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6 Unexpected Benefits of Knitting

6 Unexpected Benefits of Knitting

Learning how to knit might not be at the top of your fall to-do list, but it should be. Not just for your grandmother anymore, knitting has a wide variety of benefits beyond having something comfy to wear/snuggle/give away at the end of the process.

Plus, you don’t have to use that scratchy wool yarn. There are plenty of really soft brands of yarn that you can use.

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1. It gives you a sense of pride

knitting1
    Tony & Wayne

    Not a lot of people know how to knit. Showing off something you’ve knitted to someone who has no idea how you managed it is like showing off some sort of new magic trick. They’re going to be in awe of your newly acquired witchcraft and you’ll receive a ton of compliments (plus requests for scarves, but you can handle that however you want).

    2. It has the same benefits of meditation

    knitting2
      Eliza

      Once you figure out what you’re doing, knitting can be very relaxing. Simple knitting projects are usually the same few stitches over and over, so you can zone out and use your muscle memory to get the job done. The rhythmic, repetitive motion and relaxation has the same benefits to your mind and body as a meditation session, except you get a blanket at the end.

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      3. It alleviates symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression

      knitting3
        RedLipstick

        The rhythmic motions and sense of focus can help distract from symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Sitting still to knit reduces your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure after a few minutes, so reaching for those knitting needles when you start to feel anxiety build or depression seeping in can help keep those symptoms at bay.

        4. It helps improve motor functions

        knitting
          eef Ink

          Because knitting stimulates almost the whole brain at once—”the frontal lobe (which guides rewards processing, attention and planning), the parietal lobe (which handles sensory information and spatial navigation), the occipital lobe (which processes visual information), the temporal lobe (which is involved in storing memories and interpreting language and meaning) and the cerebellum (which coordinates precision and timing of movement)”—it can be used to help people with diseases like Parkinson’s improve their motor functions. It both helps improve their fine motor skills and distracts from other painful symptoms.

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          5. It slows cognitive decline

          knitting5
            poppy

            While it’s helping improve your motor function and mood, knitting is also stimulating your brain to keep it healthy. The more you use your brain, the healthier it becomes, and the longer it lasts. According to the Mayo Clinic, seniors who engage in crafts (including knitting) are about 30-50% less likely to have a “mild cognitive impairment” than those who don’t.

            6. It helps prevent arthritis and tendinitis

            knitting6
              Madelinetosh

              Just like you have to use your brain to keep it healthy, you have to use your joints to keep them healthy as well. According to Dr. Barron, gently using your fingers builds up their cartilage, making it stronger, instead of wearing it down. Knitting is better for this than typing, which doesn’t put quite enough strain on your fingers, but it isn’t so strenuous that you’ll have other problems down the road. Already have arthritis? Dr. Barron recommends soaking your hands in some warm water and using larger needles to create your masterpieces.

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              Now that you know all about the health benefits of knitting, head over to your local craft store to pick up some supplies. Some of them have free or cheap classes for beginners, so ask around! If you can’t find classes, the great resource that taught me how to knit was tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest. Trust me—once you get the hang of knitting, you won’t want to stop.

              Featured photo credit: apicturebookmind via flic.kr

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              Kathryn Harper

              Media Relations Manager

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              Last Updated on September 28, 2020

              The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

              The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

              At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

              Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

              One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

              When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

              So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

              Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

              This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

              Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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              When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

              Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

              One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

              Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

              An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

              When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

              Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

              Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

              We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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              By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

              Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

              While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

              I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

              You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

              Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

              When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

              Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

              Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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              Con #2: Less Human Interaction

              One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

              Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

              Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

              This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

              While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

              Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

              Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

              This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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              For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

              Con #4: Unique Distractions

              Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

              For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

              To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

              Final Thoughts

              Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

              We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

              More About Working From Home

              Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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