At a time when the term ‘workdays’ is synonymous with ‘stay-at-home days’, it’s sometimes hard to find the right balance between business and pleasure. Being at home all day means that many of us feel the urgent need to be productive and keep busy all day long. And so, we find ourselves sending off emails at 10:00 p.m. or texting colleagues while binge-watching a series on one of the many streaming services out there. Finding a good work-life balance takes time. But that’s okay! After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day either. Eventually this picturesque city did get built, so take heart: you too can train yourself to relax now and then. How, you ask? Read on to uncover our top tip!
Handcrafting to relax - You guessed it. To experience a moment of ‘Zen’, we recommend that you take up handcrafting. You’ll have already learnt in primary school—the place where many of us take our first handcrafting steps—that handcrafting has a real positive effect on your physical well-being by improving your fine motor skills. But that’s not all! Picking up your crochet hook or knitting or sewing needles can produce a moment of calm and mediation, something that many of us on the Yarnplaza team as well as our customers can attest to. And this potential is worth taking a closer look at.
Handcrafting + more handcrafting = relaxation
It’s clear that not everyone has discovered the fantastic benefits of handcrafting when you hear comments like “Knitting?! That’s something my grandmother used to do!” or “Why would you crochet a scarf yourself? Isn’t it easier to just buy one?”. It’s up to us crafters to prove the opposite for them and make it clear that handcrafting is an outlet for plenty of fun and a space where you can let your creativity run free.
Academics have cited handcrafting as a great way to hit the reset button. The rhythmic and repetitive actions involved in knitting, crocheting, needle punching, and macramé produce a sense of calm. Once you’ve got the hang of the technique and have a few projects under your belt, picking up your hook or needles can actually slow your heart rate down and lower your blood pressure. That’s because with experience and a firm grasp of the basic stitches, you stop having to concentrate so hard and the actions become more automatic. Cue relaxation!
In recent years, more and more young professionals have woken up to the finer qualities of handcrafting. Not only can a little yarn and a hook or needle allow them to empty their minds and escape their busy jobs for a while but handcrafting also caters to their taste for self-sufficiency. Young (and not so young!) people are increasingly turning their backs on mass production and instead welcome anything that is original and authentic with open arms. Crocheting or knitting a beautiful throw blanket or a lovely scarf in a colorway that is unique to you fits in seamlessly with this DIY movement.
You can experience how handcrafting to relax works in different ways. Think, for example, of the wonderful times you could have if you got together with a friend, a family member, a colleague or a neighbor to craft together. Add in a cup of tea or coffee, or maybe even a glass of wine, and you’re all set for a fun afternoon or a great night in.
Of course, that seems like a pipedream at this time of social distancing. But don’t let that keep you from flying solo through the wonderful world of handcrafting. Order a ready-to-go kit or join a KAL/CAL (Knit-A-Long/Crochet-A-Long) and we’ll lend you a pink-colored Yarnplaza hand. Projects like these allow you to take your finger off the control button and give up responsibility. All that’s required is that you follow all the steps we’ve laid out and you’re well on your way to handcrafting success! Sometimes that’s exactly what you need for the worries to drain away.
Unsure whether you can create a piece successfully all on your own? Of course, you can! The world wide web is packed with trouble-shooting videos and tutorials and, of course, our customer service has your back if you have any questions. So, no stress!
Posture, posture, posture
Handcrafting to relax isn’t possible without adopting a relaxed posture. Here are some top tips from our Yarnplaza designers:
- Make sure you’re sitting comfortably, with your bottom and back against the backrest of your chair.
- Keep both feet on the floor.
- Avoid crafting for long stretches of time with your work resting on your lap. Working on something so low down causes your head and shoulders to bend over. In the long run this curved posture will lead to strain, so make sure you keep your work at a comfortable height.
- Use good ergonomic tools. Check, for example, whether your crochet hook fits your hand perfectly. Many people find that circular needles with angled connectors sit more comfortably in their hands than straight needles.
- Whenever you’re undertaking a crochet, knitting, needle punching, macramé marathon, remember to take lots of breaks to rest your eyes and stretch your legs. Relax your shoulders and wrists by rotating them and stretch your fingers by playing some air-piano.
Have you considered…?
Handcrafting is possible everywhere and anywhere. In the garden, on the sofa, by the pool, at the beach. No Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or charger required. Just you, some balls of yarn, a hook or set of needles, and a pattern. That’s it, that’s all you need.
And once you finally cross the finish line and your project is complete, give yourself a well-earned pat on the back. Well done! The next step is to show off your creation to the world! Just think of all the lovely compliments and jealous looks in your direction now that you’re the ‘creative’ one in your friendship circle. And once the accolades and fanfare are over, you get to lounge on your sofa in your deliciously warm handmade sweater or under your cozy crocheted blanket and enjoy some moments of peace and calm! Pure Zen…