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Tag: wellbeing

New Year, New Skills – Why learning a new skill is so good for you.

New Year, New Skills

It’s the beginning of a brand new year and many of us will be setting goals for 2019.  Things like no more chocolate until next Christmas,  20-minutes only on devices a day and go for a 10-mile hike a day. Like everyone else, I’ve set myself these sort of goals each year and then felt dispirited or that I’ve have failed as they are unreasonable challenges and impossible to fulfil. So this year I’m trying a different type of goal to achieve.

My goal this year is to try new things and start learning some new skills! This type of goal isn’t about denying myself of feeling a failure if I don’t do amazingly on my first try. It is about stretching myself, trying things I’ve always wanted to have a go at and knowing that not getting it right only means I am practising to succeed later. I’ve also decided to plan my day to make sure I have time to just enjoy the little things in life such as enjoying a walk and setting aside a little time in the day to just do something creative that isn’t to do with work.

Therefore my New Year Goals list looks a little different to previous years:

  • Finally learn to crochet! I would love to be able to make one of the gorgeous Toft animals we have so this is the year.
  • Learn a few chords on the Ukelele so I can start to join in with one of the wonderful pub and play Ukelele sessions around where I live.
  • Set aside a time each day where I get to just be creative and experiment with techniques or materials without any pressure for it to be for anyone but me to enjoy.
  • Start to practice Yoga, I must be the only one left who isn’t enjoying some form of Yoga but I am a bit terrified as I am seriously unflexible and worry about getting stuck in a pose!

 

 

These New Year goals feel pretty good to me – there is no pressure, just a chance to do some fun stretching of the mind (and body) and the results should be pretty exciting, no matter if it takes me the rest of 2019 to manage some of them, I will still have started something I have never done before and be on my way to achieving a new skill.

The benefits of learning a new skill are pretty impressive:

I’m actually really looking forward to reaping all these benefits and having some fun in the process. It also feels a much more positive way to start planning a year than denying yourself or trying to make a new “you” out of a “you” that has travelled through good and bad stuff in 2018 and has proved a pretty good companion.

So let’s make 2019 a year to discover new skills we love and fill it with all our favourite things, both old and new!

 

If you too are looking to learn a new crafty skill in 2019 then these kits are perfect for beginners, from cross stitch to quilling.

Cross stitch – Cross stitch is the perfect new skill to relax with on the sofa! These counted cross stitch kits made by Mouseloft are perfect for beginner stitchers as they are very small and have simple but very cute designs.

 

Needle Felting – This is such a relaxing craft form to try and these gorgeous kits by Alula’s Garden are perfect for beginners. There are 6 kits in this range from penguins to rabbits.

 

 

Paper quilling –  This Complete Beginners Workbox by Past Times Quilling is designed for beginners and it contains everything you need to start, including a book with full instructions.

Wooden Automata Kits – If you want to start to learn how to make wooden moving models then why not start with this beginner level kit by Timberkits. It contains everything you need to make your model – a flying butterfly and a wriggling caterpillar.

 

If you enjoyed reading this article then you might like our article on how crafting makes our life better. Or to read more of our blog posts click here.

5 Reasons We Love Kits

Some of the very first things I made (after the obligatory and beloved wiggly eye and pom-pom monster) were made using a kit. They were a cross stitch unicorn and a cartoon drawing set. The unicorn turned out with huge hooves and a very wonky horn and the less said about my attempts at  cartoons the better but they set me on a journey I am still travelling and enjoying today – the ability to make and create.
The use of a collected set of materials boxed together to make something specific is hardly new with model planes and cars regularly being made as kits but the proliferation of kits today means that you can find a kit in almost any craft form you want. This choice vibrancy is one of the reasons I love kits, you can make anything from a sock elephant to a pair of knickers! In case you are still un-convinced here are 5 more reasons!

 

  1. They are perfect as an introduction to a craft form.

    Kits usually come complete with instructions and everything you need to make your project. This means you can just focus on learning the techniques and enjoying the process. Once you have mastered the basics you can then go on to create your own projects or move on to a more challenging kit.

  2. They save you time.

    Rather than having to collect all the materials together and formulating the best method and then finding you have run out of time, you can just start! Everything is included so all you have to do is open the box and begin.

  3. You have a much better chance of it turning out how you intended.

    Someone will have carefully worked out how best to put the project together, worked out just how much wool you need and can tell you just when you might need that essential dab of glue. This means you are left with a thing of beauty rather than a nightmare creation! Again this is a perfect base from which to progress in a craft form.

