How Creativity And DIY Help My Anxiety

Creativity For Anxiety

Now more than ever, self-care is so important. With restrictions and uncertainty, feelings of anxiety can become overwhelming. I want to share how I have used crafting and up-cycling to calm my mind.

The past few years, I have been using creativity to ease my feelings of anxiety. With most of us stuck at home, it can feel like groundhog day. So, if your anxiety symptoms have increased, and you want to get inspired to try something new, I hope you find this post useful.

Crafting and creativity to calm and ease anxiety

I am an anxious person, I may hide it well, but I am a chronic over-thinker. A born worrier, and sensitive to the world at times. Some people suffer from a bad back, I suffer from being anxious, and I have to be extra kind to myself at times.

Honestly, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t anxious. I had episodes of anxiety as a child/teen and an adult. On the outside, I am calm. When I tell people I suffer from anxiety, they seem quite shocked, but anybody who suffers from anxiety knows how good we are hiding it.

The world is so full of noise and chaos these days that I am surprised more people aren’t suffering from anxiety. From mobile phones, TV, the internet, ads, social media, the list goes on. It is easy to get overwhelmed.

The overwhelming feelings of persistent anxiety

I have had many a panic attack, but a feeling I dread the most is a lingering feeling of anxiety. Panic attacks are horrible, horrendous, and I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy. However, what I tend to suffer with is that constant feeling of dread for no apparent reason. When I feel like that, I have to be extra kind to myself and take steps to ease it.

Creativity for anxiety

The feeling of anxiety is hard to describe. You have to get on with your day to day jobs all the while feeling like someone is chasing you and you want to run. Sweaty palms, thumping heart and a dizzy and foggy head, the list of symptoms are endless. Doing seemingly basic tasks like queuing in a shop or coffee with a friend becomes hard and unbearable.

The first step in easing anxiety is talking about it. The more I talk about suffering from anxiety, the more people open up to me about their anxiety. Whether in the workplace or with friends, I have noticed that by saying “I feel anxious today” my anxiety symptoms ease quicker.

For years I would fight my anxiety symptoms. I would exhaust myself trying not to be anxious. I would wait to feel better. Nowadays, I accept I am feeling anxious or having a bad day. I do things I know help to ease it until it passes. I no longer frantically search google for cures for anxiety or google my symptoms.

The importance of talking about Anxiety

I don’t take medication for anxiety, but there have been times when I was younger, and my anxiety was crippling. The first place you should go for any help is your doctor. I am also a good lover of a self-help book and my favourite book for anxiety was by Claire Weekes. I still have her audiobook on my phone, and I listen to it when I go through a bad patch.

Nowadays, I love that more people are talking about their mental health. I still think we have a long way to go, but I love when I hear people who also feel how I do as I no longer feel alone or odd or crazy.

I love seeing bloggers and celebrities talk about their mental health, especially nowadays in a world full of noise.

Creative therapy for anxiety

DIY For Distraction

I started up-cycling furniture after buying my home a few years ago. After purchasing my home and moving in, I had a period of constant anxiety. Maybe it was the stress of it all, possibly the change, who knows? When I would come home from work feeling frazzled, I would sit on the couch watching TV and end up feeling worse. I didn’t have many hobbies at the time.

I got into DIY by chance, not knowing where to start decorating the house, I went to an interior styling workshop. It was in that class they talked about painting furniture. I

then attended a few painting workshops, and then my passion and creativity spilt out. Instead of coming home from work and watching TV, I came home with random pieces of furniture and pots of paint. I noticed how my anxiety eased when I was using my creativity.

Although I was still struggling with anxiety, I noticed it began to ease. When I was at work, I was excited to get home to finish a project I started. I still had anxious “What if” thoughts, but them moments of getting excited over something I creating slowly replaced them thoughts.

How to paint Ikea furniture correctly

Painting Through Panic

I used to dread Sundays. I would fret about the week ahead and be full of panic. So I started filling my Sundays with projects. Whether it was redecorating, painting a chair or learning to sew, I was occupying my mind. My best pieces of DIY work I have done when having a panic attack.

