The past two years tested the world, but also gave people the opportunity to unite during one of the most stressful and unpredictable times for the global community.
With this year winding down, I’d like to reflect on what we’ve learned about ourselves and our mental health. We’ve learned so much from and been so inspired by our community of makers and the unconventional methods they practice every day to relieve stress and uplift their peers.
The quarantine periods that came with COVID-19 increased fear of losing jobs, reduced physical activity, altered sleep, and increased anxiety. Since 2019, seeking help to cope with anxiety increased 93% and seeking help to cope with depression increased 62%, according to studies conducted by Mental Health America. These numbers are hard to ignore, and makes more important the need to find many alternative ways to provide that help.
According to an in-house survey conducted by Cricut, 84% respondents report that creative projects help support their mental wellbeing. Similarly, a 2018 medical review published in Perspectives Public Health illustrates multiple studies showing that engagement in the arts benefits in reducing physical symptoms and improving mental health issues.
We see this time and time again throughout our community. These community members show us what they make by posting on social or in our Facebook groups, and share how making these projects helped them through a difficult time in their life or improved their mental state of being. These stories inspire others to act towards supporting their own mental health and we see this concept of making it forward for the mental health benefit of all. Our community gathers around those who need encouragement and support, whether they currently struggle or are survivors — be it through loss, depression, stress and anxiety, or other wellbeing concern.
Immense good surrounds our community, like with Keionna Baker, a mental health professional and licensed professional counselor. In the wake of her mother’s passing in 2017, grief overcame Keionna. After severe panic attacks landed her in the hospital and forced her to take time off work, Keionna said she felt lost until she turned to crafting.
After buying a Cricut machine and watching YouTube tutorials, Keionna got to work on making custom greeting cards for her loved ones. A simple, yet therapeutic gesture that stoked her creativity and gave her a renewed sense of purpose. Now, Keionna uses crafting to help others professionally. She incorporated a craft therapy group into her mental health practice where she hosts Zoom sessions for people to share their stories while making projects.
Channeling creativity also helped Holli Mostella, a survivor of pre-natal and postpartum depression. She sought ways to overcome significant mental and physical health issues and eventually found herself exploring more unconventional methods — specifically, crafting. Exploring her creative nature with designing and making things for family and friends helped Holli rediscover what she calls her purpose.
“It took using my hands and being productive to find that,” Holli said.
Ashley and Steven Le started Bé Kids Clothing as an outlet for stress relief. As professionals in the medical field, they found a need to destress from their work in the operating room. What started out as a hobby flourished into a word-of-mouth fueled side business, made for and motivated by their kids.
Our community and what they do to help others in need never fails to put a smile on my face. We see people share their struggles and successes, and the community responds loudly with support and encouragement. It’s a combination of hobbies and personal passions with people, who at their core want to make for others, that results in a never-failing support system of uplifting personalities.
Remembering and championing these stories say so much more than any statistic ever could. Learning about the hardship that so many are facing on a daily basis and discovering the ways in which they have fought to overcome those hurdles is why we are so passionate about the work we do at Cricut.