Lately, have you caught yourself grabbing your sweater from the back of the closet while switching out your sandals for boots? Well I know I have! The days have been getting shorter, nights are becoming colder, and I soon find myself surrounded by the smell of pumpkin spice everywhere I go.
I believe that despite darker evenings and cooler weather, Autumn can be the most relaxing & healing time of year. Let me tell you why:
Fall is Very Grounding
Grounding is a technique which helps people become more present, in the moment, or in the "here and now" versus ruminating about the past or worrying about the unknown of the future (both major culprits of anxiety or depression).
The key to grounding oneself in the present is noticing and narrating your 5 senses to act as a healthy distraction from unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or even body sensations.
So why don't you take a few extra seconds to hear the crunch of foliage beneath your feet? Or maybe notice the brisk cool air on your skin, feel soft texture of your flannel, the nostalgic smell of cinnamon, the taste of pumpkin or cranberry...you can even see the many colors of the trees around you, the greens, oranges, reds, yellows...the 5 senses can for sure be kept busy this time of year!
2. Autumn Inspires Gratitude
With Autumn comes the feeling of exercising gratitude towards those we are about, our community, and ourselves, especially around Halloween or Thanksgiving.
Challenge yourself to keep tabs on how you are positively impacting others' lives. Notice the children's' smiles when you give them candy during Trick or Treating. Consider donating to a food pantry for those who might not be able to put dinner on the table this holiday season.
While the leaves change, reflect on how you have changed or grown in the past year. Track this in a gratitude journal or diary. Give yourself permission for self-care. Don't forget, gratitude also includes thanking yourself for making time to enjoy the present, even if it is for a few seconds.
3. Fall Sparks Creativity
Most people think Summer brings all the creative fun, but I beg to differ. How many recipes can you make with pumpkin? How about painting or carving gourds? Create a photo album of foliage, make a collage using leaves, draw thanksgiving cards, brainstorm or design Halloween costumes, decorate your home with an abundance of colorful candles, the possibilities of creativity this time of year is truly endless.
Yes, this past year has had its challenges and for many. This upcoming holiday can be quite triggering considering the pandemic & our own individual stressors. However, if you practice or recognize some of these Fall mindful principles, perhaps it can make the transition to winter feel a little bit more like.... a warm welcome.