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Crafting has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother used crafting as a symbol of celebration and appreciation for loved ones. I loved the annual gratitude craft for Thanksgiving, the homemade “thank you” cards after birthdays, the decorative Valentine’s Day hearts for the living room, and even my own summer business, Belle’s Beads. As a child, I enjoyed crafting because it made other people happy, knowing that I put time, effort, and creativity into gifts for my home and my family. However, as I matured, I came to the realization that crafting can also serve as a personal, rewarding experience for me. 

As I grew older and the stressors of everyday life began to overwhelm my mind, body, and soul, I knew that I needed to revisit my crafting as a relief. Last year, I treated myself to new markers and a few coloring books. It seemed unnecessary to me, setting aside my homework to pick up a coloring page, but I quickly learned that this activity could serve as a healthy break from reality. Every evening, amidst my schoolwork, I turned on some smooth jazz, threw my phone across the room, and spread my markers across the floor. I felt prepared to give myself thirty minutes of coloring time, reminding myself to focus on the colors, the soft movements of my markers, and the rhythm of filling in the shapes on the page. 

Once I came home, I decided to revisit my beading kits. I didn’t need to make jewelry for others, or even myself, but I needed the physical movement. I needed to keep my hands busy. I needed to plan the pattern of each bracelet, setting out colors and charms across the carpet. I needed to focus on the meticulous movement of stringing each bead onto the elastic. I needed this. 

This year, my new focus has been centered around crocheting potholders and coasters. I realized that I needed a craft that could be completed in one sitting. Coloring was a relaxing pastime for me, but I felt the missing piece of accomplishment. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with putting down an unfinished coloring book and picking it up the next day to continue the slow journey of completing a page. Crocheting potholders and coasters has been the perfect fit for me and my personal crafting journey. My hands are kept busy, the stress in my mind empties itself, and I get to complete the project before revisiting the rest of my day. 

Crafting has always held a special place in my heart, and although I still enjoy making little gifts for my family and friends, I now treat the habit as a mental and emotional break from daily life. Even if you don’t feel in a creative mood, I highly recommend putting your technology down, turning on some music, and keeping yourself busy with a craft.

Annabelle is a junior at Denison University, majoring in Educational Studies and minoring in Creative Writing. She enjoys journaling, finding cute coffee shops, and crafting in her free time. On campus, she serves as the social media head for Denison's chapter of Her Campus, so check out our instagram @hcdenison!
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