I don't know about you but I always find this time of year strange. I love the arrival of autumn (September is usually an annual retreat time for me - a way to decompress after the busy summer months) but as we move into the later part of the year I am always struck by one thing; we actively resist and defy nature's rhythms.
As the leaves are falling from the trees and the darker nights descend like a cooling cloak, we seem to just get busier and busier. Represented in a graph, it would look like a big cross; nature going down and us going up! Despite nature's cues which are all pointing to rest and a gentler, more reflective pace, we are looking forwards to the future and the next reason to be busy; Christmas. We are thinking about Christmas markets, Christmas parties, buying presents, stocking our cupboards full of indulgent food and drink and stressing about Christmas logistics and which side of the family we're going to spend 'the big day' with.
But what if we choose another way? I'm not suggesting that we boycott Christmas (although that would certainly make for a calmer winter!) but perhaps there are ways to create a little more balance as we prepare for the festive season, by carving more time out to be still, get cosy and invest in rest?
It may seem counterproductive to go slower, be softer and do less but in the long run it is actually the most productive thing we could do. Just like the natural world, we also need periods of downtime and the opportunity to shed some leaves and let go of the old. Autumn and winter are times of renewal, an essential part of the life cycle, so it is not selfish or indulgent to need rest; it is what nature wants. We are nature. And when we set aside social expectations to stay busy, not only will we benefit personally, so will everyone around us (because let's face it, a busy, stressed out person doesn't generally make for great company!)
Taking more time out will help us feel replenished, restored, energised and we will have far more to give to others - we all know you can only give from overflow.
So why not treat yourself to some gentle moments this winter and find ways to weave a bit of softness into your life? More time in front of the fire with a book, more time meditating, more time walking in nature, more time snuggling with your cat on the sofa, more time cooking slow, delicious food and sharing it with the people you love the most. Because this is what life is about isn't it?
You are the only one who can give yourself permission to rest so go ahead and offer yourself this gift this winter! 🤍
Image courtesy of Goodrest Studios | 91 Magazine