Get Creative - Crafting Your Way To Mindfulness
Unleash your inner artist and practice mindfulness in the workplace and at home with some good old-fashioned crafting and creative activities.
Life is busy, the world is loud, and time flies fast. If you feel like you don’t know whether you’re coming or going, disconnecting from the chaos and getting creative may just be one of the solutions you are looking for.
What comes to mind when you think of crafting? School kids playing with PVA glue, crepe paper, and safety scissors whilst messy glitter gets everywhere? Or perhaps your parents or grandparents with a pair of needles in hand, crocheting or knitting an itchy scarf for the winter. In fact, there’s more to it than that.
Crafting is an old but gold activity to take a break, slow down your mind, and do something with purpose - to create a project that’s rewarding from start to finish. It encourages focus, reduces stress and screen time, and can sharpen the senses that get you thinking outside the box.
If you’re wondering ‘what is mindfulness?’, or are looking for some suggestions on personal or staff wellbeing ideas, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of ideas and local resources to help you get creative.
Crafting as a hobby isn’t just for kids and the retired - it’s for anyone in need of a creative outlet to destress and get grounded mentally. That’s where the mindfulness aspect comes in.
The Link Between Crafting And Mindfulness
So, how does crafting help us practice mindfulness? Well, in many ways, actually! Here is some insight:
A focused activity
Have you ever been working on a long project and got so immersed in your own world that time passes in the blink of an eye? That level of concentration relaxes and centers us. We get pulled away from the noises in our brains whilst training our focus. So here is a quick question for you: when is the last time you didn't notice the time pass? If it has been a while, some crafting or some mindfulness this week might help!
A break from screens
Technology is a wonderful thing, but it can be overwhelming. According to the Mayo Clinic, less screen time boosts both our mental and physical health. And we couldn't agree more: our Digital Wellbeing sessions have been very well received lately, and have supported many people with their relationship with screens and technology. Do you actually know how much time you spend on your phone every day? Check it out, it is eye-opening!
An opportunity to embrace our five senses
See. Hear. Smell. Taste. Touch. Depending on the activity, you can tactically engage all of these at once, another level of grounding and focus perfect for mental health and wellbeing training. According to Psychology Today, repetitive motions reduce anxiety. Imagine what some crafting activities can do to lower our levels of anxiety while we focus on our five senses: painting using repeated movements of the brush, drawing using repeated movements of the pencil, cutting and collaging using scissors and glue...
An invitation to let go of perfectionism
If something is worth doing, it is worth doing… However you want to do it and whatever the result! ‘Properly’ doesn’t mean ‘perfect’. Crafting projects that aren’t expert-level perfect helps to let go of perfectionism in other areas of life, too. We do invite our children to experiment and get messy, so let's apply this to ourselves as well! Remember: it is not about the destination, it is about the journey! Anyone can craft. Adult crafting isn’t just for experts and highly skilled individuals. You don’t need hours upon hours of practice, knowing niche techniques, and working with costly resources and equipment to be able to practice crafting mindfully.
That feeling when you complete a task and create something yourself is always satisfying! And creativity doesn't always come easy, it takes some doing and un-doing, some erasing and wrong-doing. Crafting is a good example of problem-solving: I have this image in mind, I am not quite sure how I will get there, but I will find solutions on the way! Getting creative for a crafting activity will help you to think creatively and innovatively in life and at work too!
A sense of belonging
Crafting alone is fun and peaceful. And so is crafting with others! If you do crafting activities as a team, we can ensure you that is will support your team building and community strengthening. Crafting can help a community come together to show appreciation and support for all manner of things, such as the ‘What We Go Through Together’ Butterfly Origami Project that we supported and enabled at Mind It. All the origami butterflies were made during our series of Reset Days for Leeds Teaching Hospitals. 600 origami butterflies - symbols of transformation, rebirth, and optimism - were folded by Leeds Hospital staff in tribute to NHS frontline workers and displayed at Leeds City Museum over a few months. Each individual butterfly had its own meaning imbued by its creator, and the overall display was a message of remembrance but most importantly, of hope!
Some Crafting Ideas
Now that we have let go of perfectionism and understood the benefits of mindfulness and crafting in the workplace, it is time to get the creative juices flowing with some wellbeing ideas for staff. These tasks can range from quick and simple to slightly more complex, depending on resources, skill level, and interest.
Here are some craft ideas for you to try:
Drawing - such as still drawings, cartoon doodles, life drawings…
Adult colouring books (these work really well in breakout or coffee areas!)
Colour-by-numbers / paint-by-numbers
Creative writing - such as prose or poetry
Upcycling - old trinkets, frames, items, clothes, or furniture
DIY hanging planters
DIY candle holders
Decorate custom phone cases
Making a mini terrarium
… and the list goes on!
Local Leeds Resources and Projects
“Prioritising self-care and wellbeing has never been more important.” - Lucile Allen-Paisant
If you are looking for a local workshop, or to get inspired by some community action, here are some great examples that supported (and still are supporting!) creativity and mindfulness locally.
Leeds Inspired suggests multiple crafting activities in various locations in Leeds - such as an Adult Craft Club, a Jewellery Making Workshop, and Drop In And Draw sessions to name a few!
Leeds Art Gallery offers weekly Meet & Make sessions
Left Bank Leeds organises Wednesday Creative Takeovers on the first Wednesday of each month
There are no skill requirements or experience necessary! Getting creative is all about getting stuck in, whether you’re a beginner, a novice, or an expert. Mindfulness and fun go hand-in-hand, and creative activities are the perfect way to do both!
The bottom line: you don’t need to know how to draw, paint, bake, or make to get crafty. There are plenty of resources available to get started, with the added mental benefit of destressing through mindfulness.
At Mind It, we make wellbeing a priority as we organise and implement these mindfulness activities for teams in a corporate setting. For more information on what we do, get in touch via email@example.com.