Crafts are healing. They can distract from physical pain and negative thought spirals. They increase feelings of self-worth and confidence, and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. That all sounds really nice, but it’s vague. Let’s take a craft project into a real life, that can be stressful for many people: a holiday gathering.
- Feeling shy and anxious? Or are you simply an introvert who doesn’t love small talk? Your craft project gives you something to talk about. It’s probably something that is comfortable for you, so the conversation will be on familiar turf. It’s also a great way to avoid feeling awkward between conversations, but is more socially friendly than looking to your phone.
- Will be there be difficult people at this gathering? Your craft project gives you something to focus on when someone starts spouting inflammatory political opinions or giving you a minute-by-minute account of their last vacation. Just small, nod, and keep counting your stitches.
- With luck, you can use your project to dodge awkward questions about your relationship or reproductive status. This won’t work on the most dedicated of relatives, but it will cut back on casual questions. Most people will be fascinated by what you’re doing, which distracts them from discussing ill-advised, potentially painful subjects.
- It’s an automatic escape. Studies have shown that knitting has many of the same health benefits as meditation, including increased feelings of peace. For introverts, even the most pleasant of gatherings can become draining. Knitting or crochet can help you to restore your flagging energy when you start counting the minutes until everyone is gone.
This list is mostly geared towards introverts, but even the most extroverted can get drained at a family gathering, or want to avoid unpleasant conversations. If you enjoy crafting, think about bringing a project with you! Or if you used to enjoy it, now might be a good time to give it another try. Even if you don’t touch that scarf again next year, it will have served its purpose if it helps you through the holidays.