How learning how to knit has helped with my anxiety

Who knew knitting a scarf would calm me down?

Do you knit? (Pexels.)

It’s 2023, and I think it’s safe to say that we’re all a little bit anxious these days.

It’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed to admit, either. There’s so much to worry about in the world, so it only makes sense that we’re all a little bit more on edge.

For me, I like to describe myself as a bundle of anxiety these days. From worrying about bills, my job, my health and everything in between, being an adult in your 30s is rough! Why did no one prepare me for this?!

All jokes aside, my anxiety has been boiling over recently, and I’ve tried to come up with some ways to help calm me down, soothe me or even distract me from that little nagging voice inside my head that continues to stress me out.

That’s where knitting comes in.

I actually learned how to knit when I was 16 or 17 at summer camp. The woman who ran the craft shop was teaching someone how to knit, so I thought it would be fun to learn, too, kind of as a joke. I always imagined old ladies knitting, so I thought why not. Turned out, I really liked it.

Fast forward 10-plus years later, I haven’t touched my knitting needles since that summer at camp. However, as I was moving some stuff out of my parent’s house and into the house I had just bought, I found some yarn and knitting needles. I thought I’d be funny to see if I remembered how to knit still, and just like riding a bike, I did!

It wasn’t until I had finished knitting a scarf after getting back into it that I realized just how relaxing it was. I couldn’t really put my finger on what was exactly relaxing me, but I just knew that my mind was at ease as I moved each stitch from one needle to the other.

Fast forward to about two months ago, and my anxiety is at the worst it’s ever been. I actually ended up finding a therapist to talk to about it (therapy rocks, by the way!), and I decided to get back into knitting yet again, because I remembered just how relaxing it was when I made a few scarves as Christmas presents a year ago.

As I began knitting yet again, I finally started to realize just how calming it was to me. It’s a combination of the repetitive nature of knitting, along with a focus on my project that really clears my head. Plus, I’m such a fidgeter when I get anxious, so having something to do with my hands was also very helpful.

The fact that I’m also getting a reward at the end of the project is also very satisfying. It’s like a goal that I can work toward, and the prize at the end is something that I made. It’s such a great feeling.

I’ve also started dabbling into crochet, which I kind of like even more than knitting. In the last few weeks I’ve been able to crochet a tote bag, a stuffed animal and many many granny squares. I can’t get enough of it. It might be a little ambitious, but I have plans to start a cardigan soon. It’s so exciting!

I want to make clear that my anxiety is nowhere being fixed, and through therapy, I’ve learned that it may never be fixed. However, I’ve learned that having fun little hobbies or projects, like knitting and crocheting, can help when things are tough. It may be a bit of a Band-Aid on a not-so-great situation, but as I’m putting in the work to better myself, knitting and crocheting is a great help along the way.

I’m interested to see if you’ve found a hobby or project that has helped with your mental health or anxiety? I know that knitting and crocheting isn’t the only hobby out there, so there’s got to be some other things out that that have helped curb anxiety. Maybe it’s as simple as watching TV or reading a book? If you’ve found some help, let me know in the comments. Maybe it can inspire someone else who deals with anxiety to find a way to help. That would be the best reward of all.

About the Author:

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.