If you absolutely love your arts and crafts, then you’ll probably know what it feels like to experience pain, aches or even strains when indulging for a bit too long. Much like anything in life, overdoing it can become dangerous and it’s up to you to make sure that you’re being sensible with your arts and crafts.
The last thing you want is to hurt or injure yourself, so we’ve put together a few ways to help you deal with hobby-related pains, aches and strains. No matter what arts and crafts you get up to, we highly suggest you follow some of the tips in this post to ensure you can keep doing what you love for longer.
Take it slow, especially when you’re dealing with potentially harmful items
When you watch videos of people sewing quickly, you might want to follow their movements so that you can speed up your crafts and make larger things more easily. However, sewing does involve a sharp needle and it’s important to realize that you can hurt yourself if you’re not careful. It’s generally nothing too painful and you’ll heal, but getting blood all over your creation isn’t exactly a nice thing.
There are also some arts and crafts that involve knives, scissors, paints or adhesives that may cause problems. You might experience skin irritation with certain substances, and some paints may cause you to feel lightheaded. There are lots of different health risks associated with certain common arts and crafts supplies, so make absolutely sure that you take it easy and don’t rush ahead. If you ever feel lightheaded or if you accidentally injure yourself, take a moment to relax and deal with the issue first before continuing.
When it comes to something like sewing fast, it’s important to recognize that it’s not hand-eye coordination that makes you fast. Instead, it’s actually muscle memory that will improve the speed at which you sew. Trying to go fast to finish a project quickly will only increase your chances of hurting yourself with a needle. Go slow, build up that muscle memory and then focus on going faster.
If you’re feeling eye strain, make sure you wear proper eyewear and focus on lighting
When you’re working with very small items, it can be a good idea to wear proper eyewear so that you don’t strain your eyes or your neck. You can consider getting a high-quality pair of glasses like these from an online store, or you could even go for an eye examination to get yourself a pair of contacts or glasses. The goal is to try a few different things until you find something that works best for you.
If you’re working with extremely small items, then we’d suggest investing in a pair of magnifying eyeglasses on top of your glasses. These glasses look like a small pair of binoculars and can either attach to your frames or be worn like glasses if you don’t wear them. These can help you zoom your vision into specific areas of your arts and crafts which can be helpful for things like adjusting jewellery on a design or making precise cuts in a fabric.
In addition to eyewear, you should also ensure that the area you’re working in is well-lit. This will help ensure that everything is lit up and that you’re not squinting your eyes or straining them to see things. Small objects can be quite difficult to work with, especially when your lighting conditions are bad. As such, we suggest getting yourself a lamp that is used solely for arts and crafts purposes. If you have a work area, an adjustable lamp that covers the top of it is perfect for most types of arts and crafts. You can lower it if you’re focused on details, then you can raise it when you don’t need to highlight certain areas. If you’re doing arts and crafts in the day, then we’d suggest placing your work area near a window to get the most natural light possible.
Have a dedicated workspace to carry out your arts and crafts
While it’s perfectly acceptable to do your arts and crafts on a dining table or your computer desk, we highly recommend that you get yourself a desk or work table that is adjustable. Not only does this make cleaning up easier after certain projects like rice craft, but it also means you can adjust your work surface so that you don’t strain your neck. A lot of people find themselves bending over their table just to look at the thing they’re working on. This not only hurts your neck after a while but can even harm your posture if you’re not careful.
In addition to an adjustable table, you’ll want to have a comfortable chair with plenty of support. A lumbar cushion is a great way to support your back when you’re sitting at your desk. However, a few pillows can also do the job. People like to sit on their chair differently depending on the type of craft they’re doing. As such, it’s important to focus on how you prefer to sit and support yourself to maintain a good posture.
A dedicated workspace also makes it much easier to keep your crafts organized. This won’t directly help with hobby-related pains, aches and strains, but it can make your hobby a lot easier to manage. We suggest getting a couple of storage boxes and organizers to help keep things clean and tidy on your desk. Having plenty of drawers to store materials is also recommended if you have space for it.
Avoiding the risk of developing a repetitive strain injury
Anyone that indulges in arts and crafts has a chance of developing a repetitive straight injury (RSI). Artists can commonly get it because they work with pens, pencils and brushes for a long period of time. People that sculpt and knit can also get RSI because they’re using very repetitive motions to create their work. So how exactly can you deal with RSI? Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Take frequent breaks. We all love to get stuck into our work, but it’s important to take a break now and then to give our hands a chance to rest. If you start feeling any numbness or tingling, stop immediately and let your hands rest or else you’ll make the situation worse.
- Practice some hand exercises and stretches to combat RSI. you should try to do these before and after you start working so that you get the best effect from it. Finger stretches are a great way to combat strain on your individual things, and wrist exercises are great if you use a lot of repetitive wrist motions. It all depends on what kind of arts and crafts you get up to, but we suggest doing whole-hand exercises to help protect your hands.
- Work on your posture. Make sure you sit correctly and have your arms at a comfortable angle to the desk. This will help you relax your muscles as you work and ensures that you don’t develop strains or aches on other parts of your body. Changing the angle of your working surface can also help if you’re painting or drawing.
- Focus on how you hold your tools. Grasping it too firmly can cause strain, but you also shouldn’t be too loose or else you won’t have control over the tool. In some cases, it’s difficult to avoid tensing up, especially if it’s extremely detailed work that you’re focusing on. In these cases, your best option is to just take regular breaks.
It’s vital that you protect your hands to avoid developing a repetitive strain injury. If you don’t pay attention to how you’re using your tools and neglect this, then you could develop a condition in the future that makes it difficult or even painful to carry out your favourite arts and crafts. This could potentially end your hobby as you know it, and nobody wants to suffer that kind of fate. Don’t take this lightly–make sure you protect your muscles, joints and hands by taking any sign of numbness, tingling or pain with seriousness.
Enjoy your arts and crafts, but don’t get too absorbed
People indulge in arts and crafts for a number of different reasons, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t get too absorbed into your work. There are times where you might not even realize that your hand or back is hurting because you’re deep in concentration. While this is admirable, it’s important that you don’t neglect the fact that you could be straining your body and eyes.
If you don’t pay attention to the early signs of something like repetitive strain injury, then it could lead to a long-term injury that takes a long time to recover from. Make sure you deal with hobby-related pains properly and it’ll ensure that you can enjoy arts and crafts with minimal problems.