6 Ways Crafts Can Help With Managing Depression

Updated on February 3, 2018
cmiller0161 profile image

Claire Miller is a student who battles with depression. She hopes to help end the stigma of mental illness by sharing her own experiences.

I hate it when people tell me to "do something to take your mind off it" when I talk about my down moments. However, as frustrating as it is, those people are right.

Becoming so engrossed in a hobby to the point that I can escape the deep, dark pit within me has often helped me manage my depression. Yes, I still struggle with my mental health, but more often than not it helps to do something.

Crafts are a fantastic way to escape the claws of depression. They can be done from the comfort of your bed if it feels impossible to get up. Crochet, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, drawing, painting... The possibilities and opportunities are endless.

"But how can crafts possibly help me with my depression?" I can hear some of you wondering. Well, here are six ways in which they can help, along with some pictures of the more recent projects that I have been working on to get your creative juices flowing:

They can offer new ways to express yourself

Words aren't always enough to describe how you are feeling or what thoughts are running through your head. Drawing and painting can help to replace words with more accurate demonstrations of what is going on within.

This way of expressing yourself can help to unburden the brain without trying to fathom the words to describe what you are feeling.

I really enjoy sketching and when I can get my drawing hand to work with my brain, I manage to produce something that can represent how I'm feeling while also taking me away from the negativity.
I really enjoy sketching and when I can get my drawing hand to work with my brain, I manage to produce something that can represent how I'm feeling while also taking me away from the negativity.

You can see how you're progressing

It's easy to measure how well you are doing with crafts because you can see your work grow and improve the more you do it. The best thing about crafts is that there's a type of craft for everyone. You also don't need to be spectacularly good to begin with. Think of it as an experiment. You can learn for yourself what works and what needs tweaking. And with time and practice, you can look at where you started and how far you have come.

Whether it's knitting, drawing, or something else, there's always a clear level of progression.

Crochet grows a lot faster than knitting does, so this might be a better craft for those who need quick gratification for their efforts, like me.
Crochet grows a lot faster than knitting does, so this might be a better craft for those who need quick gratification for their efforts, like me.

They can take your mind away from negative thoughts

I find that I forget about the world around me when I'm taking photographs or doing any other type of craft. Focus is everything when doing crafts, and it can therefore give your mind a bit of relief from your issues. At first this may be difficult to do, but hopefully as you do it more often and see your progress, you will learn to block out those negative thoughts and focus on the beautiful work you're making.

It doesn't matter that I don't have the best equipment or that I'm not a professional photographer. When I'm taking pictures, nothing - not even how I am feeling - matters. It's all about getting that shot.
It doesn't matter that I don't have the best equipment or that I'm not a professional photographer. When I'm taking pictures, nothing - not even how I am feeling - matters. It's all about getting that shot.

You're reuniting yourself with your creativity

Depression can leave us feeling empty and devoid of creativity. But it's merely a lie. You are a creative human being. We all are in our own ways.

It's entirely up to you how you channel your creativity. Some like to write; others like to work with wood or metal; some like to sew or knit or crochet; others like to draw or paint or take photographs. And still others have other ways of channelling their creativity.

Crafts can help you to remove the dark haze your mental health has thrown at you and feel more like yourself again, even if it's for a small period. You can choose a craft you're familiar with or decide to learn something new. It depends on where you feel comfortable starting.

I started off just by painting shells and now I'm doing crochet, drawing, photography, and even looking at writing fiction again. Even the smallest of steps forward still count.
I started off just by painting shells and now I'm doing crochet, drawing, photography, and even looking at writing fiction again. Even the smallest of steps forward still count.

You are actually doing something!

All those days in which you have chastised yourself for doing nothing all day can be disregarded. You are doing something! Here's the proof for you to see for yourself! And that thing takes a lot of skill, patience, and creativity that you clearly have! If that doesn't give you a small sense of achievement, I don't know what will. It's a huge deal, and you should give yourself a pat on the back for every little milestone you make!

I had a bit of a play around with patchwork at one point. It turns out it isn't really my cup of tea at this time in my life, but at least I can say that I did something and tried something new. That's still a pretty good achievement!
I had a bit of a play around with patchwork at one point. It turns out it isn't really my cup of tea at this time in my life, but at least I can say that I did something and tried something new. That's still a pretty good achievement!

You have a finished product that you can be proud of at the end of it!

This is probably the best thing: you have a finished product at the end of it! Something that you made yourself! Whenever you look at it you can feel a sense of pride. During your down days you can look at it and remind yourself that you can do things. You can achieve anything you can conquer and put your mind to.

Achievements can seem few and far between during our moments of darkness, which is why crafts can be so useful. A physical representation of what you can create can be an effective reminder of such achievements.

This was the first piece of sewing that I did, and it's now my favourite skirt. I'm so proud of it!
This was the first piece of sewing that I did, and it's now my favourite skirt. I'm so proud of it!

What crafts do YOU like to do?

Are there any creative things that you like to do or would like to learn? Maybe you used to enjoy a craft, but you're now struggling to bring yourself to do it any more. Let me know in the comments.

Also, if you want more posts on crafts, let me know in the comments section below. I'm not a professional at any of them. With some, like crochet, I'm still learning myself. But I'm happy to supply you with ideas and resources if you want them.

And in the meantime, keep smiling. You're amazing. Maybe you don't believe it right now, but you are.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Claire Miller

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • cmiller0161 profile imageAUTHOR

        Claire Miller 

        6 months ago

        Thank you so much for your comments!

        RTalloni, I will start working on some tutorials next month. Thank you for the suggestion!

        McKenna, I cannot encourage you enough to try it. When I was coming off my anti-depressants, crafts helped me through the rough tumbles I faced while getting used to no longer having that crutch. I could spend a down day just knitting and feel comforted by the fact that I was still doing something other than moping. It was basically my stepping stone towards exercising more.

        Diana, that's fantastic! It's amazing how quickly crafts can calm you down after a stressful moment.

      • Diana Lee profile image

        Diana L Pierce 

        6 months ago from Potter County, Pa.

        I have always enjoyed one type of craft or another. It does help ease stress. Good hub.

      • letstalkabouteduc profile image

        McKenna Meyers 

        6 months ago from Bend, OR

        I never thought about crafts as a way to battle depression, Claire, but it makes a lot of sense. I took anti-depressants for many years until I weaned off of them. Now I'm always looking for natural ways to battle depression. Exercise is my go-to fix, but I'm going to start exploring my creative side thanks to you!

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        6 months ago from the short journey

        Such a cute skirt! A tutorial on your process would be neat to see. Actually, any tutorial on your crafts would be welcome.

        So agree with your post. Arts and crafts certainly have the potential to help with depression. More than that, we were created to be occupied in such ways so engaging in them is satisfying on a deep level. Though not directly about depression, you've reminded me of a poem from J. Piper: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/pilgrim-s-con...

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, remedygrove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://remedygrove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)