Stress. It’s like our ever-present friend in an ‘Oh my god, why are you still here? Leave me alone, you weirdo” kind of a way. You can be fine for ages, but once it starts creeping in it’s difficult to ignore it. Most people know what we’re supposed to do in that situation. We need to remember to breathe, take some time to relax, and stop focussing on the stress we’re feeling. Real talk, though. That’s easier said than done. Once something’s in your brain it’s very difficult to get it back out again. You sit there and you know you’re supposed to be letting go, but those thoughts just keep turning up again. A bit like a friend you’d rather not see.
It turns out there’s a secret stress-reducer out there, and it’s anything that involves making things.
We’ve all seen Ghost. If Demi Moore can sit at a potter’s wheel and make something with Patrick Swayze hanging around and distracting her, then surely it can’t be that difficult, right? Wrong. So incredibly wrong. Pottery takes up such a lot of concentration that hours might pass before you look away from your creation and realise that you haven’t had a chance to think about whatever’s been bothering you.
The grannies of the world are definitely on to something. Actually, come to think of it, so are a lot of celebrities. Knitting can be as simple or as difficult as you choose to make it, so it’s perfect for people of all levels. It also requires enough concentration to make you forget about whatever was stressing you out. Plus it has the added bonus of free wool-based items every time you finish a project.
Yes. Everyone around you is terrible and nobody’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing and people are annoying and- Oh. Is that peony in the right place? It’s basically impossible to stress out while you’re working on something beautiful, and flower arranging fits right into that category, as far as we’re concerned. Plus, as with so many other craft activities – you basically get free stuff when you’re finished.
All you have to do in Life Drawing is focus on the thing you see in front of you (which may be a real, live person, in which case we are sorry for describing them as a ‘thing’) and put it down on paper. It’s not necessarily easy in terms of actually drawing something that looks like a real thing and/or person that exists, but it’s logistically simple and doesn’t allow room for many distractions.
Stitching is another crafty activity that requires enough concentration that it’s hard for your mind to wander into stressful territory. You might be following a pattern, or you might just be having a go freehand, but either way you’re likely to find yourself blocking out distractions, which is exactly the effect we’re after. Plus, there’s a growing ‘subversive cross stitch‘ movement which uses passive aggressive slogans and swearing. Just the thing when you’re feeling annoyed.
If you’re a workplace stresser in particular, origami might be just the thing for you. After all, there’s usually a pretty huge supply of paper in the average workplace so you can have a sly top-up session any time you start to feel that familiar stress creeping in. Of course, your boss might start to question where all of the paper cranes have started coming from, but you’re creative. We’re sure you’ll think of something.