There are a few items in my crafty stash that I will never tire of, and the Essentials by Ellen Abstract Nature stamp set is one of those. But you’ve read about my thoughts on these before, so today, let’s have a chat about Mental Health Awareness Month, shall we?
I’ve shared a little before about how crafting was truly something that saved me from 2020-2021 – a time where my life was quite literally turned upside down before my eyes. A very sudden and forced international move, being diagnosed with 2 autoimmune conditions, experiencing a whole load of symptoms that constantly had me wondering how my body was going to freak out next… it was a pretty dark and scary time. On top of it all, there was, of course, a global pandemic happening and all of the uncertainty that came along with it. I know I’m not the only one who struggled to hold it together, and I know I’m also not the only one who turned to my creative hobbies to cope.
As was likely the case for many, my life for much of 2020 and 2021 was… routine. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE a good routine and really do thrive on my habits and rituals. During the pandemic, I took a lot of comfort in routine because so much was completely out of my control. I’m lucky to have been very healthy and active for most of my life thus far, which until 2020, I suppose I took for granted. When my body decided to throw a tantrum (or shall we say, an extended, 16ish-month long tantrum), there were days when it was hard to recognize myself. It felt bizarre and depressing to be able to do little more than go for walks some days because things hurt so much. But rather than dwell on the fact that I couldn’t live like the old me (and don’t get me wrong, there were some days where that was ALL I did), I tried to distract myself. Enter: crafting. A LOT of time spent crafting.
When I wasn’t working my full-time gig, I was making cards, thinking about making cards, photographing cards, writing Instagram captions for cards, commenting on other’s cards… you get the idea. I’ve dabbled in going to therapy in the past, but the time spent creating felt more cathartic and anxiety-reducing than any therapy session I’ve ever attended. Not only did I love getting mentally lost in the process, but the friends I met while doing so made me feel like I wasn’t nearly as isolated as COVID restrictions required us all to be.
We’d check in on each other regularly (and still do) and help to get each other through the tough stuff, from physical pain, to figuring out where to stick the embellishments on a nearly-complete card project. (If you know, you know.😉) Some of the friends I met (virtually) in our creative Instagram community are also some of the ones I consider closest today, and I’ll be forever grateful to them for their support. Oh, and for those wondering, I’m pleased to report that I’m a million times better health-wise these days. It has been a journey!
I didn’t sit down with the intention of writing a post this long, but alas, here we are! I also still haven’t talked about these cards you’re seeing, but what I really came here to say is that mental health is just as important as any other aspect of our health. I firmly believe that getting our creative juices flowing can work wonders to improve it. Whether it’s today, tomorrow or sometime this week, I encourage you to spend at least a little bit of time doing something creative. Really, what’s the worst thing that could happen?