I am the sort of person that needs to get all my energy out when I feel anxious. Sitting on a couch and resting does not make me feel better. Using my creativity and moving eases the tense feelings of anxiety. 

Focusing on painting a piece of furniture calms down my mind. So, I try and be mindful and focus on each brushstroke. Then I start getting excited about my project and seeing it come together, and then I get the crafter buzz. That buzz you get when you finish a piece, and it looks deadly!

After a few hours of creating, I notice my anxiety ease. Even when my anxiety returns, at least I had them few anxiety-free hours where I was creative.

Over a few months, I noticed my anxiety eased as a result of my creativity. I still had bad days and weeks, but they were becoming less frequent. They also were not lasting as long as when I got engrossed in a project the anxiety eased quicker.

I had replaced fighting my anxiety by accepting it and distracting myself, and it was working. I would be accepting of the feelings of anxiety. So, I and would do something creative with my time until it passed.

How to turn scaffold boards into an office desk

Listen to your body and your intuition

Symptoms of anxiety can leave you feeling exhausted, mentally and physically. So, If you are feeling exhausted, maybe try a different craft that is less physical. Or, take a rest, if there is one thing 2020 thought me, it was to take a rest. Getting crafty can compliment talking therapy, mediation and other mindfulness practices.

So, the next time you’re feeling anxious maybe try picking up a paintbrush? Sewing also helps, and I know some ladies who love a good cross stitch session to ease anxious feelings.

What helps your anxiety? Have you used your creativity for easing your anxiety? I hope this post helps in some way. Don’t be afraid to talk to people you trust if you are not feeling yourself. As the saying is ” is okay, not be okay”. Thank you for reading, Chat soon, Catherine.



  1. Claire Bowden
    June 1, 2017 / 8:20 pm

    Lovely from the heart 😊

  2. kelly haworth
    June 1, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    Sounds very familiar miss Dainty, DIY is definitely good therapy…anxiety is so crippling, go girl for sharing what a lot of people are embarrassed to talk aboutSending loveKelly H

  3. QQ's view
    June 1, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing…anxiety is and can be so overwhelming…enjoying your IG…take good care of you 🦋✨💜💫

  4. Catherine Carton
    June 1, 2017 / 9:59 pm

    Thank you so much for reading Claire xxx

  5. Catherine Carton
    June 1, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    Agh thanks for reading Kelly x I hope that the more we talk about it the less of a stigma it will be x

  6. Catherine Carton
    June 1, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    Thank you so much for reading x It can get so overwhelming and frustrating at times but taking little steps has helped me ease it xx

  7. Lyn's Sussex Life
    June 2, 2017 / 4:46 am

    Thank you for sharing your life with us Catherine.xx

  8. Karen Constantine
    June 2, 2017 / 8:55 am

    What a fantastic post bridie – it just goes to show that even the littlest things can help when we're feeling anxious xxx

  9. Poppy
    June 4, 2017 / 12:43 pm

    First, thanks Catherine for sharing. Not always easy to share. Indeed, mental health is a slippery topic as people often jump to conclusions (ie straight jacket). I had my first anxiety attack in twenty years a fourthnight ago. Argh, horrible! I thought about gardening to calm it down but since it's been raining alot, maybe knitting for rainy days…

  10. Valerie Nijssen
    June 14, 2017 / 10:47 am

    Thank you for sharing! You are a wonderful person and you give so much joy to all of us! X

  11. Lisa
    August 2, 2017 / 6:45 pm

    Oh My Goodness! You are a kindred spirit. (To quote one of my favorite authors ) I was a nervous anxious child who had the disadvantage of a Type A personality to boot. I was termed neurotic at times. Adulthood/parenting added it's own upheavels. On a visit to my hometown,my aunt handed me a paint brush in a class she was teaching one evening. I have not stopped painting since. I have gone on to teach classes, in painting, sewing, writing, and gardening. As well as to host more than just a few tea parties. Which on this side of the pond I consider a dying art. Well done you for accomplishing all you are doing and have done. I love your video's, your blog site and your most wonderful calming voice. Listening to you is like sitting down with an old friend to catch up. You are quite a talented young lady. Blessings on you and all that you put a hand to do.

