Three mindful crafts to calm and centre you

Three mindful crafts to calm and centre you

Bored during the lockdown? These minfdul crafts are not only easy to do, but they are also calming. 

Woman painting art
Woman painting/ iStock

Our fast-paced lives of rushing to work and school during the week, and then to the shops and social gatherings on weekends, seem like a distant memory. This pandemic and lockdown have slowed everything right down, so that we are now mostly homebound, with a bit more time on our hands than we used to have (some of us at least).

And it’s for this reason that many people are taking up new hobbies or crafts that they never have before. This trend is not a new one, as is the case with many trends. During hard times like the Second World War, many women took up knitting as a way to contribute to the war efforts, as well as keep their hands busy and their minds focused on something small that they could control, as the world around them felt like it was falling apart. 

Crafts like knitting and crocheting require repetitive motions and therefore are soothing to us, providing a mindful activity that is therapeutic, too. So, if you’re looking for a new mindful hobby to take up, here are some that have been keeping a few South Africans busy over the past months:

1. Punch needling

Punch needle embroidery is a form of embroidery related to rug hooking, where the needle doesn’t stitch through the fabric, but rather pushes thread into the fabric while keeping the needle on the surface. The result is highly textured designs made of loops that can be displayed on a wall or sewed into cushions or other home décor. Capetonian Caryn Edwards said that she felt uncharacteristically anxious over lockdown. “Punch needling feels like actual therapy to me. It has been so helpful using my hands and creating something”. 

Remember that if you’re struggling mentally at this time, you don’t have to do it alone. Speak to your medical aid as many of them, like Fedhealth, have emotional well-being programmes with dedicated call centres and access to a team of professionals who can provide advice and support.

2. Paint by numbers

We aren’t all natural artists who can whip up a Mona Lisa after breakfast, but that doesn’t mean that we should stay away from expressing ourselves using paint. ‘Paint by Numbers’ allows you to have fun with colour and form while following easy instructions and producing something great at the end, that you’d be proud to display. Johannesburg mother-of-three Natalie Gordon said that this craft was a wonderful task to do while also homeschooling, as she could stop and start it when her kids needed her. “It was so satisfying producing something beautiful at the end and keeping my hands busy and my mind focused while creating these was also hugely beneficial,” she says.

3. Crocheting

Blankets, beanies, scarves, hanger pots – there’s so much you can make with that crochet hook! Neulah Mallinson lives in Cape Town and has taught herself to crochet over lockdown. “It’s a fabulous way to pass time but have something beautiful to show for it. I’ve finished old projects started by my mother (before her arthritis worsened), I’ve gifted babies with blankets, and I’ve crocheted endlessly for charitable causes,” she says. Neulah gets her yarn from Woolmart on Iman Haroun Road, but you can find a suitable wool supplier near you.

Mindful crafting is about embracing a slower life, as well as being creative with what we have. It’s about using our hands to still our minds, as we carve out a small yet tranquil space where our thoughts can gather quietly for a moment − amidst the current sea of chaos.

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