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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

OPINION: A love letter to arts and crafts

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In high school, I was suffocated by my activities and commitments. There were days when I would leave the house at 4:30 a.m. for swim practice and wouldn’t be home until 9:30 p.m. after working on the school newspaper. I had little free time, and when I did, I was often too exhausted to spend it with peace or intention.

Self-care is becoming an ever more popular idea, and of course, an aggressive marketing scheme—likely fueled by the isolation and free time that came with the pandemic. Although often associated with using various products and devices to promote relaxation or beauty, I believe the aspect of self-care that is too often overlooked is engaging in hobbies that bring you joy. Recently for me, this has been arts and crafts.

Since beginning college, I have newfound flexibility with my class schedule and extracurricular activities, allowing me to reform the way I practice self-care and spend my free time. I think arts and crafts may be just the thing that many others are missing in their self-care routines too.

[Related: OPINION: 'Protecting your peace' is a myth]

I often see crafting dismissed as childish or feminine—obviously the worst thing someone could ever be—but I encourage everyone, especially stressed college students, to give it a try. If being feminine means doing something relaxing and creative that yields an end product you can be proud of, then I embrace that femininity, and you should too—no matter your gender identity.

If you look down on crafting as messy finger painting and scribbled crayon drawings to be left in kindergarten, consider how happy you were back then. Maybe it’s not so bad to disconnect from the rest of the world and let your imagination run free without fear of judgment. Be secure in your maturity; I promise it's ok to revisit the simpler time of childhood crafting.

Most of us dedicate our free time to overwhelmingly stimulating activities, like scrolling on social media or playing video games. Crafting provides an outlet for creativity and personality without the overstimulation. 

Many crafts—like collaging—can be done with common household items and other people’s scraps, and they can be a fantastic way to create tangible things for yourself to enjoy or even to gift to loved ones.

[Related: COLUMN: Four easy self-care activities to help combat seasonal depression]

For those looking to get their craft on, organize a friendship bracelet making night with friends, gather old newspapers (perhaps the IDS!) and magazines around campus for collages, or decorate stationery to send letters to friends or family. 

If you want to find friends and get better at your hobby, IU has plenty of clubs and events to explore these hobbies, which you can find on beInvolved, bulletin boards around campus or on Instagram. 

Leila Faraday is a freshman studying policy analysis. She has made five friendship bracelets since arriving back at IU this semester. 

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