Crochet is a form of self-care for me. It helps me prevent, minimize, and/or manage the symptoms of depression.
Poem: The Difference
Every summer when I was growing up we would go to visit my grandmother, the only truly religious woman in our family. She had a poem by Grace L. Naessens hanging in her bathroom called The Difference, which is about the need to pray every day.
The poem describes someone who felt like life was so busy that there was no time to pray. However, then they realized that if you don’t take the time to pray, then life is way too overwhelming and feels even busier. Of all of the small religious things that could have stuck in my mind from those Ohio summers, it was this poem that stayed with me.
I personally don’t pray in the traditional way. Nevertheless, I understand the sentiment behind the poem. I feel like the gist of it applies to the reason that I crochet every day.
Crochet Every Day as Self-Care
I crochet even when (especially when) life feels so busy that it seems like there is no time to crochet.
The thing that you need to know about me is that crochet saved my life. I have had lifelong depression and went through a period of serious crisis, during which I was diagnosed with double depression.
I didn’t want to wake up in the morning. I could often barely get out of bed. I felt unproductive, uncreative and entirely hopeless. It was a dark time. I got through that time thanks to a good therapist, a light anti-depressant, a strong will and a lot of crochet.
Later, when I was ready to write a book about my experience, I met many other women who also shared their stories with me about how the benefits of crafting helped them to get through the most difficult times in their lives.
How Crochet Helps Us
Here are some of the benefits of crochet:
- Crochet is a repetitive task, with a fluid motion that is highly soothing. This helps with relaxation. It encourages de-stressing. It reduces anxiety. It likely releases serotonin in the brain, a natural pain reliever and natural anti-depressant.
- Crafting brings you back to the present moment. You stop worrying about the future and trying in vain to fix the past and just be where you are, which is a very mentally healthy space to be.
Crochet is an easy way to make something for someone else. It makes you feel like you are productive and can be a tool towards generosity and this boosts self-esteem.
- Crochet is easy. Life can feel really hard and difficult and “too much” sometimes. When it does, I crochet, because it is something I can accomplish and this reminds me that I can handle and accomplish other things in life as well.
Crochet Prevents Depression Relapse
I am thrilled that I survived my depression and am doing well now. Nevertheless, this was a condition I struggled with for more than a decade and I know that I am always at risk of sliding backwards in my own mental health journey. I must do all that I can to stay healthy each day. Therefore, I continue to crochet as a regular part of my wellness plan.
By taking just half an hour at some point during the day to meditatively stitch something for myself or someone else I bring my mind and heart back to a place of peace.
I express myself, I calm myself, I become and remain a stronger and saner and healthier person.
What happens on days when I am “too busy” to crochet? One of the lines in Naessens’ poem is: “Problems just tumbled about me and grew heavier with each task” … that is how I feel if I get so busy with all of the so-called important activities in life that I can’t take a little bit of time out for myself to craft.
Without a bit of time to crochet I rush, I hurry, I fret. Without that moment of peace I can’t get perspective on things and problems seem bigger than they need to be. When I don’t crochet, life starts to feel too hard.
What Is Your Daily Self-Care?
I do not think that you need to be “sick” to need to take time out of your very busy life each day to take care of yourself. I am a huge proponent of self-care. I believe that we cannot be our best, most productive, most creative selves if we do not put nurturing ourselves at the top of our To Do lists. I believe that there is no way we can be successful caregivers to the others in our lives if we do not first take care of ourselves. For me self-care includes crochet every day … what does it mean for you?