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Using Craft as an Aid to Therapy

Over the years I have found that craft in whatever form can have a big influence on our mood and stress levels

I have always ‘crafted’ as a means to relax, take myself away from everyday problems, calm myself, de-stress after a busy day or just fill out my days when there is a bit of a space. The joy of seeing an idea come to life and being creative, to me, is something really special.

My ‘day job’ can be stressful as a Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist, listening to other people’s problems, helping them through really difficult times and eventually seeing them achieve their goals. The latter part, seeing them achieving their goals, of course is wonderful and I do enjoy saying goodbye to people at the end of their therapy journey – a real sense of achievement for both of us! Burn out is a serious issue with many therapists and so having ‘time out’ to totally unwind is essential.

This is true, of course, for all of us no matter which profession we are in, especially in the times we find ourselves in today. COVID 19 has certainly proved difficult for many people not only professionally and financially but also mentally.

Working from home can be wonderful but some people are finding that their day is getting longer, starting earlier as they don’t have to travel and yet are so used to waking up at a certain time that they feel they are almost ‘programmed’ to do just that and then turning on the computer whilst having that first tea or coffee with breakfast, drifting into their seat and starting work, sometimes forgetting lunch as there are online meetings or a deadline and then the next thing, it is 6 or 7 in the evening and they haven’t managed to have any ‘downtime’.

Equally, those that have children at home are finding their home office ‘challenging’. I can relate to this as I have worked from home for many years, juggling my work and home life around schools, clubs, cooking etc.

But finding ‘time out’ for you is essential, even if it is a few minutes each day, whether you like to keep fit, run, cycle, meditate, reading or, like me, you like to engross yourself in a craft. I like to encourage all my clients to find time for themselves, to take ‘time out’ to engross themselves in an activity that will help them to relax their minds.

I was taught to sew when I was about seven and, over the years, have always made clothes and homeware for myself, friends and family. At sixteen, I added to my skills with Macrame which was useful in the homes and gardens that I have frequented and again a craft that I have a real passion for. Cross Stitch and Macrame have always adorned the walls of my home. Several years ago I started to sell the ‘excess’ of my creations as, anyone who loves a craft will tell you, there is never enough space to keep everything!

When we moved to Norfolk I found another challenge, Weaving, which in turn led me to Spinning – even though really, I guess spinning, in ‘real life’ should come first. Making lots of yarn and then not being able to use my loom whilst waiting for children outside clubs etc. led me to learn Crochet (I tried knitting when I was in my late teens and didn’t get on with it) and Kumihimo, both of which can easily be thrown into a bag and taken anywhere, cricket, football, netball, etc.

When I look at the crafts that I love, they are all fibre, texture and colour orientated. I am not so good with a pencil to draw with and my painting is limited to the quirky gnomes that keep on springing up in my garden – much to the annoyance of the children and possibly the neighbours too!

For me, being a ‘Fibre Artist’ in my spare time is a wonderful, mindful experience, a great self-therapy and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Take a look at Lopham Weavers on Instagram, Folksy, Esty or Facebook to see some of the current creations.

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