For many of us, September signals the return to our daily routine, which can involve a lot of running around and a fair bit of stress. Perhaps, like me, you struggle with how to keep some of that summer refreshment with you during the school year. We can’t keep the warm weather and sunshine around, but we can take some time at the beginning of the fall to form some new habits and practices that can help insulate us from stress, and remind us that we are beloved of God as human beings, and not “human doings.”
A big part of how I relax and recharge is by quilting and sewing. And I’m not alone; there is well-established data on how crafts and handwork of all kinds help diminish stress and enhance well-being. Fall is a good time to pick up a hobby you love, and commit to doing it regularly. Engaging in creating something new helps me to remember that I am created by God. It helps me to slow down, and gives me time to ponder, almost unconsciously, things that need pondering in my life.
Often when people hear that I quilt, they respond, “That’s great that you have time for that!” And I laugh. If you know me, you know I am not exactly basking in “free time.” And I never really have big chunks of time to do any of my crafts. But, as one of my favorite expressions goes, Adde parvum parvo magnus acervus erit. “Little by little makes a great heap.” Even working on a project for 20 minutes a day, it will eventually be completed. My other secret is that I don’t watch much TV—other studies have shown that screen time tends to increase, rather than alleviate, our stress.
What does craft have to do with faith? For me, times of meditation are just as important as times of prayer—and engaging in meditative practices like sewing makes it easier for me to pray. Craft helps to quiet my mind, to be still and know that God is God, and that God’s peace can live in me. May you find ways to reconnect and recharge in all seasons of the year, even the busy ones, and connect more deeply with our Creator!