  4. They span generations.

    You can get kits perfect for any age so however old you are you can find something to make. They are also lovely as activities to get everyone together by having a making session with children creating with their parents and grandparents.

  5. You can take them anywhere.

    Compact and portable, kits are perfect for taking with you to do some on the hoof creating! Long train/car journeys are perfect times to make or design something as your mind is free to design and build and you are given an enforced break from having to rush somewhere.

So whatever your favourite reason for using a kit we are sure you will agree they are pretty brilliant.

You can read our other blog posts on wellbeing, creativity and crafting here 

Or have a browse through our kits here

7 unexpected but brilliant ways crafting can make your life better

We all love making things, whether a gorgeous bracelet as a Birthday present for your sister, a model plane to take to the skies or a tiny knitted pair of bootees for your newborn but did you also know about the amazing benefits you are receiving just from stitching, knitting or painting something? From helping with depression and providing pain relief to making you happier, crafting has some seriously unexpected benefits.

  1.  It melts stress and helps alleviate depression

You probably already know this if you’re a crafter but doing any type of craft activity can help you unwind and relax. A sponsored study by Robert Reiner of the New York University psychiatry department found that when his patients took part in sewing activities their heart rate showed they relaxed. Other studies on depression reported that crafting releases dopamine – the hormone that helps you feel good. Professor Kelly Lambert, a former President of the International Behavioural Neuroscience Society, said that partaking in arts and crafts activities “bathes the brain in feel good chemicals” and can in some situations, be just as effective as taking prescription medication.

  1. It makes you happier and more positive

An online study published by the British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that after knitting, a huge 81% of people said they felt happier. Another study found that even just doing one creative thing a day can make you more positive. If you needed any more convincing, researchers at the University of Otago also found that when their test subjects did something creative daily there was a lasting positive trend of wellbeing and creativity in contrast to those who didn’t do anything creative.

  1. Reduces your chances of developing mild cognitive impairment by as much as 50%

Yes you read that right! One study found that creative activities such as craft reduce your chances of suffering from mild cognitive impairment by up to 50%. Another study from France also found that older people who did creative activities such as knitting are less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. It can help you cope with pain

Crafting along with music has been found to be very effective at distracting from pain or nausea. This is because the mind is so focused on the pleasurable activity that it temporarily distracts from the pain.

  1. Social benefits

Loneliness is becoming an epidemic in our societies with 10% of older people saying they feel lonely some or most of the time, young people in their teens and twenties are also suffering from loneliness more than ever and an ONS report even found Britain to be the loneliest country in Europe! Craft offers a chance to connect with people over shared interests, whether in a weekly group or sharing knitting mishap stories over a cup of tea with a friend. It is something that everyone can take part in and often doesn’t cost very much to do.

  1. Stops you worrying about your mortality

Yes, if you often worry about your own death then crafting can help. A study found that those people who did more creative activities regularly felt less apprehensive about their own death than those who didn’t.

  1. In the flow – it can transport you into a zen like state

Last but not least – both Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book “Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention” and the psychologist Claudia Hammond say that when people are in the “Flow” of creativity, this state of flow helps time pass by without you noticing meaning your cares and woes are easily forgotten for that period of time and you are focused purely on your task.

So the next time you sew, stitch, felt or knit, you can bask in the knowledge that you are also benefiting from some pretty amazing side-effects.  

By Becky Woolley

Some links to the studies and other articles of interest if you would like to read more:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21677242

http://www.marthastewart.com/1083369/knit-day-keeps-doctor-away-health-benefits-crafting

https://www.cgu.edu/people/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi/

http://www.claudiahammond.com/

http://www.countryliving.com/life/a4926/brain-crafting-benefits/

http://serenityyou.com/2013/01/the-surprising-health-benefits-of-arts-and-crafts-activities-guest-post.html

http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/health-therapeutic

http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/loneliness-research/

http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/why-sewing-is-so-good-for-us/

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=p07184

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/arts-and-health/201612/creativity-and-emotional-well-being-recent-research

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jocb.171/full

 

A bit about Cre8kits

Cre8kits is an independent online shop providing craft kits for easy, time saving and gorgeous creations. For all ages, both individuals and groups.

You can keep in touch with Cre8kits and our blog posts by signing up to our newsletter on our website http://www.cre8kits.co.uk or via Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.

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