For this article in my 10-day series of crochet health articles I want to focus on how crochet can help boost self-esteem. That’s because low self-esteem is such a common factor or byproduct of so many health conditions. It certainly played a destructive cyclical role in my own experience of depression. People with other mental health issues sometimes feel stigmatized and develop resulting low self-esteem. People with chronic illness often feel useless and suffer from low self-esteem. Low self-esteem deflates your confidence and ability to fight any condition so it’s important to get it under control. It’s something that nobody else can give to you; you have to grab it for yourself. So reach out a hook and snag some!
1. Pride for learning something new
When we learn something new we feel a sense of pride. We are able to do something we didn’t know that we could do and that injects a tiny bit of confidence into our lives, making us aware that we are capable of accomplishing other new things we haven’t tried yet. If crochet is new for you then you can take pride in mastering the basics. If you’ve crocheted all your life you can still learn new stitches and techniques. This craft has so many aspects to it!
2. Pride for mastering a technique
We take pride in our initial steps into learning something new but of course those first steps don’t usually result in stitchery masterpieces. When you start to produce products that are really great, showing that you’ve mastered a certain stitch or pattern, take a moment to really reflect on how hard that was and how great you’ve become at it. Celebrate your skill!
3. Making something from nothing builds self-esteem
There is a reason the DIY movement is so popular. Goed, there are lots of reasons, Natuurlijk, but a key reason is because being able to do something by hand, start tot finish, all by yourself, creates a really satisfying feeling. Lots of books and articles have been written about this. One book I like on this topic is Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World by Mark Frauenfelder of MAKE (sister site to AMBACHTELIJKE).
4. You can create gifts for friends and family
Illness, and even old age, can sometimes make you feel like you have nothing to give. It can feel like “take, take, take” if your family members are your caregivers. Crafting them something by hand as a gift can make it feel like you’re still taking care of them and providing for them even if they need to help you with certain things.
5. Crocheting for charity feels good
You can take that productiveness you feel in caring for your family and go even further by making things for others in need. It’s a boost to your self-esteem when you celebrate the small ways in which you are still able to help others despite your physical or mental health issues.
6. You may be able to sell your products
Being able to bring in a little bit of income even if you can’t work full time can help you feel a sense of pride and self-esteem.
7. Or at least save your family some money
Upcycling materials with crochet, crocheting costumes and clothing and creating gifts by hand are all ways that you might be able to save money in the family budget. Even if you’re too sick to contribute to the family’s income, these money-saving actions can be a way to feel like you’re doing your part and that helps battle the self-esteem that sickness sometimes wants to take away.
8. Making small decisions
When you have low self-esteem you can feel like making decisions is impossible because you don’t trust yourself. But with crochet, there are lots of little decisions to make and if you can learn to make them there then you can learn to make bigger decisions again in your life. Choosing yarn and a project to make may seem small but it can be a big step towards decisions that are life-changing later on.
9. Allowing creativity opens you to self-acceptance
Crochet is a safe place where you can express yourself creatively. By taking risks with your craft and using it to express your own sense of style you allow yourself the space to just be you. The more ways in which you can embrace creative self-acceptance, the more accepting you will be of yourself in all areas of life.
10. Praise from others for your crochet
It’s dangerous to look outside of yourself for self-esteem. It’s really something that needs to come from within. But it can help when you get support from others. So if you share your crochet work with family members, friends or the blog world and get positive feedback then it can help get your self-esteem up a little bit.
This article is part of a series celebrating the release of my new book, Haak mijn leven gered.
Photo of author by Julie Michelle Photography