This time of year can have a significant effect on the mind – with limited daylight, damp weather and harsh temperatures, it’s not uncommon for people to struggle with low mood. In fact, over half of British people suffer from lower moods in January and February than they do during the rest of the year, according to a recent survey carried out by 247 Blinds and 247 Curtains.
A great way to beat the blues and to practice mindfulness is to find a fulfilling activity that you enjoy.
Whether your motivation for picking up a new hobby is to slow down, to reduce screen time, or just have fun, having a new focus is a great way to relax, de-stress and unwind, resulting in better mental health.
Recent data shows that 1 in 4 British people partake in “DIY and arts and crafts” as a personal hobby, and there has been a 163% increase in Pinterest searches for “homemade home decor” in the last year.
DIY experts at Metals4U have teamed up with Vanessa Louise Moore, emotional health coach and well-being and self-care expert, to discuss the benefits of taking on a DIY project for improving mental health, and why winter is a great time to get crafty.
The Impact Of Winter On Our Mental Health
Vanessa explains: “It’s not news that this time of year can be tough on many of us because there is a lack of sunlight hours and much shorter periods of time we can spend outdoors in the fresh air. Both contribute hugely to our low moods and lack of motivation in winter months.”
“The state of our outside environment is a contributing factor for the state of our inside environment and how we feel. In these winter months, paying attention to our serotonin levels is important because this ‘happy hormone’ plays a deciding factor in feeling good. One way to help lift your spirits and brighten your days is to freshen up and reinvigorate your home.”
How And Why You Should Get Started
Committing to getting inventive by refreshing your environment can give your space a new lease of life. Decorating your home with things that you have made with your own hands allows you to be more emotionally involved, leaving you feeling a great sense of accomplishment. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a DIY pro to start getting creative.
Vanessa says: “While extending the parameters of your home and knocking down walls are big hefty jobs that create big change, even the simplest of changes you can do yourself can effectively impact how you feel. Repainting walls and upcycling your current furniture is a creative and easy enough way to enhance a space.”
“There are plenty of great instructional DIY videos on YouTube that you can follow if you are a complete novice. As I am reassured by my artistic friends, ‘anyone can create’ when shown how. Good news for us all!”
Inspiration And ideas
If you’re feeling motivated to take your own wintertime project, Paul McFadyen, chief executive and metals specialist at metals4U has offered 5 simple DIY ideas to help inspire you:
Brighten up walls with fresh paint. Paul says: “A fresh lick of paint can really rejuvenate a space, having a positive impact on your wellbeing. The process of painting can be very therapeutic, and nothing beats the satisfaction of peeling off frog tape to reveal a clean line of paint against a ceiling or skirting board.”
Replace old hardware. “Swapping out old hardware, for example on handles, doors and light switches, is a simple enough job that you can do yourself whilst still making a subtle but noticeable change to a room. Changing plastic covers for brass or stainless steel accents can create a whole different feel to a room.”
Create your own herb garden. “Start a small herb garden in your kitchen by upcycling old aluminium cans; you can get creative with how you decorate your homemade planters, and caring for the herbs is a labour of love.”
Get creative with tiles. “While this might sound intimidating at first, you can buy peel and stick tiles at an affordable price which are easy to piece together yourself, which allows you to do things such as creating your own kitchen back splash”
Hang up pictures that make you happy. “Print off pictures that make you happy, including photos of family, friends, and inspirational quotes. Put these into frames, you can find nice ones in some charity shops, and hang them around your house. They will add life to your space and give you a reason to smile every day.”
How DIY Has Had A Real-Life Impact
Nicola Rodriguez, fromThe Essex House Dolly, suffers from anxiety and OCD, and channels her energy into her home as a way to help her focus. Her personal DIY hobby was something she not only did for herself, but also for her family and friends, before making it into her own business.
She explains: “Doing DIY around your home is so mentally satisfying where not only have you done it yourself, you also get the satisfaction of achievement that goes with it.”
“If you are really struggling with a situation, upcycling a piece of furniture or putting up some shelves helps to distract your mind and thoughts as you are concentrating on the task at hand. I have always turned to this when I have had testing times in my life, and even though it doesn’t necessarily fix the problem, it does give your brain a rest.”
This article was written by Sarah Crabtree and originally appeared on Your Coffee Break.