Crafting & Latinas

Posted: Apr 30 2015

Yarn-By Barbara Alvarez
Ahh, si, si, we’re all so busy that we don’t have time to sit down and just relax at the end of the day. Instead, we sit down, watch a few minutes of brain-candy TV, then fall asleep until it’s time to go to bed. That’s no bueno. Yes, we’re supposed to be taking care of our families, but when do we give ourselves time? When do we do something for ourselves? ¡Ayyy, que egoista! It isn’t selfish when we take some time for ourselves.

Busy Lives with Familia y Trabajo
From the minute we get up until the second we lay our heads on our pillows, we are busy. We’re doing things for the kids, our husbands, the neighbors, our parents and the pets. We run here and there, take the dry cleaning to be done, pay the bills, buy groceries, make dinner, help the kids with homework, clean the house, pull weeds outside. . . can I take a breath? Where do we find time for ourselves? When do we have a second to relax and just. . . be?

The short answer: We don’t. We’re told that, by being busy for every second of every day, we’re being the best mama and wife out there. Until we get sick and collapse. Until we suffer from “doing for others” burnout. I see a few heads nodding out there. Go ahead. Sit down. Nobody’s going to point a finger at you. If they do, ignore them.

Crafting and its Effects on Mental Health
What can we do to help ourselves? We can find a craft we’ve always wanted to do, but didn’t have the time to learn. Do something for yourself, mama.

If your community holds a regular Farmer’s and Crafts Market, go and see what you’ll find out there. You’ll also meet local jewelers and craftspeople. You’ll get to see beautiful items that people in your community have made with their own hands. Beautiful, colorful shawls, scarves, afghans, baby clothing or pot holders. Visit each booth and see what “speaks to you.” Look at something that makes you think, “I could do this.”

When someone sits down at the end of a long, busy, stressful day and picks up a crochet hook, knitting needles or a cross stitch/embroidery hoop and needle, they enter a special place in their minds. As they work on their projects and make the same repeated movements, their minds slow down and they begin to feel happier, according to Mother Nature Network. One theory says that, as we craft, our brains begin to release a feel-good neurotransmitter (dopamine). At the end of the day, when it’s time to take a shower or go to bed, we feel calmer and more happy.

Can Crafting Improve Mental Focus?
“I have pregnancy-brain. I’m going through fibro fog. Yuck. I’m dealing with chemo brain.” Physical illnesses and even the medications given to combat some illnesses can cause our minds to fog up. We lose focus. Thinking that we need to grab that cup of coffee in the kitchen on our way to the living room, we scratch our heads once in the kitchen. “Why am I in here again?”

People with multiple sclerosis experience this mental fogginess. Others under a lot of stress do as well. When they pick up a favorite craft, they are able to sharpen their mental focus, writes the Craft Yarn Council.

Are you going through so much stress that you can’t relax? Pick up that craft! Work on your craft and feel your body and mind begin to relax.

Crafting andReducing Pain?
That pain you feel in your back or shoulder starts in your brain. Crafting can help you short-circuit the connection from your brain to those nerves. If you keep your hands and body occupied with an activity, your mind (and brain) won’t be able to focus on that pain.

If your pain means you take several painkillers daily, try crafting when you’re hurting. It may help get your mind off the pain, at least for a little while.

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