  12. Catherine Carton
    August 3, 2017 / 9:07 pm

    Aw Lisa, your comment lifted me. Thank you so so much for reading! x

  13. Zarasha1
    August 9, 2017 / 2:12 am

    Hi Catherine, It's really nice of you to share your struggles to show others we are not alone in our struggles in the world. I need sunlight and fresh air everyday or I fall into deep depression . Fasting and praying really helps with depression and anxiety. If you can fast once a week from 6a.m. to 6p.m. you will feel the difference. This helps the body to heal itself physically, emotionally and physically. Anytime I start having the symptoms of depression I know It's time to go on a fast. From 6 to 6 all I take in body is water. Life is very overwhelming and sometimes we have to give our being rest from everything and fasting does just that.Food we eat also affects mood and feelings. Giving ourselves rest from it bring us back to balance.

  14. charmingtales520
    September 22, 2017 / 2:14 am

    I also suffer with this as well as PTSD from an accident that I had back in August 2009. I have it from a rape that happened back in 2003. I am on medication and it really helps me to deal with it I also see a special doctor and most important a support group which helps a lot. I will keep you in my prayers

  15. The Whimsical Wife
    November 30, 2017 / 4:39 am

    I can't believe that's what I've been doing all along when I've felt anxious or on edge. Picking up a paintbrush and having a project on the go has kept me sane this year. Thanks for sharing. I have just stumbled across your blog and youtube channel and I've fallen in love with you and it – in a non creepy way. I will be back to stalk your posts some more. 🙂

  16. sue preston
    August 22, 2018 / 10:57 am

    We have a craft club and we have always said crafting is therapy. Thank you for being so open. Sue

  17. emma langley
    August 22, 2018 / 4:20 pm

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and I anticipated a huge rise in my anxiety levels. We are also renovating a holiday cottage on the isle of wight. Amazingly the process of decorating and renovating has been incredibly therapeutic through my initial processing of my diagnosis. It kept my brain busy and reduced it drifting to the 'what if' and my hands busy so i didnt go to dr google. I am now undergoing treatment and find with each roubd of chemo i either upcycle some furniture or make some soft furnishings so i feel like i have achieved something. Big up from me to DIY 🙂

  18. Catherine Carton
    August 23, 2018 / 11:59 am

    I love the idea of a craft club, a crafting community x

  19. Catherine Carton
    August 23, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    I love this, Wishing you a speedy recovery, Keep up the fab work. Your cottage is going to be fab, a labour of love x

  20. Michelle Whelan
    January 20, 2021 / 10:17 pm

    Hi Catherine,
    Thank you for sharing your story of struggles with anxiety. I too have anxiety. About 11 years ago it hit hard. You are right,unless you’ve gone through it, it hard to comprehend what a demon it is. I am in a much better place now but you must be kind to yourself. Catherine you are such a bright light… Smart, beautiful, funny and talented. I am glad you have an outlet that became your talent. I am 51 and am just getting into painting furniture and craft. Xo

  21. Nancy
    January 21, 2021 / 6:08 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. This year I finally admitted/realized that I needed help. I needed someone to be able to talk to. Someone who wouldn’t judge me, or condemn me, or laugh me off. To keep a long story short, I haven’t found exactly what I wanted but I have found bits of help here and there and I see myself making some positive steps. I really appreciate your sharing, it helps a lot. 💕

  22. daintydressdiaries
    January 21, 2021 / 4:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing and commenting Michelle. I am happy to hear you are in a better place, enjoy the upcycling!

  23. daintydressdiaries
    January 21, 2021 / 4:15 pm

    That is amazing Nancy, talking therapy can be hard to find someone that you gel with, but keep looking and trying new things. I wish you all the best on your healing journey.

