Crafting is growing in popularity as a form of self-care, with lots of projects dedicated to raise awareness around specific issues, such as feminist creative stitch work or crochet/knitting groups making items to donate to certain charities or causes.

Many report that making something yourself, whether it’s a greetings card, a cushion or something as small as a bookmark, gives a sense of satisfaction, and the process of making helps to distract from everyday worries and events, giving the mind a chance to switch off. Some people compare crafting to mindfulness, in that focussing on a repeated motion such as sewing or colouring can have meditative effects, bringing you into the moment and putting to one side the constant activity of our thoughts.

You can find lots of inspiration online, particularly origami templates, scrapbooking or card-making ideas, needlework tutorials and home improvement or ‘life hack’ ideas, which are popular on Pinterest.  

In the following video, Martha from the Anna Freud Centre discusses how she uses crafting as a form of self-care and why it helps her:

What young people have told us:

'Something practical, occupies different bit of my brain so I can't think about the other awful stuff.'

'It helped me to relax my mind.'

'It keeps me occupied and at the end of it you get something useful, like crocheting keeps your hands busy and stops anxious fidgeting but at the end you also get a blanket.'

There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.

If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.

Did this activity help your mental wellbeing?

If yes, why do you think it helped?

What would you say to other young people who are thinking of trying this?

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