Stress is one of the great health problems of our time. Sustained levels of stress lead to everything from insomnia and headaches to heart disease, fertility problems, and diabetes, and many experts believe that stress has reached nearly epidemic proportions among some segments of society.
While reducing stress may be essential if you want to feel better and live longer, it’s easier said than done. For many of us, stress is a natural response to the busyness, anxiety, and uncertainty of modern life: finding ways to relax and recharge requires some strategic lifestyle changes.
You may not be able to quit your job or move to a mountain retreat, but you can start your de-stressing journey with small daily rituals and practices that will provide the right mix of focus and distraction. Here are three reasons knitting can help you accomplish this.
1. It’s a Meditative Craft
Knitting is a perfect de-stressing activity because it is so meditative. Sitting in a comfortable position, without much background noise, focusing your attention on a single, straightforward task — these are essential elements of meditation, and knitting is a great way to bring them into your life.
Once you’ve learned some basic stitches, you can lose yourself in the simple rhythm of each knit and purl. This relaxes the mind and provides the simple pleasure of watching a hat or blanket come to life, and can easily be paired with another soothing activity, like listening to an audiobook or a mindfulness podcast.
2. You Can Do It Anywhere
Unlike other relaxing activities that can only be done in the home (cooking, for example, or learning to play a musical instrument), you can take your knitting anywhere. This is especially important after a year of pandemic lockdowns and social distancing.
Decamping from your house or apartment and taking up a seat in the park with your knitting needles and bag of yarn is the perfect way to spend a relaxing evening or weekend afternoon. Not only can you enjoy the simple pleasures of nature, you can soak up some much-needed Vitamin D in the process.
3. Keeping Things Interesting is Easy
One of the key things to look for in any de-stressing activity is the ability to regularly switch things up — no one wants to do the same yoga routine over and over again, after all.
With knitting, you can literally spend a lifetime learning new things and pushing your boundaries creatively. You can scale up the challenge by exploring different styles, or by experimenting with yarn weights and materials, or simply by selecting more ambitious patterns.
There are plenty of resources available for knitters looking for new things to try, like these pattern round-ups from Yarnspirations that provide a wide range of options for all seasons and occasions. And with plenty of varieties of yarn available online, such as Caron Simply Soft and Patons Alpaca, ordering the supplies you need has never been easier.
Tackling stress isn’t easy, and the last thing you want to do is start stressing about how stressed you are. The good news is that building small practices like knitting into your life can help create space for you to unwind, to get in touch with yourself, and to let the worries of the day melt away.