In a fast-paced, pre-pandemic world, most of us turned to modern convenience to balance our careers and personal lives. We didn’t need to learn to sew a button, repair a clogged drain, or deep-clean carpets. After all, we could get services in just a few clicks. We could even skip the repair services and just go to the mall or place an order online for a new shirt or carpet. But now that our lives have slowed down because of the pandemic, some of us found ourselves wandering back into the do-it-yourself or DIY arena.

Crafting can calm us

DIY projects are much more than the final product. The process of creating or fixing something is a good way to de-stress. Our brains are hard-wired to pay attention to threats and respond innately with a fight-or-flight mechanism—even if the threat is an invisible virus and not a prowling tiger. Knitting, sewing a new outfit for your dog, or renovating your kitchen demands focus. It pulls your attention into the moment and distracts you from everyday problems, including the threat of getting infected by the virus.

In addition, the repetitive actions of knitting or retiling a bathroom elicit a relaxation response that infiltrates your mind and body. That response is similar to how meditation calms your body and mind.

Find new friends amid a pandemic

Hanging out with new friends and even finding new pals are a challenge these days. But when you learn how to do something, you can become part of a club of like-minded people. That can open up various opportunities to increase your social network. Imagine developing a hobby of building shelves. You can join different DIY groups on Facebook or other platforms. You can start connecting with other people by merely asking about local TEK screw suppliers or sharing photos of your latest project. There are also DIY and crafting websites that can give you opportunities to make friends from the other side of the world.

man looking at some information on his laptop

DIY skills let us connect to the past

When we create something with our hands, we go back to the fundamentals. We are tugging at the primal energies that strangely assure us that we’re part of humanity. DIY skills can also help you connect to the past—it might be a memory of your grandparent harvesting tomatoes to create your favorite pasta dish or a passing thought about what your ancestors had to do to survive.

Home projects give us a sense of accomplishment

With the advent of technology, business processes have improved. Most of our jobs require us to handle certain tasks over and over again or act in the middle of a long process. We rarely see a project develop from beginning to end. But in DIY home projects, we get to be present in the entire process—from planning and designing the project to doing and finishing it. This gives us a sense of accomplishment that is immediate and concrete; we can hold, wear, eat, or show the product to our friends. And in today’s world full of uncertainties, getting that strong sense of accomplishment can boost our mental health.

The act of creation has a powerful effect on our well-being. If you find yourself running out of things to do while in self-quarantine, dig into your crafting skills or take on DIY home repairs and renovations. Old-fashioned DIY skills can give any modern individual a mental health boost, a sense of community, and more.

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