Calling all cross stitch addicts! We have some GREAT news for you. Did you know that stitching is more than just a fun hobby? This simple yet oh-sew-addictive form of embroidery offers real benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing. That’s right – cross stitch is officially good for you! If you’ve ever felt guilty about taking time out to stitch, it’s time to change your mindset. As part of a healthy lifestyle, regular stitching can be truly therapeutic – from relieving stress to improving sleep quality and even reducing your waistline! Your favorite hobby just got even better…
1) STAY IN SHAPE
Want to lose a few pounds? Grab your needle and thread! Ok, so stitching isn’t technically a sport – but did you know it can help you maintain a healthy weight? Despite being a sedentary activity, cross stitch can be incredibly absorbing – which means less snacking! We all know how time flies once you get stuck into a good stitching session. If you’re trying to lose weight, this can be a great distraction to keep your fingers out of the cookie jar. You’ll be too busy counting stitches to be tempted by edible treats. And with that beautiful fabric, the last thing you need is sticky fingers!
2) FEEL RELAXED
As the adage goes: there is no health without mental health. The truth is, all those salads and kale smoothies will have limited benefit if you fail to tackle one of the biggest causes of disease – stress. From headaches to hypertension, stress is considered to be a causative factor for up to 80% of physical illnesses. Making time for relaxation is absolutely vital to keep our bodies and minds in peak condition. Relaxing activities help to lower blood pressure, relieve tension, decrease inflammation and reduce levels of cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) while boosting the feel-good hormones of serotonin and dopamine. Luckily for us, cross stitching can be a type of mindfulness therapy that helps you to unwind and be present in the moment. In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed how the zen-like repetitive nature of stitching tiny crosses has a meditative effect that calms the mind. So, why not soothe those frazzled nerves and let the stress melt away with a good stitching session? Feel satisfied knowing you’re not just creating a beautiful work of art, but actively taking steps to improve your wellbeing at the same time. Stitching as self-care? We’re here for it!
3) BETTER SLEEP
Nothing beats a good night’s sleep. But too much screen time during the evenings can interfere with our natural circadian rhythms. Where possible, it’s a good idea to avoid this blue light exposure for at least one hour before bed. Excessive smartphone usage can lead to sensory over-stimulation, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep. What’s more, it’s also linked to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. So, if you find yourself addicted to endlessly scrolling through your phone every night, consider switching things up. Cross stitch is the ideal activity for a digital detox, so why not make it part of your evening routine? Take time to unplug and enjoy some relaxing needlework before bed. It’s an effective strategy to get you off your phone, helping your mind and body to unwind and prepare for sleep.
4) FEEL YOUTHFUL
Want to feel younger? Studies have shown that getting crafty with creative activities can stimulate the brain and stave off the effects of aging. While we can’t turn back the clock, there are positive steps we can take to keep ourselves feeling happy, healthy and well-balanced. Engaging your brain in a task you enjoy is a great way to boost mental fitness. Needlework helps to maintain fine motor skills and dexterity, as well as improving hand-eye coordination. Counting stitches requires concentration, which keeps your mind sharp and reduces cognitive decline. Keep those fingers nimble and challenge yourself with designs that stretch your skills – from learning new stitches to experimenting with different types of fabric. The mood-boosting benefit of having a creative outlet also provides a sense of purpose – something that helps to develop a positive mindset throughout later life.
5) FEEL CONNECTED
Strong social connections are so important for our general wellbeing. In fact, research has shown that loneliness and a lack of meaningful social engagement can be just as detrimental to our health as smoking. Cross stitching opens up a world of opportunities to form new friendships and socialize with likeminded people. From TikTok to Instagram, social media makes it easy for stitchers to feel part of a global community. Over recent years, the rise of contemporary cross stitch means there’s now more diversity than ever before. Craftivism (activism through crafting) and the subversive stitching movement have attracted men and women of all ages, backgrounds and identities. A wide range of online stitching groups, craft cafés and SALs (Stitch-A-Longs) provide a sense of belonging that’s been proven to boost mental health – something that was particularly comforting to those who felt isolated during the pandemic. Sharing your passion with fellow stitchers helps to increase social connection for improved happiness, wellness and self-worth.