Crochet your way to wellbeing
25 April 2017
By Hayley Carmichael
Keen crochet expert Eleonora Tully is providing a free crochet taster for SCFT staff as part of Wellbeing@Work Festival. She tells us why this wonderful craft can be good for the mind…
My name is Eleonora and I work as a School Nurse for Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust. Outside of work I have a passion for crochet and run the crochet blog Coastal Crochet
As part of Wellbeing @Work festival at the Trust, I am offering crochet classes. But how can crochet help with wellbeing?
On my blog I introduce my love for crochet as…
“I love crochet! I love how it looks, I love its versatility and more than anything I love to actually do crochet. A craft I can take anywhere with me and the joy of gradually seeing each stitch transform the yarn in my hands into something beautiful.”
As well as the simple joy someone can get from crochet (and other yarn crafts such as knitting) it really can help to improve wellbeing and health conditions such as pain, anxiety, depression and stress. These health benefits have been backed up by research that can be found on the Sitchlinks website.
I crochet most evenings and for me, as the yarn unwinds with each stitch, I literally feel that I myself am unwinding from any stresses of the day.
Time to learn and love crochet...
Crochet is a creative skill that can take a little while to master- this in itself can provide a welcome distraction from stressful working environments. It can be so rewarding to learn a new skill and both patience and perseverance are needed which are valuable life skills that are perhaps not used as much in todays’ fast moving environments with instant access to so much via our technology.
Crochet is not a fast craft and some crocheted items can take many weeks to complete but this slow yet consistent progress can really help to soothe, calm and facilitate relaxation. When someone is engaged in a craft activity such as crochet it can provide a distraction from pain or stress.
Once the basics of crochet are mastered, the possibilities are endless. So many things can be made, from crocheted flowers and bunting to blankets, toys, clothing, accessories and so much more! The satisfaction of making something with our own hands can give a real sense of achievement, self-worth, self-esteem and confidence, especially helpful for those who have depression. To be able to say “I made that” gives a person motivation to do more and a sense of purpose and fulfillment- it goes without saying that all these things can contribute to a positive sense of wellbeing.
It's like meditation
Crochet involves a lot of stitches! A crocheted blanket for example can be made up of over 15,000 stitches. The rhythmic and repetitive action of crocheting each stitch can provide an almost meditative state. The numerous benefits of meditation are well known including being able to reduce anxiety. Some crochet designs need a lot of concentration, others less so, either way as you are absorbed in the crochet your mind is able to focus on the repetitive stitches. It is like mindfulness- as you crochet you are focusing on the task in hand and can enjoy the here and now.
Anywhere, anyplace, any time
Crochet is also very portable- all you need is some yarn and a hook… I often have my crochet with me so worry less if a train is delayed or I have to wait for something as out comes my crochet and I know I’m using the time to do something I love! The calming action of crocheting those stitches can alleviate some stressful situations I might find myself in!
If you like the idea of crochet but don’t want to make anything for yourself then crocheting for charity is a great option. Many charities welcome crocheted or knitted items to either sell in their shops or send to people in need. Some NHS hospitals have recently been appealing for crocheted octopus to be made for their premature babies. The octopus in the incubator has been linked to better health and wellbeing for the babies (amazing!) – head over to the Poole or Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust websites to find out more.
Crochet – it can help us to relax, unwind and focus; it can distract us, soothe us and calm us; relieves stress, boosts self-esteem, increases confidence and builds self-worth. What fantastic benefits to wellbeing this fabulous craft can give us- oh and aren’t crocheted items just wonderful!? I know my lounge is a cosier place with those crocheted blankets on the sofa.
If you want to find out more about the health and wellbeing benefits of crochet there are some books which have been written:
‘Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet’ (2012) and ‘Hook to Heal’ (2015) both written by Kathryn Vercillo.
‘Crochet Therapy: 20 Mindful, Relaxing and Energising Projects’ (2016) by Betsan Corkhill