Tuesday, 7 May 2019

How DIY has improved my mental health

How DIY and working on interior projects help boost my wellbeing and help me with my mental health. I've struggled with depression and anxiety for years, however have found a love for DIY, upcycling and crafting and have seen an improvement in my mental health. Tips on how DIY can boost your wellbeing.

I thought I'd share something a little different today - how I feel that interior design and in particular DIY and crafting, has become absolutely vital to my day-to-day well being. 

It's no secret that this blog was born out of a need for a creative outlet, something to distract me from everyday life and a pick-me-up on difficult days. I've written before about why I started this blog, and what it meant to me, but back in September 2015 when I first put fingers to keyboard, I never dreamt in a million years what my little corner of the internet, and in particular the DIY projects I’ve shared here, would come to mean to me. Since I was a teenager I've suffered ups and downs with depression and anxiety. Traditionally, when I got myself into a 'black hole' it would be very difficult to get out. More and more things would start to 'go wrong', and I'd just want to climb into bed, write off the day and start again. Mr Dove Cottage works most weekends, and my family live nearly 100 miles away, so you can see where this is going. 2014 Sam would spend her Saturday afternoons plonked on the sofa in front of a film, eating crap, feeling crap and hiding away. 

Enter upcycling. 

Shortly after moving into our home I was given (aka stole from my mum and dad's garage) an old table and chairs. It wasn't really to my taste but we couldn’t afford a new one, so I decided to try something I’d seen on the internet and ventured out in search of some chalk paint. My first upcycling project was born and I was instantly hooked. The satisfaction of knowing I'd transformed something for the cost of a tin of paint instead of spending hundreds on something new was incredible. Nothing I owned was now safe! I became obsessed with planning new projects, and researching how I could make things instead of buying new. Weekends were no longer for tortilla chips and Sky Movies, I had furniture to transform! My new-found love was fast-becoming more than a little side hobby - it was the biggest pick-me-up ever.    


How DIY and working on interior projects help boost my wellbeing and help me with my mental health. I've struggled with depression and anxiety for years, however have found a love for DIY, upcycling and crafting and have seen an improvement in my mental health. Tips on how DIY can boost your wellbeing.


I've since taken a paintbrush to most things I own, hacked cheap things into expensive-looking things, and re-designed nearly every room in my home (with one exception - get ready en-suite, you're next!) Watching an idea come together that previously existed only in your mind or in a sketch on the back of an envelope, all whilst only spending a few pounds, is the most satisfying feeling ever. I feel like I can do anything with a paintbrush in my hand, there's no limitations. I panelled the downstairs bathroom on my own for goodness sake, surely I can do anything now?! 

I get irrationally excited planning a new project, making lists and researching items; once I get going my mind is taken away from the 'black hole' and projected into a lighter, brighter, paint-filled one. I've constantly got two or three projects on the go, and there's a reason for that. If I sit down and do nothing old thoughts start to creep in. And perhaps that's a really unhealthy way to live, but it works for me. With a toddler and a full-time job, I've no idea how to sit still anyway. 

Ultimately, having a 'project' to concentrate on acts as a distraction, and gives me another focus. Unfortunately 2019 Sam has more to deal with than she ever did five years ago - maybe I'll share more on this one day - but that’s OK because my paintbrush is still there to step in when things get hard. 


How DIY and working on interior projects help boost my wellbeing and help me with my mental health. I've struggled with depression and anxiety for years, however have found a love for DIY, upcycling and crafting and have seen an improvement in my mental health. Tips on how DIY can boost your wellbeing.

My top mental health-boosting tips 

1. Learn a new skill - Because nobody has ever learnt how to use a drill and not come away smiling...

2. Give yourself some screen-free time with a crafting project - You can't check your social media while elbow deep in embroidery thread now can you?!

3. Talk - So many people suffer the same, so share what you're feeling, even if its with people on the internet. Connecting with others is so important and can make all the difference.

Is depression or anxiety something you've experienced? How do you deal with it?

Thanks for reading,
Sam xx
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