Crafting as Stress Release

My job is pretty fun. I get to hang out with kids and help them make discoveries about themselves and the world around them. My job is also pretty stressful. There’s a lot of pressure on my role in my organization to bring in numbers, to make connections, hit deadlines and exceed quotas. There’s a lot riding on my ability to keep it together and do my job right.

Which is why I take time out to craft.

Crafting is so much more to me than a creative process. When I knit a hat or sew a project, I’m not just seeing the finish line of having a cute new thing to wear or an item to put in my online boutique. I see the frustrations of pushing paperwork, countless hours of work past my usual work hours, and the tears that sometimes come with feeling overburdened and under appreciated.

I started knitting my fifth year of college. I had technically graduated that previous spring, but had come back in the fall to finish up a final class for the minor I added on the previous year. I was working seven days a week between my two part time jobs, was in the middle of making some big changes in my faith and in my home life, and had to balance it all with the added expectations of finishing up a college course. I was freaking out.

I had been rewarded at work with a gift card to a local supermarket, and while I was there on night with a friend putzing around, I decided to spend it on a “learn-to-knit” kit and some yarn. I brought it home the next day and sat down for a few hours as I gartered stitched my way through the ugliest scarf I’ve ever laid eyes on. But I had taken two sticks and some string and made something! The crafty fire had been kindled. I started taking my knitting with me to work, slipping in stitches while talking on the phone and hoping I wouldn’t get caught for the umpteenth time. I made hats during lectures, which I’m sure annoyed my professor. Crafting helped me focus on what I was doing, giving my hands purpose and my mind precision on what I was doing.

I have picked up crafts here and there during the most stressful parts of the past few years. Knitting during fall, scrapbooking during the winter, painting in the summer, and now sewing this past spring. I thrive on being able to create with my own hands and controlling what my mind is focused on and what it is thinking about next. Crafting helps me relieve my stress and find an outlet for my busy mind.

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