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My favorite ways to keep my hands busy

One way I feel successful while managing my trichotillomania is by always having something for my hands to do. I've found that if I don't give my hands something to do, they will decide for themselves (not good).


Beading

I have always, always, always, loved to bead. Ever since I can remember, I've had beads. It pulls me into a trance, much like the trance I experience when I pull out my hair but now instead of a new bald spot, I have a new necklace to wear. I also play with my beaded necklaces or bracelets like I would a fidget toy—a subtle way of managing my BFRB in public that won't draw any unwanted attention.


Beads come in all different shapes, sizes, and materials so there are options out there for you. They range in prices, so this new craft doesn't have to break the bank.


Fun fact: I sold my beaded jewelry in college! One of my professors bought a necklace and wore it multiple times during the semester. Is that not the sweetest thing ever?


Here are some of the pieces I sold back then!


Now I sell beaded bracelets to raise money for BFRB foundations! So not only am I using a favorite BFRB management strategy to help me with my hair pulling, I am using it to raise money for the BFRB foundations that have changed my life. So far almost $900 dollars has been donated!


Crocheting

I learned how to crochet a little later in life but was always inspired to do so by my aunt. She would crochet us different blankets and because I loved her I knew that one day I would also crochet. I don't know why that was my logic, but it was.


Once I started crocheting I couldn't stop. Everyone I knew got a blanket. I'm not kidding! And now whenever someone close to me is pregnant, they know to assume that a baby blanket will be made!


What I love about crocheting as a BFRB management strategy is that both hands are constantly in use—one to hold the yarn and the other to hold the crochet hook. I love that you can crochet almost anywhere and everywhere. You can crochet on the couch or bed, in the airport, outside on a bench, or in the car (while you're the passenger, of course). You can crochet while you watch TV or listen to an audiobook or music. The possibilities are endless!


I keep my crochet tools right by the couch so I know that once I reach for my hair a few times, I pick up my hook and yarn and get to work.


Here is the first blanket I ever made (me standing on the table) and some others I've made over the years!


I recently hosted a crochet class where I taught the single crochet stitch. It was so much fun and I can't wait to offer more in the future! Even if you don't have a BFRB, crocheting is a fun craft to learn so keep your eyes peeled for the next one!


Diamond Painting

I learned about diamond painting during the pandemic in 2020. Much like everyone else during that time I was looking for things to do. I had a special focus: I wanted things that would keep my hands busy. My trichotillomania instantly got worse the second our Spring Break turned into an indefinite leave (I was teaching at the time). I pulled my eyelashes completely out for the first time in 10 years!


For those who don't know what a diamond painting is, I will do my best to explain it very simply: it is paint-by-numbers but with a sticky canvas and colored diamonds. It is tedious but I loved it!


Much like crocheting, both hands are constantly in use—one to hold the dish with the diamonds and the other to hold the tool that places the diamonds. You can work on a diamond painting while you watch TV or listen to an audiobook or music. I found them relaxing and ordered a bunch!



Hand Stamping

This is my newest strategy! I have been thinking about dabbling in hand stamping for a while now and I finally pulled the trigger and got everything I needed! I will say, this is the most expensive craft compared to the others I've listed but I am loving it so far.


Hand stamping is when you use a hammer and a metal stamp to make indents into a piece of metal. You can make keychains, dog tags, or jewelry like pendants for necklaces, bracelets, or rings. There are a lot of different things you can make but also a lot of different tools that you will need.


Hand stamping definitely keeps both of your hands busy but the best part for me is the very end because you use steel wool! After you've finished stamping, you put permanent marker in the indents you've made, let that sit for a while, then use steel wool to remove all the excess permanent marker and give the item a satin finish. If you haven't worked with steel wool before, let me tell you, it gets messy. I always wear gloves when I work with it. How could I possibly pull out my hair or eyelashes while wearing gloves? Especially gloves covered in steel wool particles. Ouch!


Here is my messy work area!


Once I got the hang of hand stamping, I decided to sell keychains and a necklace to raise money for BFRB foundations!


I'm sure I'll learn new crafts in the future that I'll use as BFRB management strategies but for now, these are my favorite! Whether you decide to try any yourself, as a BFRB management strategy or not, I hope you find time to create something special!

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