With coronavirus spreading throughout the world, most of us are at home social distancing and self-isolating.
We usually all have the best intentions when it comes to taking up a new hobby like gardening, crocheting or growing our own fresh greens, learning a new skill like sketching or baking or developing our knowledge of history, languages or literature.
But life and to-do lists tend to get in the way.
So with so much extra time on our hands at the moment amid self-isolation, either for those who are unable to work or those who are saving time on a long commute, it’s the perfect time delve into learning those skills and hobbies.
And with so much stress and anxiety around at the moment, there’s one hobby in particular that is proving popular for its positive effects on mental health.
Taking up knitting has become common in light of self-isolation for its ability to calm the mind and relax the body.
A 2018 report revealed that the hobby has both physical and mental health benefits, and is even able to help towards combatting depression.
‘There is an enormous amount of research showing that knitting has physical and mental health benefits, that it slows the onset of dementia, combats depression and distracts from chronic pain,’ revealed the report.
‘It is an activity that can be continued into extreme old age. It is a sociable activity that helps overcome isolation and loneliness, too often a feature of old age.
‘It is a skill that can continue when sight and strength are diminished’.
Previous research by Harvard Medical School’s Mind and Body Institute also found that knitting encourages the body’s natural relaxation response and lowers the heart rate by an average of 11 beats per minute, meaning that it could even help with lowering blood pressure.
Want to try out the calming hobby for yourself? Here are our favourite beginner’s sets to try…
Beginner’s knitting sets
Calm Club Knit Your Own
Knit yourself a cosy lavender blanket with this easy set that comes with seven balls of yarn and a set of knitting needles.
And the packaging is recyclable too!
Scarf And Snood Knitting Kit
The sun might be out but the temperature is still chilly!
With a choice of 25 colours this set comes with enough wool to make either two scarves or a scarf with snood.
Give a Knit Bertie Bear Crochet Kit
The perfect cuddly companion for you to get ready to give your child or grandchild once we’re all allowed out again!
Suitable for beginners and intermediates, all proceeds go to children’s charity HIHFAD – and you can even send back your completed Bertie Bear to be donated too!
We Are Knitters Kilim Blanket
Knit your own chic monochrome blanket with this beginner’s set.
Complete with wool and a choice of knitting needles, this kit will leave you with a cosy blanket that looks so professional it could even used as a scarf.
And if you need help with your knit, the brand is now doing virtual knitting tutorials on their Instagram page!
We can't wait to start on a few of these!
Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.
Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).
But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.
When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).
The best pillows for back pain offer comfort and support while you snooze
Reduce pain and discomfort with one of the best pillows for back pain
By Ciara McGinley •
New Great British Sewing Bee host replacing Joe Lycett confirmed
Joe started as the Great British Sewing Bee host from 2019
By Caitlin Elliott •
Best Kindles to buy in 2021—which Amazon device is right for you and your reading preferences?
Our best Kindles round-up examines all the features of each device on the market, as well as their prices, to help you make the right decision
By David Nield •
The best sewing machines for every budget—including top models from Bernina, Singer, and Janome
Find the best sewing machine to suit your sewing skill level with our expert guide
By Esme Clemo •
How to reset your Kindle—3 simple solutions and what to do if it doesn't work
Here's how to reset a Kindle, because sometimes even the best ones fall victim to the dreaded curse of freezing.
By Isabelle Broom •
The best eReaders to buy—from Kindles to Kobo devices
With our expert guide to the best eReaders, we uncover the right eReader for every book fan and budget
By Isabelle Broom •
Best sewing machines for beginners: 5 machines to get you started with the hobby
Our round-up of the best sewing machines for beginners has something to suit every budget
By Esme Clemo •
How to make a cushion cover in less than 30 minutes
Learn how to make a cushion cover in just 4 simple steps
By Esme Clemo •
Hobbies for women that will spark creativity and help you discover a new passion
Try one of these exciting hobbies for women and reap the benefits for both body and mind
By Lauren Hughes •
Brother Innov-is A60 Special Edition sewing machine review
In our Brother Innov-is A60 Special Edition sewing machine review, we discover a machine that truly ticks all the boxes
By Esme Clemo •