It’s the start of a new season (fall in the Northern Hemisphere, spring in the Southern Hemisphere). For many people, this season represents a beginning of a new school year, the end of summer vacations and the fall harvest. This year, so much is different. There are many changes to how we move through our daily lives. There is huge uncertainty about the state of the pandemic, along with political and social unrest.

How are you coping with the continued stress? We know that prolonged stress is harmful to our immune systems and affects our motivation and productivity. Sometimes we can become so overwhelmed we feel frozen, unable to make decisions.

Besides eating well and getting lots of fresh air and exercise, I’d like to share two strategies that help me to focus on feeling and being well.

Strategy #1 – Moments of Joy

Spend at least some time each day looking for moments of joy. (See my Instagram for examples of the moments of joy I photograph on my morning walks.) When you experience a moment of joy, try to tune into how the joy feels in your body. This might be difficult at first, but the more we practice noticing moments of joy and the body sensations that accompany it, the easier it gets.

Moment of joy – Rosehip on the Dartmouth Harbour path

Tuning into these moments of joy helps our body to experience positive sensations. This can help to break up feelings of despair, anxiety or heaviness. My experience is that the more I look for moments of joy, the more moments of joy seem to appear before me.

Strategy #2 – One Loop (or step) at a Time

The uncertainty, coupled with all of the changes as we adapt can be overwhelming. When I am overwhelmed I try to focus on life one step at a time. I focus on what do I need right now and what is the one thing I can do to move myself in the direction I want to go?

Hand hooked mat in red with white outlines.
What Do I Need Right Now, Designed and hooked by Meryl Cook

When I hooked my first seven original healing mats each mat represented the next step I needed to take in my reinvention. For example, my first mat was Curvy Lines, which was about sensuousness, flow and creativity. The next mat was Love Letter, which was about accepting and welcoming my scar after surgery into my body in a loving way. In this way I could progress in my healing. The next mat, Joy Releasing was about inspiration, as I needed to feel inspired and clear about where I was heading.

As a rug hooker (one of the processes I use for my textile art), the work is done by pulling one loop (of cut fabric or yarn) up at a time. As a journal writer, my words are formed one loop at a time. One Loop at a Time is in the title of both of my books. But the phrase One Loop at a Time has come to mean much more to me. One Loop at a Time also represents freedom. The freedom to get started moving forward without knowing all the answers. Without having to have all the details worked out. It is the freedom to make changes along the way.

It would seem that in these uncertain times we need to proceed with looking for moments of joy and moving forward one loop at a time.

How I can help

I offer Creative Journaling workshops to corporations and associations. These customizable sessions can help you and your team members to relieve stress and anxiety, build engagement and feel inspired again. Examples of recent workshop titles include: Creative Journaling for Well-Being and Reignite Our Business Mojo with Journaling and Sketching. Reach out to me to design a workshop (virtual or in person) that meets the needs of your team.