April is a month known by many as National Poetry Month, which is a wonderful celebration of the beauty and inspiration of poetry. The month is also designated as many other things, though, including raising awareness about important issues. April is Autism Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Stress Awareness Month. I’ve been posting crochet-related things for each of these on my social media channels and will continue to do so throughout the month.
Today I thought I’d focus here specifically on National Stress Awareness Month. There are many different types of stress, all of which can cause significant mental and physical distress for those undergoing the strain. Crochet has the power to help combat stress and its associated issues.
“I found out when I did pick up my crochet hook that my mind was so busy counting stitches and figuring out a pattern that it just didn’t have the time to worry. Less worry meant less stress in my life and I began to calm down. I just started to crochet like crazy just to get relief.” – Em, Crochet Saved My Life
National Stress Awareness Month
The non-profit organization called the Health Resource Network has sponsored April as National Stress Awareness Month to increase awareness of the dangers of chronic stress and to encourage individuals to engage in regular realization to combat the impact of stress. They note in part:
“Even though we’ve learned a lot about stress in the past twenty years,”says Dr. Morton C. Orman, M.D., Founder and Director of HRN, “we’ve got a long way to go. New information is now available that could help millions of Americans eliminate their suffering.”
Crochet for Stress
Crochet has been proven to reduce stress among all ages of people. It’s a low cost, easy, fun activity that you can do almost anywhere, allowing you to make the most of its benefits whenever stress strikes. But, of course, you probably already know that. When I conducted my survey of 10,000+ crafters about the benefits of crochet, 89% of those surveyed said that they crochet to help with stress and / or gain the benefits of relaxation through crafting. Crochet for stress was a topic that I covered in my book Crochet Saved My Life and one that I created exercises around for my book Hook to Heal.
“I tend to believe the claims made for the health benefits of crocheting – it is good for stress management, strengthening the immune system, regulating blood pressure. I can only testify to its help with depression, but as a cancer survivor, I consider continuing to crochet part of my general health plan.” – Margaret, Crochet Saved My Life
Here are some additional articles related to crochet for stress relief:
- A Mother Copes with Stress Through Crochet. Kimberly went through a really tough time trying to learn to advocate for her child who has autism and a severe peanut allergy. She was getting burned out, depressed and struggling with low self-esteem as a parent. Crochet helped.
- Tracey’s Story: Crochet for Stress. A teacher shares her story of learning to crochet to combat stress.
- Donna’s Story. She says, “I now fall upon crochet in times of stress. I think I have trained myself to use crochet to de-stress, rather than to abuse or harm myself.”
- Inma’s Story. Inma has a background in psychology and is enthusiastic about the benefits of crochet, which she shares with others through her relaxation-based crochet classes.
- Crochet to Improve Your Immune System. Stress has a big impact on our health in large part because it weakens our immune system.
- Crochet for Caregivers. People who are caregivers either personally or professionally experience a lot of stress. Crochet can help.
- Crochet through Pregnancy Stress. There are many complications and issues that can cause stress during pregnancy. It’s important for both mother and baby to bring those stress levels down. Crochet can help.
- Crochet for PTSD. There are many types and symptoms of PTSD; sometimes, crochet can help. Military man Ron Hardin shared his story with me.
- Crochet relieves ulcers. In 1949 there was a news report of a man who took up crochet to heal his stress-induced ulcers.
- Additional references to crochet for stress relief. I have shared many news stories of how crochet is helping people. In one roundup, both a science professor and a 105-year-old woman mentioned stress relief from crochet. And two others mention the stress-relief benefits of crochet in this roundup.
You might also want to learn more about mindfulness crochet, a terrific way to approach crafting as a means to reduce stress.
“Crocheting is a great stress reliever. When I crochet, it relaxes me and helps gets my mind off of my own problems. When I am upset, for some reason, my fingers work even faster; however, completing the project calms me down and makes me feel so much better.” – Sherri, Crochet Saved My Life
Free Crochet Stress Ball Pattern
Stress balls are one popular way to cope with stress. And you can crochet one! The Craft Yarn Council worked previously with crochet designer Twinkie Chan to offer a free crochet pattern for a lemon-shaped stress ball. (There is also a knit version of this pattern.) The free pattern includes a video tutorial. This crochet pattern helps you de-stress in two ways:
- There is the joy and relaxation of making this crochet item. The repetitive nature of crochet is a soothing act that reduces stress as you work with your hook.
- When you’re done, you’ll have a stress ball to squeeze away your stress in the future!
People who have crocheted these lemon stress balls in the past share them on social media using the hashtags #stitchawaystress and #lemonstressball.
“I’m less stressed, calmer, more focused, and able to push back painful thoughts and memories when I crochet. The physical benefits are less profound for me but there is some relief of pain involved. Of course, that may simply be a reaction to a calmer mindset. Less stress usually means less pain.” – Cynthia Maddox
Crochet Patterns for Stress Relief
Here are some additional patterns and resources for people who want to crochet for stress relief:
Crochet Books for Relaxation
As more and more people have gained awareness about the benefits of crochet for stress and other issues, publishers have gotten the news and released a few books in this vein:
- Crochet to Calm. This book has 18 crochet patterns each designed to meet two criteria: repetitive stitch motion for relaxation and a level of difficult that is high enough to distract, yet low enough not to frustrate.
- Crochet Therapy. “Focus, relax, and become more mindful by making more than 20 simple and colorful projects comprised of crocheted mandalas, soothing circles, and other beautiful motifs.” These are designed by Betsan Corkhill of Stitchlinks who has done extensive research into the benefits of yarn crafting.
- How to Use Knitting and Crochet to Relieve Stress. I haven’t checked out this Kindle book, yet, but it’s on my list of resources to review.
There are also a great new number of crochet mandalas books, round patterns that are often relaxing for people. These include Marinke’s book Mandalas to Crochet and Marie-Line’s book Mandalas and Doilies to Crochet as well as Modern Crochet Mandalas.
Additional Stress Relief Crochet Patterns
Yarn Ball Stress Reliever free crochet pattern by Blackstone Designs
Crochet anti-stress ball by Ellej with free video tutorial that includes English subtitles
Cat-shaped crochet stress ball pattern for sale by Sasha Kulakova on Ravelry
Personalized stress balls free crochet pattern available from Pan Perkins on Ravelry
Mr. De-Stress, another crochet stress ball pattern, this one free from Relodie’s Silly Knitz
Large Crochet Pouf pattern by Annemarie Benthem; this is in the book Crochet to Calm and also available for individual pattern sale through Ravelry
Meditation Mat crochet pattern from Darn Good Yarn
Meditation Cushion Cover crochet pattern by Stace Clement
The truth is that any simple, repeating crochet pattern can be relaxing. My go-to stress-relief crochet pattern is a large crochet granny square blanket. And if you like the idea of crocheting mandalas for stress relief, here are 40 crochet mandala patterns.
Udemy has a very affordable beginner’s crochet course called Crochet for Stress Relief with Patternless Projects
This post has been sponsored by HotUKSavings.co.uk, but all opinions are my own. Check them out to save a lot of money on books and other products using various voucher codes.