New Year’s resolutions take on new meaning after a year like 2020. With so many of us ready to turn the page after months stuck at home, binging TV and ordering takeout, crafting offers the perfect opportunity to start the new year on a fresh path. And there’s one surprising hobby that might help you check off more than a few of your resolutions: knitting and crocheting.
Whether you’re looking to manage your stress, channel that boredom into something productive with a fulfilling result, or master a new skill, knitting and crocheting boast a whole host of mental health benefits to help you take on the new year, including:
- Getting more connected to others. Many of us are looking to build better relationships and new connections in our social lives. But that’s easier said than done when we’re still stuck at home. Try a virtual knitting circle, or a crafting-focused community experience such as The Shi Show. Studies show that participants in virtual knitting communities felt happier and enjoyed stronger social engagement with others.
- Doing a better job managing stress. 2020 has been an undeniably stressful year. Research links knitting and crocheting to diminished intensity of negative thoughts and an enhanced sense of calm.
- Learning a new skill. Picking up a new hobby, whether it’s knitting and crocheting or gardening, baking or hiking, comes with all kinds of benefits ranging from improved self-esteem and confidence, reduced depression and even positive changes in physical health.
- Being more creative. Knitting and crocheting is a great creative outlet for master crafters or even people picking up the hobby for the very first time. Studies show that hobbies can inspire creativity and even improve productivity.
- Taking a break from screen time. Even prior to the pandemic, more than half of teens and one-third of adults felt they’re spending too much time looking at their phones, leading to distraction and negative mental health effects like anxiety, loneliness and depression. Try swapping out your screen time for 30 minutes of knitting and crocheting and enjoy a reduced sense of isolation and increased well being.
- Giving back. One of the unique benefits of knitting and crocheting is the end product – maybe it’s a scarf, a blanket or a simple set of potholders. Not only does this impart a sense of pride and accomplishment on the individual, it offers an opportunity to give back to others, whether it’s a gift for loved ones or a donation of a handmade hat to #HatNotHate to raise awareness around bullying prevention. This kind of giving back has been linked to greater satisfaction, lowered stress and even longer life.
The bottom line
The surprisingly long list of mental health boosting benefits associated with knitting and crocheting makes this time-tested hobby a top candidate for 2021 New Year’s resolutions, and will help us all make a more colorful, connected, comforting and giving world. Whether you’re a lifelong knitting enthusiast or trying your hand at a simple crocheting pattern for the first time, your mind will thank you.