Does being back in the office have you feeling all kinds of ways? While making small talk with colleagues used to be second nature to many of us, post-pandemic back-to-work anxiety is real — we get you. So check out these five calming pocket crafts to help you ease back into things.
1. Crochet away your commute
Instead of scrolling through an inbox of emails to start your day, pull out a hook, unravel some yarn and crochet your way through your morning commute.
Used frequently as a form of therapy, an information paper shows that engaging in crochet or any kind of needlework can relieve stress and anxiety, prevent the deterioration of cognitive abilities and even encourage creativity. In other words, getting to work on a granny square is the perfect way to soothe any pre-work anticipation that might be buzzing in your brain!
You might even come up with some of your best work ideas before you even arrive at the office!
2. Put out the morning fires with felting
Stressful Slack messages firing left, right and centre? Instead of shooting off a reactive reply, take your frustrations out with a needle and felt.
Get your fuzzy-coloured felt and roll it into any shape you like. Then work your needle until the felt becomes a little denser and the shape slowly starts to form. You can even go back to basics and DIY your own squishy stress ball with this satisfying and simple craft.
Who knew repetitively stabbing a needle into a ball of felt could have such calming effects?
3. Fold your way through small talk
Spending lunch with a new colleague or someone you barely know? Skip the small talk and go straight to the fun part by folding origami together. With something to occupy your hands and anxieties, those long awkward pauses in the conversation will feel a little less… well, awkward.
Origami is the perfect pocket craft to help create bonds with colleagues as you learn new folding techniques. Forget paper hats and aeroplanes, nothing will connect you and your new lunch buddy like the challenge of crafting a paper crane! Who knows, with a little perseverance, you may even have a whole flock by the end of break.
4. Calm presentation nerves with clay play
So you’re presenting a proposal in person for the first time in years and have the jitters? Sink your fingers into something soft and ground yourself with a chunk of clay.
Research by PTSD UK claims that pottery has the power to reduce stress and improve wellbeing, making the humble ball of clay the perfect place to channel your nervous energy. Worried about making a mess of your workspace? Not only is this handy craft mess-free, but it’s small enough to fit into your desk draw!
5. Beat the 3pm slump with inspirational Zentangle patterns
A 2019 study theorises that art-making helps us to navigate problems that may arise in the future. So if you’re struggling to tick off tasks on your never-ending to-do list, pick up a pen and paper and draw some tangles to get you back into the zone. You’ll find you have a renewed sense of motivation for your final task of the day!
Disclaimer: You might want to give your boss the heads up before whipping out your needle and crochet hooks in the office. If they question your creative coping methods send them this article as backup.