”Connecting with tools to create things offers us a compensation that no electronics can bring... Seeing the results of our labor creates something that feels solid in a world of impermanence.”
— Master woodworker Gary Rogowski
(Author of Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction)
While researching our recent whitepaper, How Home Improvement Brands Can Connect with the New Generation of COVID-Compelled DIYers, we were surprised things got so deep so fast. Sure, there were practical reasons they took on new projects, but many of them quickly realized that there were deeper rewards to their hands-on endeavors.
Creativity and working with one’s hands have long been known to reduce anxiety, boost self-esteem, calm mood disturbances, and boost a person’s overall feeling of life quality, as backed by numerous studies including one from early 2020 by BMC Public Health.
During the pandemic, a period marked by anxiety and uncertainty, the mental health benefits of DIY could not have come at a better time. One cause of the mental health boost is that the problem-solving and focus required during a DIY project encourages a state of mental flow—a state shown to increase happiness, and boost emotional regulation, creativity, and internal motivation and reward.
Speaking with these COVID-compelled DIYers, we found that they derived a number of these much-needed benefits from diving deep into their projects:
DIY Gave them Purpose
“Our screen time went through the roof. We tried to figure out a good balance of doing other things outside of that to be productive... Being home 24/7 gave us that push to work on the house.”
— Female, Age 36
DIY Brought Them Calm
“For me, it’s more that I want to do something that I’m pleased with and can walk into and be calm and happy. It doesn’t necessarily [need to] be perfect.“
— Male, Age 42
DIY Gave Them Confidence
“The pandemic brought out some real hidden talent in me, and now if there’s anything I think I could do myself, I would not pay someone to do it.”
— Male, Age 29
DIY Brought Them Together
“We were full of Hallmark moments. There was definitely blood, sweat and tears. It’s the project that has taken the most out of us, but given us the most reward. There were funny times. There were adventures."
— Female, Age 43
DIY Built Memories
“Seeing [the final product] makes me feel great as a mom because it alway reminds me of how we did this together. There’s a part of us in it.”
— Female, Age 43
The Takeaway for DIY Brands
To make the most of the goodwill for DIY that these folks have developed over the past nineteen months, home improvement brands should remind folks of their DIY high points. These new DIYers will now look back on their projects—and by association, the products they used—as bright spots in a dark era, so use messaging and marketing that plays on this sense of near-term nostalgia.
For more insights and brand takeaways from our research, read and download our whitepaper "How Home Improvement Brands Can Connect with the New Generation of COVID-Compelled DIYers" here.