It has been discovered that reading and listening to books develop the exact same areas of the brain (sorry not sorry for those who keep saying that audiobooks shouldn’t count as reading).
Crafts have been known for relaxing certain parts of the brain, in a therapeutic way. They can help with anxiety, depression, or chronic pain, and they can even slow down the brain’s aging process.
So why not combine audiobooks and crafting? And why not pick up a craft in order to listen to more audiobooks?
It is understandable that many people would prefer to devote themselves to one activity at a time as much as possible; mindfulness, which has become increasingly popular in our current hectic lives, is the most important reason behind that choice, but what if there are benefits to be found in practising arts, a craft, or a simple hobby, and listening, all at the same time? What if we picked up a craft in order to be able to read more books every year? To finally get through that classic we always wanted to get to, or to keep our TBR under control?
The first time I listened to an audiobook I did it because I wanted to start running, but running is, by far, the sport I dislike the most. I find that the word hate comes off a bit strong, but I also know it is the best word to define how much my dislike for running runs – pun intended – deep. Yet, I felt the need to be more active, and audiobooks got me through it. I didn’t gain a habit of running, but I gained a pure love for audiobooks. Before this, I found audiobooks difficult to follow because all I did was sit and listen. A few minutes after pressing play my mind was travelling somewhere, and I had stopped paying attention to what I was hearing. When I started running and played an audiobook for the first time, however, I understood that I wasn’t doing this audiobook thing right: audiobooks were great, but I needed to be active to listen to them.
A few friends started listening to audiobooks because I raved so much about them, because I shared tips on how to get into the habit, and it brought me immense joy to learn that someone had found some sort of refuge in something that I cherish so much.
One of those friends creates dolls and ornaments made of felt, and with two young kids in the house, she manages to put in some more reading while working in orders for her shop. The other enjoys painting and went as far as revealing that reading was hard for her because it made her sleepy, so she couldn’t read for long stretches of time. Now that she has a chance of listening to audiobooks while creating her art, she was able to find the joy of reading all over again. Both friends are thankful for the extra reads they can put in while practising their work and craft.
In my previous job as a cleaning lady, I managed to put in a few audiobooks every week. But then I moved to another country and got a different job, and although I still find the time to listen to audiobooks on my commute to work, or while doing chores around the house, my listening hours have reduced drastically. Since I find myself unable to read nonfiction in print, this became a bit of an issue: I wanted to learn more, to read educational books and memoirs, but my TBR kept piling up on the app and it was taking me weeks to listen to only one book. I needed to stop approaching audiobooks merely as something I did while doing something else, and I had to start finding something else to do while listening to audiobooks.
Enter crafts. I embroider more, I started sewing again, and I even bought a watercolour set because, even though I am terrible at drawing, all these crafts allow me to sit down and use my hands, enabling my ears and my brain to focus on the story I am being told (all this without commitment: I don’t need to be good, I just need to be busy and creating).
Nowadays, instead of listening to audiobooks when I have chores, I make time to listen to audiobooks, and I accompany them with crafts. I read more, I’m more creative, and I find a good excuse to wind up when my mind has been racing and needs to de-stress.
In a way, crafts and chores started serving audiobooks, the way audiobooks first served crafts and chores. Often, I don’t really need to complete a task, but I need an activity to keep me busy in order to finish an audiobook. So I pick up my craft materials, and I listen away.
Audiobooks About Crafts to Listen to While Crafting
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson
This book is a fictional romance which approaches loss, perseverance, and heritage, where knitting and grief lead people to come together in a difficult situation.
Craftfulness: Mend Yourself by Making Things by Rosemary Davidson
As pointed out in the first paragraph of this article, crafts have the power to heal.
This book focuses on the art of creating things, but also on the self-help side of crafts.
Craft a Life You Love by Amy Tangerine
This book is a memoir, and it will guide you in using your creativity to achieve a fulfilled life.
A life led by passion, but also focused on your goals, so you can find joy in all you do.
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
Those familiar with Cole’s work are in for another sweet story.
This book is a romance, part of the Reluctant Royals series, and it talks about how, by trying to run away from something, we sometimes end up running directly into it.
At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
A book about a love for knitting, for when crafting seems to have gone a little overboard.
Filled with humour, told in the voice of someone who cares mostly about having fun – and knitting as much as she can.