If you’re looking for new self care ideas, you don’t need to look much further than your own two hands.
My husband likes to tease me about this thing I do with my hands. It’s something I don’t even realize I’m going most of the time.
Often, while writing out e-mails, I gesture as if I’m taking talking to the person.
I constantly need to be doing something with my hands.
It’s always been that way.
As a kid, I would play legos and fold origami while watching Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies on Saturday mornings. As a teenager, my class notes were full of doodles in the margins. (Come to think of that, I still do that.)
Now, I enjoy adult coloring pages, cooking, and of course, making handmade jewelry.
For me, doing something with my hands is very calming and centering.
(Those are my hands!)
It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve come to acknowledge that creative energy is constantly coursing through my veins.
I often channel that creativity through my hands.
My mom was the first to point out how creative I was and made sure I was enrolled in art classes and piano lessons and had ample access to art materials.
As an adult, I sought out opportunities to make things with my hands. I took classes in beading, jewelry metalsmthing, and DIYing; ran a crafting group for several years; and taught myself how to crochet and relearned how to knit.
Since becoming a parent, I’ve come to realize just how important doing things with my hands and having creative outlets is to me.
My self care routine, I’ve come to realize, involves doing something with my hands.
Back when I selling jewelry, I find the monthly trip to the local jewelry metalsmithing studio to be revitalizing.
I would track of time when I’m there in a way I couldn’t during the week.
I have to force myself to drink water, eat lunch, even go to the restroom because I’m so immersed in what I was doing. I would return home on these days jubilant and giddy with excitement over my latest design, proudly sharing with my family what I had been working on all day.
Those days in the studio were like gold to me.
I left feeling energized, centered, and ready to conquer the upcoming week.
It was what I needed after a long week running my business and taking care of my children.
Now, I don’t necessarily get that much time to myself anymore to focus on doing creative things with my hands. However, I still recognize the benefits of it, even in smaller doses.
And that is the secret-sauce to my happiness: building in time for jewelry-making and other hands-on creative activities.
As I talk about in my book, The Busy Mom’s Guide to Creativity, I believe that making time for creative outlets is vita to our overall well-being.
As important as things like eating healthy, drinking water, and exercising. I see it in my children, and I feel it in myself. Digging deeper, I realized there are some amazing benefits fo making jewelry and other hands-on creative activities.
The emotional and mental benefits of doing creative activities such as JEWELRY-MAKING
It uses your hands
So much of what we do involves using devices. While clearly we use our hands and fingers to hold and manipulate them, it’s not the same as using your hands to actually make something with them. Creating something with our hands can help decrease stress and relieve anxiety. (It’s no wonder adult color books are so popular!)
It engages your senses
The scent of freshly sanded metal. The click of closing jump rings. The rich colors of beads. The grip of a pair of pliers grasped in our hands. The act of jewelry-making is connected deeply to most of our senses (I would not encourage you to taste your supplies or finished pieces.)
Our well-being is impacted by our senses, and noticing those senses can help us be more mindful and present, which has all types of mental and emotional benefits, including reducing anxiety and increasing our ability to sustain our attention.
Allows you to enter that state of flow
While this comes with practice and knowing what you’re doing — rather than in the learning states — doing something creatives that you love allows you to enter “the zone,” or that state of flow where you’re fully involved and enjoying the process of doing something.
It gives you an opportunity to learn
I personally love learning for the sake of learning. It takes the pressure off and allows you to focus on things that you’re interested in, rather than what someone else thinks you need to learn. Learning new skills, especially as we get older, also helps us to keep our brains sharp.
While making time to do something creative with our hands can feel like a challenge, it can be unbelievably beneficial when you do.
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