I’m gonna take this back to the caveman days; hunting, gathering, preparing, creating. There is proven fancy research that working with our hands can satisfy a primal need. The need to produce when met, can gift us as individuals purpose and that chest thumping kind of pride.
Given the notion that stress and anxiety levels are on the rise in our culture (or at least more recorded and reported than back in the day), it wouldn’t hurt to take a long look at the fact that we are doing less with our hands and more on our devices. We are also choosing easier (prepared) food options; thus, again, creating less. Working with our good ol’ hands–as they say, your best tool in the kitchen– is said to have a multitude of benefits in supporting and contributing to psychological well-being. And, what do you have to lose? You may just walk away with a bounty of crops or a hip piece of art to show for it.
Last year, I participated in an art workshop one evening a week for two months. After each session I experienced the most peaceful, content state-of-mind. I always felt it was difficult to explain the contentment of it—and why it was happening. But it was happening, and it was awesome. The class was focused around creating jewelry with mixed metals. This process involved an abundance of hammering, sawing, drilling and soldering— not exactly the makings for a soothing, Zen spa experience. However, each class I looked so forward to throwing myself into the mix, rolling up those sleeves, getting to work, getting dirty–and creating.
My husband and mama have both compared my encounters with contentment ( ;0) to their frequent card games. Tangible cards (not online) and using your noodle in a completely enthralled capacity is the idea. Much like the hands-on activities of building, crafting and cooking, this mind absorption is the most extraordinary way to simply drown out the noise of nonsense and let the world melt all around you. Don’t worry, reality will be calling you back when it’s time.
It is nice to know that if you have trouble meditating (like I do) and don’t have the time and energy and resources for constant therapy (like I don’t), just finding a handsy project to dive into can be all the chill you need. No pressure to even be good at something. Just don’t choose something frustrating, pretty please.
What will you find to capture your fascinated attention? It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Crafting with my kiddos works for me (…until they unravel. The kids– not the crafts. Duh). The idea of process is what is important. It is more about getting deeply engrossed to a point of losing the self-conscious mind. Find yourself in a contented place by letting go of self-awareness. This sounds like a pretty solid start to a crafting cult.
A few ideas….
- Cooking (kneading, chopping, sauteeing, pressing, beating, slapping— get it!)
- Repair/repurpose broken furniture (YouTube offers 101 tutorials on sanding, painting, staple-gunning fabric, tools and such.)
- Steady, repetitive motions like staining or sanding wood and metals, etc.
- Painting rocks
- Beading jewelry
- Braiding yarn/string (Is your BFF looking for a gift?)
- Jewels: Below are a few additional rocks I worked with/glued on filed scraps of gold and strung with the beads. (recycled beads and bone beads from our badass, local Savannah Epiphany Beads. )
- Metal work: This sounds intimidating, though it is easy and cool for all genders (and ages if you use the cheap stuff ; ). Start by making a gift for someone who won’t judge you: dog tags?! riogrande.com has material supplies, and/or local craft store for tools. You just need the basics. (Lemme know if you would like supply suggestions.)
- Essential oil “test kitchen”: Do some light reading on what’s good for what, and get to perfecting your ideal formulas for skin, household cleaning, diffusers, etc. Sweet little jars of these make thoughtful take along gifts.
- Blank canvas: Acrylics, oils, watercolors, graphite, pastels, glued materials…endless. You can usually reuse/craft over original piece; bang for the buck.
- Sculpey Clay :a little dough play for adults (and kiddos). So easy to form, bake and paint (jewel trays/dishes, ornaments, necklace, figurines)
- Write a real, live, handwritten note: …and then decorate it with old jewelry pieces or leaves from the yard. Sounds elementary, but sometimes it’s those simple basics we are needing.
- Felt lovies: my kiddos loved making these— (Thank you to the super talented RR!xo) — All you need is felt or foam sheets, paper towels or cotton for filling and a stapler. Cut, stuff, staple and decorate! (Featured here “lady narwhal” and “sir teddy”.)
Maybe you’ll end up with some solid holiday gifts to unload…and that alone can be kinda calming? Hope you can find a few minutes to get all your hands on deck.