JSL - Creating Calm: Crafting for Mental Health & Rest

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John Steinbeck Library

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Take a break to make! May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as the school year ends and final deadlines loom large it's important for your mental well-being to take the time to unwind. Has isolation from the last few years taken a toll on your mental health? Come out to the library and reconnect with your community!

This drop-in program encourages teens and adults to work independently together by bringing their own projects (knitting, crochet, comic book for the library's comic book contest, etc.) or trying a basic yarn or paper craft provided by the library. By intentionally setting aside time to craft & create -and be present while doing so- you're training yourself to be more mindful! Please note: this is not an instructional program.

  • What is mindfulness? - Mindfulness refers to focusing your thoughts to the present moment. Exercising your ability to stay in the present helps you detach from getting bogged down about the past or swept up into anxieties about the future. Although meditation is the activity most often associated with mindfulness exercises, you can integrate them into other aspects of your life.
  • Crafting can be a mindful activity - one of the ways the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recommends as a way to reduce stress is to "schedule regular times for a relaxing activity that uses mindfulness... exercises." While a craft can be a relaxing activity to promote mental rest, it also requires one's present attention. You don't have to be in crisis to start exercising mindfulness; it's an important part of our emotional wellness! Being emotionally well helps us deal with the inevitable stresses of life and adapt more quickly during difficult times.
  • Reduce stress - Studies have shown that engaging in the arts reduces cortisol levels. Even making art for 45 minutes can reduce cortisol levels in significant ways, regardless of skill level.
  • Stay connected - Joining a group that shares hobbies helps us strengthen our social connections, and building strong social networks helps alleviate stress. After spending so much time apart and isolated, it's important now more than ever that we reconnect with each other. 
    • Try body doubling, a technique first implemented in the ADHD community. It's a strategy that makes tasks easier to do when there's another person beside you.

When: Wednesdays in May
Time: 3PM – 5PM
Place: John Steinbeck Library
Dates: May 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st