Crafting provides an outlet through which you can express yourself, while at the same time serving as a way to keep your mind and body focused on something positive and creative. It can even become a social hobby, preventing the isolation that often occurs with eating disorders.
This holiday season, explore your creative side by diving into some arts and crafts. Create your own holiday cards to send out, decorations for your house, or even presents for loved ones.
Exploring positive ways to keep busy during the holidays can support and preserve your recovery.
Crafting as a Creative Outlet
Finding a creative outlet in eating disorder recovery can give you a healthy way to process and express the uncomfortable and often overwhelming feelings that arise. This can be especially helpful during the holiday season, which is often a triggering time of year.
Knitting, coloring, or similar hobbies can give you something to focus on when your mind is spinning or you are struggling with obsessive thoughts. Having healthy coping tools like this to turn to when triggered can prevent relapse during the holiday season.
Even if you are further along in your recovery or otherwise do not identify with these holiday triggers, crafting can still play a positive and rewarding role in your holiday season.
Crafting activities can be highly therapeutic in nature, and at the end you have a handmade gift, decoration, or simple reminder of how far you have come in your recovery journey.
Benefits of Solitary & Group Crafting
There are many solitary and group crafting activities you can work on during the holidays to boost your mental health.
Solitary crafting can almost become a form of meditation, as you tap into a different part of your brain and focus on the crafting project at hand. For example, the repetitive nature of knitting or crocheting can be calming and lead to an almost meditative state of relaxation and mindfulness.
Group crafting typically plays a different role. This is a great way to socialize and avoid isolation during the holiday season while challenging you to try new things. In some cases, you can improve your communication skills and problem-solving capabilities while brainstorming with those around you.
Sometimes more traditionally solitary activities take place in a group setting. This combines the benefits, though the socialization aspect might take away from the activity’s meditative qualities. Identify what you are looking for and then seek out these crafting experiences.
Let Go of Perfectionism
When crafting, it can be easy to get frustrated when things do not turn out the way you wanted. Do not let this fear keep you from experimenting and having fun with the process.
Perfectionism is an easy trap to fall into, particularly for those in eating disorder recovery. Try to be patient with yourself and just enjoy what you are working on in the moment.
Even if you make something that you do not like or feel like it did not come out the way you wanted, you can always donate it to a Goodwill or Salvation Army near you. Maybe someone else will think it is the coolest little box, or that the unevenness of the scarf makes it chic! At the very least, your donation will likely end up being a prop for a high school play.
Sometimes you need to let yourself make mistakes to discover something beautiful. This is not just in crafting, but in life. Let yourself take chances and try new things. Sometimes it will turn out beautifully, and other times it will look like one of those viral “Pinterest fail” memes. But you never know until you try.
Where to Start
If you are a seasoned crafter, you probably already have 10 ideas of projects you want to start for the holidays. If you have never really been into crafting, you might be wondering where to even start.
Find a craft store near you and just go explore. You can also check out Pinterest or other social media platforms to find holiday crafting ideas.
Keep in mind that supplies are sometimes expensive, so be sure to budget for your holiday crafting activities. There are lots of ways to craft on a budget, so you can get creative and even start with items you have lying around your home.
Remember to keep your eating disorder recovery a priority this holiday season, whether through crafting to cope with triggers or engaging in other activities that support your recovery.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
What is your favorite holiday crafting activity that supports recovery?
About the Author: Courtney Howard is the Director of Operations & Business Development at Eating Disorder Hope. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from San Diego State University, holds a paralegal certificate in Family Law, and is a Certified Domestic Violence Advocate. After obtaining her certification as a life coach, Courtney launched Lionheart Eating Disorder Recovery Coaching in 2015 and continues to be a passionate advocate for awareness and recovery.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 15, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com