5 crafts that saved my brain last year

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Moving in and starting a new semester can be incredibly stressful. Sometimes I feel like I have a million things to do, other times I feel like I’m completely lost – I don’t know what to do next and I’m stressed about practically everything.

Settling into a routine is helpful, but I also find doing crafts a good way to calm myself down and let my brain process the day. Sometimes I need a little space to exist and adapt to a new context. If you ever feel the same way, here are some options that have helped me feel that way over the past year – and have added fun to my life too!

Cross stitch

In cross stitch, I like the simplicity of following a pattern. You just count on sewing interesting shapes, and it’s very easy to find a little joy in the newness of switching to a new color or finishing a section. Plus, sometimes you just want to feel like an 18th century lady adding some beauty to her life and dreaming all day. Or maybe stab the fabric to avoid stabbing her husband. Who knows.

Original photo by Sapphire Smith

It’s a really good thing to try if you want to make something that has a more practical use, and it gives me something to look forward to in the winter. There’s nothing cozier than tea, your favorite murder podcast, and knitting a warm scarf or blanket to ward off the cold. Plus, there are tons of beginner patterns and tutorials online to get you started!


I like this option because it’s easier to move than the others and because it gives me that nostalgic childhood feeling. Coloring takes me back to simpler times, before I had to do taxes and figure out what a thesis was. There are tons of intricate patterns to choose from on the internet, and if you don’t have access to supplies, you can also try a coloring app on your phone or laptop.

Diamond Painting

It’s an option I just learned about a year ago, so I like it mostly because it’s new to me. It’s like paint-by-numbers, except instead of painting, you use small gemstones to create a mosaic. Like cross stitch, this craft can appeal to the historical lady’s instinct to collect as much jewelry as possible in case her husband dies and she needs something to sell. Or a dragon presiding over his treasure. You decide.

diamond painting mosaic crafts
Original photo by Sapphire Smith
Brain teaser

Doing puzzles literally saved my brain during exam season last year, and I like this option because it can also be a group activity. When your head is jammed with study information and you can barely see clearly, concentrating on a puzzle for a few hours with friends is a great way to give your weary mind some breathing room and to rest.

Moving in is busy and stressful, and sometimes you feel like there’s so much going on that you can’t handle it all. Hopefully some of these suggestions can give you the chance to slow down, let your mind breathe deeply, and feel ready for the next step.

About Tracy G. Larimore

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