Stitching Together for Mental Health - Five Reasons Millennials are Gravitating Toward Sewing
The Millennial generation is known as the “therapy generation” in mental health circles. More than any generation before them, they have embraced therapy and are leading the charge to destigmatize conversations around mental health. I think we can agree this is a welcome shift.
But their interest in therapy and openness to discussing their feelings with others also reveals a deep sense of vulnerability. Depression is on the rise among Millennials, who have seen a 47% increase in depression diagnoses since 2013.
The good news is that online communities acting as informal support groups are rising in popularity among young people, too. One such community, the Sew-It-Online community, is proving to be an empowering, inspiring, and positive force among people of all ages.
Not your grandma’s sewing circle.
When Jan Brostek first opened her brick and mortar shop, Pins and Needles, over 30 years ago in Cleveland, OH, she couldn’t have imagined the role sewers would be playing during the current pandemic. What started as a sew-a-thon among Jan’s community to support healthcare workers at one hospital, grew into a global Million Mask Challenge.
To date, our community has sewed and donated over two million masks to hospitals, medical clinics, and nursing homes around the country. But beyond this incredible display of generosity, what is so fascinating is how those who have participated in the challenge report how much sewing has helped them with their personal mental health during the crisis.
And it’s no accident that Millennials are a huge driving force behind the resurgence of interest in sewing we’ve seen in the first half of 2020. There is just something so empowering about using your own hands to make something that you know will contribute to ending this pandemic. The Sew-It-Online community gives new meaning to the #inittogether campaign.
[Related: Fashion, Where The Wild Things Are]
Five mental health benefits of sewing.
If you've never considered sewing as a mental health booster, it’s time to experience what your mothers and grandmothers already know. Sewing has some real therapeutic benefits.
Here are five, but we could easily add to this list.
1) It’s a good excuse for some “me time.”
Not that you ever need an excuse to give yourself a breather, but sewing is a really constructive way to spend your “me time.” Plus, when your hands are busy sewing, it just might keep the other humans with whom you are quarantined from asking you to do things for them.
2) It’s a good reason to step away from social media and stop the #doomscrolling.
As if we weren’t experiencing sensory overload because of our devices before the pandemic hit, now with basically every business or social interaction happening online, we’re all taken to the brink of overwhelm every day. Any reason to step away from social media and the 24/7 news cycle is a good reason. So, put down your devices and pick up your thread and needle.
3) It’s mindful and meditative.
The repetitive nature of stitching along with the same pattern (e.g., face masks), either using a machine or sewing by hand, may be just what your brain needs to relax and unwind. A mindful activity like sewing is the perfect remedy for the stress our brains experience from a full day of remote work and multitasking. Never underestimate how good it is for your mental health to stop and focus on one thing.
4) It gives you a project to accomplish.
Completing a sewing project is incredibly satisfying. When we set out to create something and accomplish our goal after working steadily for a period of time, we’re proud of what we did. Finishing such projects is invaluable for raising self-esteem.
5) It can improve your confidence and sense of style.
If you take up sewing and decide to start sewing clothing for yourself, you may even notice an improved sense of your own body image. How? Sewing helps you to develop your own sense of style and gives you a more realistic idea about sizing. Also, imagine designing and sewing something unique to you. What a special way to show yourself some love!
When you suffer from a dip in your mental health, socializing is an important way to get back to balance. Finding a community online, like Sew-It-Online, can give you purpose and direction. Whatever your passion, find a way to share it with others!
Victoria Kennedy is the CEO of Atman Real Estate and is currently working on building her PR firm, Victorious PR. She is a member of Ellevate's Los Angeles chapter.
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