  24. Dianne
    January 24, 2021 / 9:06 am

    Thx for sharing. As I read I was thinking ‘I could have written this. This is exactly how I feel’. People are surprised when I mention my anxiety I clearly hide it well. Once I hit menopause 4 years ago it got worse but hrt has helped me. Last year I got right back in to crafting and the hours melt away along with over thinking about all the doom and gloom of covid.

  25. daintydressdiaries
    January 24, 2021 / 9:09 am

    Aw happy to hear your feeling better, covid has been so triggering for anxiety. Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you have a lovely Sunday ❤️

  26. TinaD
    January 26, 2021 / 1:50 am

    Isn’t Claire Weekes good? She has an oddly antiquated way of writing (even for 1962), as though she were a schoolteacher giving you sweet tea & telling you to buck up, there’s ways to deal with a phobia of air raid shelters…

  27. Lori A Ratcliff
    January 27, 2021 / 4:36 am

    Hi Catherine, Thank you so much for sharing your journey with anxiety. I have suffered from anxiety most of my life though I didn’t know what it was till my mid 30s (I’m 60). In recent years I’ve also started suffering from panic attacks and it’s hard to say which is worse. Panic attacks are more intense but anxiety episodes seem to last a lot longer. And I have that same Sunday evening dread!. I’ve always been moderately artsy/crafty and like you I got into a lot of diy when I bought my first house in my mid 20s. I married late in life but I managed to find a wonderful man who knows how to help me with my anxiety—or at least get out of my way when I need to calm down. Unlike you though I have to take medication daily as well as some as-needed medications to help me function. There are certain YouTube channels that I watch regularly that help me relax. Yours is one and The Last Homely House is another. Best wishes to you from Texas!

  28. Lori A Ratcliff
    January 27, 2021 / 4:37 am

    Yes! It’s one of my New Years intentions to spend more time outdoors even if it’s only in my back yard.

  29. daintydressdiaries
    January 27, 2021 / 8:29 am

    Yea, she does have that feel alright, especially when you listen to her audio recordings x

  30. daintydressdiaries
    January 27, 2021 / 8:30 am

    I am happy to hear that Lori and thank you for sharing your experience with me! X

  31. Jo
    January 27, 2021 / 6:37 pm

    Hi Catherine –

    It was interesting to read about your story with anxiety. Anxiety Disorder runs through my family – we’ve been able to trace it back 4 generations so for us there is a genetic component. We’ve all got it in varying degrees and we have all figured out different ways to deal with it, depending on the person. We still have full lives, having made adjustments along the way and learning to live with it over the years. Currently I’m very careful to limit my intake of news and negativity. Hearing the daily pandemic numbers and vaccine concerns is not helpful. Instead I take joy in the little things and focus on the day at hand. Yes, sometimes it definitely feels like “Groundhog Day” but I remind myself each morning that this day is a gift and be glad of it. Thanks so much for all your DIY videos and inspirational chats – they are one of the highlights of my week. Kisses to Blondie and Pepsi!

    Jo (in Portland, Oregon, USA)

  32. Imelda carroll
    January 27, 2021 / 9:26 pm

    Delighted your back from ur break Catherine hope your feeling rested love your videos been following your posts for years but first time to write to you . I’m in my sixtis and because of you i now have the confidence to tackle projects Stay safe sweet girl.☺

  33. daintydressdiaries
    January 28, 2021 / 8:17 am

    Thank you for sharing this Jo, and for reading and commenting.

  34. daintydressdiaries
    January 28, 2021 / 8:17 am

    Thanks for reading Imelda. I am so happy you found your spark to get creative! Have fun with it! X

  35. daintydressdiaries
    February 17, 2021 / 8:04 am

    I am so happy to hear you get inspired! Thank you for your support on my videos and blog x I really appreciate it!

  36. Celine Kilcoyne
    October 5, 2021 / 10:51 pm

    Catherine Thank you for your honesty. When I am anxious I go the The Honest Guy and Divine White Light tthey are both like you they bring light and love and support. Sweetheart mind yourself and you are precious. Love from Co. Leitrim Celine

  37. daintydressdiaries
    October 6, 2021 / 8:31 am

    THank you so much for sharing that Celine x

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