The days are becoming cooler and before we know it, we’ll be bundling up against the cold! Many people begin knitting projects during this time of year: hats, blankets, scarves — many soft and wonderful things can be made by hand. They become lovely presents or a personal style statement, and the process to create them can be an opportunity for healing and relaxing.
Knitting, crocheting, and weaving are all very effective self-soothing activities. The repetitive nature allows you to fall into a calming rhythm. You become focused in your activity as you are relaxing your body and mind. Aside from the calming rhythm, you are experiencing the softness of the yarn, the smoothness of the knitting needles, and the instant gratification of seeing your creation develop. These are great activities for reducing stress and anxiety, being in the present moment and creating a sense of accomplishment.
In my mind, these self-soothing activities are very similar to the mindfulness techniques we use at Brookhaven Retreat. So start a knitting or crocheting project! Make a plan to spend even 15 minutes a day on a hat or a scarf. It may be something you work into your routine right before bed, right after work or even as a way to calm yourself before a stressful day.
There are lots of resources online. Learntoknit.com and Ravelry.com are two great resources. Start easy and use larger yarn if you are a beginner, such as a scarf. See this page for getting started: http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/getting_started.php3 . Because it is repetitive, you will learn quickly, and in a short time you will be making more complicated items.
If you are stumped by what to make, allow yourself to be inspired by materials. Go to Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or a local yarn shop and look around. There are some gorgeous, luxurious yarns out there!