Cross Stitch during 2020: the year of Covid 19. Cross Stitch for Mental Health

2020 cross stitch mental health pandemic

Cross Stitch during 2020: The year of Covid-19

As we say goodbye to 2020: the year of Covid-19, I would like to appreciate how the craft of cross stitching has helped so many people during the year of lockdowns. A study by The Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that the proportion of people reporting moderate to severe depression increased from 9.7% before March 2020 to 19.2% in June 2020. I am presuming that this percentage will have increased even more since June with continued lockdowns, plus these figures do not include the people who are not reporting their symptoms. 

Benefits of Cross Stitch

Now, many people’s first instinct wouldn’t be to start cross stitching when they start to suffer with their mental health. However, there are lots of benefits to cross stitching that we passionate cross stitchers don’t even think about! 

  • Feelings Of Accomplishment - there is no better feeling than when you FINALLY finish your cross stitch! After working on something for so long, the sense of achievement you get whilst looking at your completed hard work is amazing! Thinking about what pattern you’re going to stitch next is also extremely exciting, sometimes too exciting which results in having multiple WIPs (work in progress) at once. 

  • Being In Control - a big feeling with a lot of mental health issues is the feeling that you have lost control. Cross stitch is a huge help with this as you remain in control from the start when you choose the pattern, to the end where you complete a pattern and choose how to finish it, be it in a frame or a hoop and where to display your artwork. You can also change the thread colour of your cross stitch if you want to and you can choose what kind of stitch to use. 
    P.S I will be doing a blog about different cross stitching techniques in 2021. 

  • Stress Release / Meditation - the repetitiveness of placing your stitches in little crosses can be a huge stress release. It helps takes your mind off the pressures of your day, as you really have to concentrate on not missing a stitch.

What People Said

I asked fellow cross stitchers how cross stitch helped them during the 2020 pandemic. Here is what they said:

“I regularly cross stitch to calm a troubled mind. I work supporting students with learning difficulties, and my own son is on the autistic spectrum. Without cross stitching, my mind is constantly full and I will also over eat!” - Mandie,  Stoke-on-Trent, UK

”Cross stitching kept me whilst working from home, with a toddler and pregnant. It was a sense of normality for me” - Eilish, Derby, UK

”I am a frontline NHS Staff Nurse who has worked throughout the pandemic and continues to with two young daughters. When I’ve put my babies to bed I always make sure I find time to cross stitch to unwind my mind after a busy day. It been tough and at times my head hasn’t been able to even get into my cross stitching or read a book. I used to read a book a week pre-Covid I have read 1 all year! So I’ve started cross stitching in bed to help unwind my mind. It helps to totally concentrate on something other than work, cross stitch always has a lovely outcome unlike my working life” - Peggy, Stoke on Trent, UK

“For me it was a little bit of quiet time in the midst of the chaos that was 2020. When I was stitching, I could tune out the news that seemed to get more frightening with each news cycle” - Catherine, Alabama, USA

“I have never cross stitched as much. I actually felt a physical need to cross stitch and my mental health would suffer if I didn't. I also wanted to start multiple projects constantly, something which I had never done before. Did my first Sal too and cried after it officially finished after 12 months this December. I wouldn't have survived without cross stitching. It's my safe place”. - Daniela, Sardinia, Italy

Social Interaction 

Honestly, I can’t tell you how much I love seeing other people’s progress on their work. I have made some lovely international friends on Instagram, we all post our work, watch each other’s progress and get inspiration from each other. 

Join our Facebook Community - post your WIPs, ask for tips and advice and just connect with cross stitch friends.  You can also help me with future blogs in this group!

Finally, if you are struggling please speak to someone whether it be a family member, friend or speak to one of the below:

Samaritans - 116 123 (UK wide)

TalkWithUs - 1-800-273-8255 (USA)

Blog by Heather Wheal (HevHovsStitches)

Instagram - @hevhovs_stitches




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