Crochet Therapy for Mental Health
Craft is a gentle healer for so many health issues, from chronic pain to crippling anxiety. Read more about how crochet can benefit your mental health…
Crocheters will not be surprised to learn that crochet is good for your mental health. It can carry us through depression, it can calm anxiety – and it can bring us out of isolation. The gentle curve the hook, the challenge of a new stitch, or the pulse of a regular row in a blanket can absorb hours of worry, and soothe the bleakness of the black dog.
Mental health, for many, is a difficult subject to talk about. It’s not like having a visible illness, or an injury – it’s a silent disease inside that can be excruciating and lonely. If you suffer from mental health issues, crochet could help you to manage the day-to-day battles. The gentle repetition of stitches is said to stimulate the production of serotonin, that essential chemical in the brain to help us feel better, and the simple act of choosing colours can help us to feel soothed as well as be a decision-making task that might be a big victory in a difficult day.
Texture in our hands – whether it is chunky, super chunky or DK yarn, wool, acrylic or silk – just feeling the threads of yarn through our fingers lifts the senses, and having a go-to project brings a sense of purpose and achievement every day.
A crochet group can be a lifeline, and thanks to modern technology, it doesn’t have to involve meeting up with people in person. Online communities on platforms like Facebook and Instagram have crochet groups where crafters can open up about how they’re feeling, discuss their worries alongside their yarn colour choices – crocheters are the kindest of people, and so likely to want to listen and help.
If you don’t want to crochet for yourself, there are plenty of charities that would love your help, whether making blankets and toys for the very young or very old, hats and scarves, or even blankets for animals in shelters. Crochet is needed everywhere in the world!
Make a mood blanket
A quick search online reveals zillions of mood blankets, a project designed to reflect how you feel every day. They can be as simple or complex as you like – simple rows of half trebles (half double crochet in the US) produce a beautiful swathe of colour, but you could make a ripple blanket, a granny stripe, or something more complex like a sampler blanket trying out different stitches. The concept is the same – begin your project and let the benefit of a gentle row of stitches help you every day. All you need to do is choose colours, and start crocheting – back and forth, working one or two rows every day or whenever you feel you need to, selecting a colour that reflects your mood or how you feel.
Granny stripe blanket
Choosing colours to reflect your feelings can be done in a variety of ways. You can find a key online – and there are so many colour wheels and charts that show different colours for different spectrums of feelings, but one crocheter’s diamonds are another crocheter’s stones – you might prefer to choose your own colours to reflect how you feel. It might be that pinks and purples make you happy, or perhaps greys and blues are your colours of sadness. Perhaps yellows and oranges are reflective of your more anxious feelings, and reds for anger. Choose a palette that works for you, and work those stripes or motifs – some people prefer to do this with granny squares, or hexagons – whenever you feel the need to, every day. The resulting blanket (or blankets) are testament to your journey.
A granny square mood blanket
You can read much more about crochet as therapy by fabulous Kathryn Vercillo, who wrote the books, “Crochet Saved my Life” and “Hook to Heal”. Her blog, Crochetconcupscience has a page full of articles about how crochet can help – and her site is full of inspiration and beautiful patterns.
Has crochet helped you with mental health issues? We’d love to hear about it – please do share your stories in the comments section below…
The feature image above is of crocheted mohair flowers, pattern by Laura Dovile.