and can help reduce blood pressure and tension.




Reasons crafting is excellent for your mental health.


Engaging in crafts boosts mental well-being.

Taking part in a craft activity every day improves psychological functioning, giving you confidence and helping you achieve your goals.


Textile crafts have been identified as being more popular than music or painting. But taking part in any craft helps increase your pride, self-awareness, and enjoyment of creating.


Many studies report improved well-being when participating in crafts, stating that arts can help reduce social isolation and stress hormones and help develop a more positive outlook on life.


Crafts help reduce anxiety.

Whilst soldiers in the 19th century may have been offered basketry as an activity to help combat anxiety, today, many people are provided pottery classes as a way to help manage their stress.


People taking part in these classes report feeling less anxious and stressed and have seen an overall improvement in their well-being. Some people have even taken their newfound passion and turned it into a business.


Other crafts have the same effects as pottery, offering people a fun repetitive activity that is multi-sensory and needs practice, patience, and skill for the participant to succeed. By putting in the effort, you will be rewarded with feelings of joy and accomplishment.


Develop new friendships

There are many craft groups re-emerging after the pandemic; search the Internet to find ones in your local area.


The recent pandemic has shown us how important it is to stay connected with each other. Attending a craft group is a great way to develop new friendships with people who have the same interests as you.


Attending a craft group may help take the pressure off socializing. If you attend a 'knit and natter group", it is perfectly acceptable to sit and knit in silence and just enjoy the company and conversation of others.




Different crafts to try


There are many different crafts to explore, each needing other skills and techniques. Keep trying various crafts until you fall in love with one.


Crafts you can try to help improve your mental health include:


● Cake Decorating

● Crocheting

● knitting

● Decoupage


● paper crafts

● Embroidery

● Photography

● Quilting

● Scrapbooking

● Sewing/painting











Whichever craft you decide to try, make sure that you are having fun. There is no point in starting to learn an art that you hate from the moment you start. There is no shame in saying, 'this is not for me,' and then trying out a different craft. There are many crafts to try, and you will indeed find one that you will love. It may just take some time.





Reflection

  1. Do you think crafts could help improve your mental health?

  2. Have you tried any crafts in the past? Why did you stop doing them?

  3. Would you ever attend a craft group?

  4. Have you ever been to a knit and natter group?


 


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