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Tuning into autumn

What does the autumn season bring up for you? 

For some people autumn means less light, both literally and metaphorically. The darker evenings can provoke depression and low mood and this time of year is known for an increase in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). For others, autumn brings relief from the exposing heat and light of summer and a welcome return to winter cosiness. 

Whichever end of this spectrum we are at, autumn is a season of change and transition. Summer flowering and abundance give way to winter hibernation and scarcity and things decline and die in order to be reborn again in the spring. If we tune into this process we may connect with feelings of loss and grief and get a fresh chance to explore and process them. We also have an opportunity to plant our own seeds – perhaps hopes, dreams or plans for the future – and let them incubate through the winter months. 

In autumn nature rests. It stops outwardly producing flowers and fruit and starts inwardly resourcing and recharging through the longer nights and shorter days. Modern life doesn’t help us connect with this movement, carrying on as if nothing in nature is changing. But we can choose to tune into the natural autumn urge to rest, recover and regroup. Before electricity people would have slept for longer during the winter as our body clocks followed the level of light. So now is a good time for more sleep and more rest if at all possible.  

Here are three more ideas for tuning into autumn:

  • Remember it’s a cycle: If autumn is a difficult time for you buy a postcard or greetings card with a spring picture on it to carry with you or place by your bed to remind you that winter will pass and spring will come.
  • Letting go: Consider whether there is anything in your life that you would like to let go of – a habit, a negative belief about yourself, a painful memory. If so, imagine that thing as a leaf on a tree gently falling to the ground. If the leaf doesn’t seem to want to drop, or if you feel an urge to pick it up again, accept that you need a bit longer before you are ready to let go.
  • Take micro-rests: Help yourself slow down by, when you remember, breathing more deeply and slowly, perhaps counting to three as you breathe in and four as you breathe out. Expand this ‘rest’ by feeling your feet on the ground, wherever you are, as you breathe. Expand it further again by telling yourself ‘it’s ok to rest’ as you do this.

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