Hygge, knitting, crocheting, crafting, mindfulness, and mental health

Hygge, knitting, mindfulness, and mental health: read more at GamerCrafting

As I sit in the dark, watching the sun rise, I’m forced to reflect on life and the world, even as it seems like we’re all imploding.
Like many creatives and crafters, I consider myself to be a bit of an “empath.” I don’t generally buy into mysticism and woo: “Citation, please” is my battle cry as I charge into politically charged anti-science discussions with old high school classmates on Facebook. Still, I can’t deny that I’m more sensitive to my own emotions and emotions of those around me than others. It’s as if I absorb the emotions and vibe of the room like a sad, overemotional sponge. It’s why I need a day of quiet after a big event, and why parties have never been my thing. I come off as an extrovert to most people, but I need time to recharge my emotional batteries or I’ll end up feeling like a messy dumpster fire that no one has bothered to put out of its misery yet.

Discovering knitting and crochet was huge for me. It gave me something to do with my hands that quieted my mind (most of the time, except when working on Demon Sweaters). The rhythmic motion is soothing and calming for a great many crafters: it’s why something like the Instagram account @CraftAsTherapy is such a huge community of amazing people. It’s why science has shown, time and time again, that craft is good for the mind, body, and soul. It’s therapeutic. It’s cathartic. It’s important. And for someone with anxiety and depression, it can be a lifeline.

A photo posted by Crafters Unite (@craftastherapy) on Sep 27, 2016 at 4:09pm PDT

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And then there’s Hygge. (Pronounced Hoo-gah)

It’s been around for AGES in Denmark, and I started hearing about it a couple of years ago. Recently, it fell into vogue with the rest of us, and I bought a book about it: the Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. I took it with me to Scotland to share with my wife and friends, and discovered that it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a life ethos.

Quiet, calm, cozy.

You can have Hygge by yourself, when you stay home on a rainy Saturday and knit while you mainline Luke Cage on Netflix (my weekend plans). You can have it with close friends when you go apple picking in the fall (next weekend’s plans). In short, it’s about having enough space to breathe.

Hygge, knitting, mindfulness, and mental health: how candles, plants, and knitting make you feel whole

The world lately doesn’t have space to breathe. The 24-hour news cycle is like a battering ram on our psyche, and sometimes it feels like there’s no escape from turmoil. The Brexit vote will likely change our life path in the near future, given that I’m here on an EU visa and companies will start having to identify their non-British workers. The US election has wide ranging effects on the entire world, and with the instability in other countries, it feels like we’re heading down a dark road as a human race. Again.

As a hyper-sensitive human, it’s hard to not absorb everything you see and hear in the news. It’s barely Wednesday morning, and it already feels like it’s been an exhausting week. I feel heavy, I feel tired, and I feel like I need to go live as a hermit in the Highlands. (That could be the title of my blog there, no? Hermit in the Highlands?)

If you need me, I’ll be practicing my Hygge. Knitting, crochet, mindfulness. And candles. (And scandi-folk music because that’s a new genre that I’ve decided I love.)

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0 Replies to “Hygge, knitting, crocheting, crafting, mindfulness, and mental health”

  1. It's been a torrid time, and last week was almost too much to bear. Thanks for the Hygge recc, am going to look it up, space to breathe is in short supply at present. xxx

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