Thank you Brandon Erlinger-Ford for your photo, #unsplash.
September is my favourite time of year, even knowing winter follows close behind. In some ways this year is like any other. There will be joys and challenges, but because of our unique global circumstances we need extra help to keep ourselves healthy, in mind, body and spirit. We need extra help knowing how to care for others too.
Depending on your personality you may not be feeling a great deal of stress related to our global and local realities, but I hazard a guess most of us are. There are tell-tale signs. Perhaps you have been jumpy? A common response to stress could be more fatigue than usual. Another common, but less talked about symptom of stress is fear. I experienced fear this summer in a strange way. After being isolated for several months it felt scary to leave the house. I talked about my fear with trusted loved ones and was able to work it through with their patience and help.
Do you have someone to talk to about your possible fear, fatigue or anger? With so much information swirling around us, first it's important to know it's okay to take the time you need to think things through. Second, there's nothing wrong with choosing the person you would like to talk to, carefully. I picked up the phone the other day to talk to a friend and hesitated. I didn't necessarily need to vent, nor did I need help, I just wanted to say hello and hear the sound of her voice. I hesitated because I was afraid she and I might be on different pages about vaccinations or politics and that it might lead to a debate that I did not have the mental capacity for.
I took my own advice and thought through my hesitation. I then formulated a plan of what to talk about, and what to avoid with respect and kindness. Should my friend ask to debate on our heated current events I would let her know politely I wasn't able to take on such a conversation at present. If I needed to clarify boundaries I was sure that would actually help her do the same. I then realized it might be a smart to set an internal time limit to how long I might stay on the phone. With these boundaries in mind I reminded myself she too may have stipulations of her own I needed to be sensitive to. I picked up the phone and called her cell with a new sense of purpose and peace.
Other boundaries I have had to set are those of content. Watching programming concentrated around murder mysteries and listening to news broadcasts focused on loss infiltrate your everyday mood and ability to enjoy and complete tasks. That same repeated obsession with the negative, permeates your pores and disturbs our much needed sleep in the form of nightmares. There is a big difference between being informed and allowing ourselves to be tormented. Also, by limiting negative programming other real life needs get the attention they deserve.
With Halloween just around the corner I challenge you to set a new boundary. Make this Fall season about life and not 'death for entertainment'. Let's find a way to make our short autumn months about joy and not fear. Our mind, body and spirit will thank us, and those around us will benefit too.