In an age where “artisanal” and “hand-crafted” have become ubiquitous marketing buzzwords, it feels almost cliché to talk about the value of making things by hand. What does that even mean?

And does an object or product really have more value because human hands made it instead of a machine? Furthermore, even if the making happens by hand, most of the ingredients were likely made in a factory by a machine. At the least, it’s unlikely you made the ingredients by hand.

But I’ve no interest in discussing the benefit that hand-making has for the final product. Rather, I’m interested in the value it has for the creator. Working with your hands works on you, to paraphrase a quote from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (a book that, to be fair, I’ve never read, although it’s on my list).

The value is in the break it gives your eyes, your mind, your soul.

The way it renews you.

So go out and make something with your hands.

  • Draw something.
  • Paint something.
  • Assemble a model.
  • Work on your car.
  • Build a computer.
  • Cook a meal.
  • Write a poem by hand.
  • Journal.
  • Do one of the dozens of other things I’ve forgotten to include.

Just use your hands. Breathe easy. Relax. Smile.