I took the past week off from crafting to give my hands a rest.
I’d realized that I was working too hard too often with them and not letting them rest properly. At work, I’m always clutching either a radio or a thermos (I’m a security officer!), and in Southern California, you’re usually white-knuckling it in traffic, so my hands go through a lot before I even get my hands on a crochet hook or loom tool! I was spending more time stretching my hands at work and realizing just how sore they were. I’ve been hooking more things at a much faster rate and stressing out the muscles.
And that’s not good for your health.
So I took a break to recenter myself and get my hands back into better shape, but now I’m back and I wanted to share some helpful tips to keep your hands and body healthy while still being able to do what you love: crafting!
1. Keep hydrated.
I know that that sounds like a given, but so often us crafters (I see you on Instagram!) chug caffeinated tea and coffee to help us power through our day and all of our projects–but it’s so important to drink water to avoid unnecessary headaches. Coffee is life, I know, but DRINK THAT WATER! Here’s some info from the Mayo Clinic on water intake (article here):
– 8 glasses of 8 ounces of fluid is good
– keep in mind that fruits and veggies give you hydration
– aim for pale yellow urine (I know it sounds gross, but pay attention)
2. Watch your posture.
Mind those curves of yours, and make sure that things are properly aligned from time to time to alleviate and/or prevent any strain you might be inflicting on yourself! I have a tendency to slump a lot and relax my back too much which causes lower back strain for myself–sit upright. Like this guy:
Have your back straight and pull your shoulders back occasionally just to reset yourself. The Cleveland Clinic has some helpful tips and how you can train yourself better! Spine.org also has some great tips for how to maintain your posture while standing, driving, picking up kids, and doing various tasks throughout the day, and is definitely worth a look.
3. Take breaks.
Take breaks! And not just for sipping your drink, though that can help your hands. Get up, do some stretches, and walk around. Get the blood flowing to break it up. Different sources say to get up once an hour. I know we all love the crafting marathons, but they’re not doing us any good health-wise, even if we do feel good about completing things faster. Stretch your legs a bit, stretch your neck, and stretch your hands!
4. Stretch your hands.
Your hands are your livelihood and your hobby, keep them safe and healthy! WebMD has a helpful slideshow about the different kinds of stretches that you can do for your hands, which you can find here. Take frequent breaks, stretch your hands, and maintain proper hand posture to help keep carpal tunnel syndrome at bay. Though there are no “fool-proof” methods for preventing Carpal Tunnel, it helps to stretch.
Use appropriate tools. Why are ergonomic hooks so popular? Because they help people get the right hand shape they need so that it doesn’t hurt to craft. When I first started out with crochet, I wasn’t using ergonomic hooks and was wrecking my hands. I couldn’t craft for very long because my hand would start to cramp up. There is a history of arthritis in my family, so I’d like to stave that off for as long as possible and take care of my hands. Since I started using the ergonomic hooks, I haven’t had the cramping! Yay!
You also might need to keep your hands warm. When my hand was hurting, I bought myself a crafting glove over at Michaels and it was very helpful. Whether it was because it acted as a gentle pressure on the hand muscles or the warmth it gave my hand, I found the crafting glove to be really nice. And, while I haven’t needed to use it, I do keep it handy just in case I might need it during the wintertime.
It’s like my dad always says, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
5. Get sleep.
Again, those crafting marathons are fun, but get sleep. Get your proper rest so you can tackle your projects more appropriately. I have spent so many nights just aimlessly hopping from one project to the next or scrolling patterns online. At times, this is fun, but remember to get sleep!
I hope you found these tips helpful! I know that it’s hard to keep track of time and pay attention to how long you’ve been working on any given project, but it is SO important that you take care of yourself while doing so! You love crafting, so you want to be able to be healthy enough to continue to do so comfortably! What kinds of tips and tricks do you use to keep at the top of your health game? Are there certain stretches that you like doing best? I’d love to hear how your practice safe crafting, so hit me up in the comments here, or Instagram, or on Facebook.
Until next time,
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