As people have been stuck at home and encouraged to socially distance themselves from others, there has been a lot more “free time” than we’re normally used to. Even for those still working, evenings and weekends are no longer spent out with friends, going on trips or spending their day running errands. As people have more free time, the creativity and craftsmanship within us all begin to show itself.
What is DIY?
DIY is an abbreviation for Do-It-Yourself. DIY apparently became more popular in the 1970s through both the “flipping” of homes and the home-made culture that surrounded the environmental mindset of the 70s.
While actual DIY has been around for centuries, modern DIY tasks are often taken on as a way to save money and mitigate costs. I just moved into a new house myself and am taking the DIY approach to a new deck – not only will it help save some cash but it gives me something to do as the weather starts getting nice.
Many people still lean on the DIY mindset for home renovations and improvement.
What Makes DIY Projects So Popular During Isolation?
There are a few different theories as to why DIY – or Do It Yourself – projects have been trending in the past few months. The two main drivers for rising DIY projects are:
1. People have more “free” time to spend completing projects since they are encouraged to stay home while stores are closed, and
2. Completing projects helps to provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment while practising social isolation.
The second point is true on a few different levels. While an individual may feel a sense of accomplishment upon completing a project there are also actual psychological benefits to do-it-yourself tasks that can be really helpful while dealing with this global pandemic.
The Rise of Anxiety and Stress During COVID-19
It’s not a surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it stress, fear, frustration and anxiety. Not only are people missing their friends and family but the “normal” we all have been living in for decades has been flipped upside down.
Mental health and self-care have been important topics since the outbreak started. DIY projects and crafting can actually help to reduce stress levels, improve anxiety and mood as well as build the feeling of connection between yourself and the world around you. It’s of little surprise that many people are turning to some form of creativity while waiting out the global pandemic.
Popular Forms of Projects During COVID-19
There is a wide variety of projects that are being taken on during the pandemic. These include anything from baking and painting to cutting your hair and renovating your home.
Home renovations, in particular, have become more popular with more than double the amount of mentions of home renovation projects on social media in the past few months than normal.
It’s not always about big projects, either. It’s amazing what a little bit of paint and care can do to freshen up a space.
Image borrowed from Decorisme.
Practise Safety During DIY
Safety is number one in construction for a reason. When moving heavy materials, working with tools and potentially messing with the structural makeup of a building, one wrong move can cause big problems. Home projects may not need heavy equipment or large machines but that doesn’t mean they’re 100% safe.
For those starting any DIY projects at home – big or small – take the time to work safely and to do things properly. These include…
Wearing the proper PPE
Eye protection, masks, work boots and ear protection should still be worn by DIY-ers.
Only using machines you know how to use
Pulling out a circular saw or nail gun may seem like a lot of fun – and it can be. But using power tools when you don’t know how can be dangerous. Always follow safety instructions and never use a tool if you don’t feel safe.
Reading the labels of any products you aren’t familiar with
Any paints, glues, solvents, stains or other materials used for a project should be reviewed for hazards. Look for WHMIS symbols and take proper precautions as necessary.
Planning your project first
All projects should be properly planned and researched before being started – no matter how big or small it may be. Larger projects may need permits. Small projects may require tools or materials. Gather everything together and – as they say – get your ducks in a row before starting. Not only does this make projects safer but it also makes them more fun since you can just keep going once you start. Also, it can stop you from cutting corners or speeding through the process.
Embrace the DIY During COVID
Do It Yourself projects are not only good for stress levels and for learning a new skill, but are helpful to fill the days while having a little fun. With so much out of our control right now, building something with your own two hands can feel incredibly satisfying.
So embrace the DIY! Try something new! Build a birdhouse or paint your living room. Replace some lights or try some crafts. No matter how large or small, the ability to build something, to forget about the stress of the year 2020 and to get your hands dirty is a privilege and can be done for the pure enjoyment of it – whether you’re in the construction industry or not.
Have you been taking on any new projects during social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic? Comment below and let us know!