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Before this huge shitshow of a virus hit town, you might know I was off work for a few weeks with stress. I had two and a half weeks to just chill out. Doctor's orders. This took a good week or so to get used to, I'll be honest. I don't really know how to relax, it's not something I'm used to. Or at least, I wasn't at the time. But about a week into my enforced relaxation time, I got my sewing machine out and spent hours making a pyjama top. It didn't necessarily need to take me hours, but it had been a long time since I'd sewn, so let me off. Before I knew it, it was time to go to bed, and I hadn't stressed about work, my health, or anything else other than my needle unthreading for at least three hours (I told you it had been a while). That's when I realised just how much craft can take your mind off of things.

This is something my mum had always told me, turns out I just hadn't really got it before. That woman can crochet until the cows come home, all without thinking about anything other than the yarn in front of her, and maybe what she'd like for tea that night. I always thought I was "too stressy" to be like that, doomed to a life of eternal overthinking, no matter what was happening around me, or what I was doing. Sure, that still happens a lot of the time, especially now, cooped up inside my home while the world falls to pieces outside, but at least now I know there's something I can do to help, if only for a few hours.

craft blogger wears customised pants with feather trim in street style outfit photo

Being creative really, really, really helps my anxiety. Especially sewing, embroidering and punch needling. Those are my jams. I'm not the best sewer in the world, I can guarantee you that, but in a way, I think that's a good thing. I'm constantly learning how to improve my sewing, which means I really have to concentrate on what I'm doing. Check the tension is right. Are the right sides pinned together? Where did that pin go? My mind is always focused on the task in front of me, and at the end, I get to keep something pretty (albeit, very messy behind the scenes - or should I say seams...ha)

One thing I will pride myself on though, is my ability to customise. Just recently, I thrifted a pair of pants from a local vintage shop, then added a feather trim onto the bottom to make them oh-so-Insta worthy. I even celebrated with a Tik Tok to the soundtrack of a very funky song about, you guessed it, pants. Side note, Tik Tok is one hell of a creative platform, and can be surprisingly easy to use even for those of us who are not so confident with video editing. Another craft to try, if you will.

Want to sew more? Try these:

crafter holds punch needle letter cushion pillow

Since the beginning of the year, I've picked up punch needling. It's basically a quicker version of embroidery, but with yarn. So far, I've made cushions, wall hangings and coasters, but every day I'm scouring the flat searching for something to cover with fluffy yarn next. I'm obsessed. Fellow punch needle obsessees say the craft is relaxing because of the repetitive motion of it, punching your needle (it's very aptly named) in and out of the fabric, until you create a picture. It takes a while to get the hang of, trying all sorts of different needles, fabrics and yarns until you get the right combination, but if you stick at it, it's one of the most relaxing crafts I've ever tried.

Want to learn to needle punch? Try these:

floral design of different embroidery stitches in yellow, white, orange and pink

And last but not least, well, there are definitely a lot more crafts to try, but let's just focus on three today shall we... is embroidery. A classic art form. I don't think I've ever met a single soul that wouldn't say embroidery is very pretty, but a lot of people assume it's too intricate and difficult to try. I'll warn you that it is very time consuming, especially if you want to do something like an embroidery hoop, but the end result is always worth it. Like with sewing, it's a learning curve, and there are always more stitches to try. I picked up Hoop Art, a book for modern embroiderers, and couldn't recommend it enough for beginners. There are step-by-step guides for different stitches, ideas for easy-to-do projects and patterns to get you going - I've linked it below!

Want to embroider? Try these:

Whether you struggle with stress or anxiety, or just need something, anything, to distract you from complete and utter boredom during self isolation, why not pick a craft to try. Who knows, it might be your new obsession. And if not, well, at least you tried.

These are just suggestions, in no way shape or form am I saying you have to be productive during a pandemic. Chilling in your underwear eating Easter eggs is just as valid. Do what you gotta do.

Good vibes guys ✌🏼