If it helps Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley cope, it may help relieve your anxiety, too.
As we enter another chapter of these unprecedented times, another lockdown can take a toll on your mental health. With the pattern of uncertainty we’ve been experiencing due to the pandemic, new hobbies we can practice at home may help keep us calm, relaxed, and productive.
We can take inspiration from Team Great Britain Olympic diver Tom Daley for a hobby that can relieve pressure. The athlete, who won gold in the Tokyo 2020 Games, shares in an Instagram post that learning how to knit and crochet helped him through the Olympics. He says it’s the “one thing” that kept him sane during the whole process.
If knitting has helped an Olympian snag gold amid the intense preparation, training, and competition stages of Tokyo 2020—it’s something worth exploring while we’re stuck at home for the coming weeks.
Here are some of the health benefits crocheting and knitting can bring you. From the way it can boost serotonin release to how it builds communities despite social distancing regulations, it can be your new healthy hobby that may keep your spirits up while in quarantine.
When you feel a spike in your stress levels, you can turn to meditation to help bring you back to a calmer state. However, it can be hard to tune everything out and focus on being still. With knitting, you use your hands to practice the rhythm of creating the crochet piece.
The continuous movement of your hands can be a productive alternative for constant fidgeting caused by emotional turmoil.
In the times you’re experiencing anxiety, it’s common to feel helpless, nervous, and worrisome. While for physical symptoms, you may experience sweating, trembling, and feeling weak. A positive way to get through moments of anxiety is to have a go-to plan whenever these feelings arise.
You can start deep breathing exercises and then turn to your knitting needles to provide comfort. In a study where The British Journal of Occupational Therapy surveyed 3,500 knitters, 81 percent of respondents suffering from depression said they felt “happy” to “very happy” after knitting. It’s an activity that can serve as your “safe space” when you’re seeking solace.
There’s always a feeling of pride you can achieve from creating something. Especially when you’re new to a particular skill, seeing yourself progress from a novice to someone experienced can help you remember that you can achieve constant growth with dedication.
If you turn to knit during a difficult time, the end-product can remind you of overcoming an obstacle and remind you that tough times don’t last forever. And, of course, your hand-knitted item can remind you of good times, too.
When Tom Daley got to Tokyo, he started knitting an Olympics 2020 themed sweater with “Team GB,” and stitched Olympic rings. In a post on an Instagram page dedicated to his crochet creations, he said that he wanted to make something that would remind him of the Olympics in the future.
If you want to meet new people who knit and can also help you improve your knitting skills, many online communities are dedicated to just that. For instance, the Knitting Guild Association is one of the largest online communities for the hobby. It’s a source for tips to help advance your skills, and you can even get certifications if you want to be challenged.
Locally, you can join Knit Manila on Facebook. The page promotes “the joy of knitting” and hosts workshops for beginners—great if you’re just about to break in your knitting tools.