Well-Being Tip: Embracing Seasonal Transitions
In this week’s Well-Being Tip, we explore how to apply your mindfulness practice during the shifting seasons.
Even though the days may still be hot and humid (depending on where you call home), the barely perceptible spark of summer changing into fall can still be felt in the air. School is starting, the mornings are darker, and maybe you’re starting to make plans for Thanksgiving and the holidays.
With so much inconsistency in the past year and a half, the change of seasons can add even more to the feeling of an ever-changing impermanence. You may have thought to yourself, “Ugh, I just got used to handling this Covid-in-summer thing, and now it’s yet another change.”
But leaning into a transition, such as a seasonal change, can be a great opportunity to apply everything you’ve learned from the Healthy Minds Program and your practice (even if fall isn’t your favorite season!).
Your guide to shifting into fall:
- Accept that you don’t know what is going to happen. The human mind doesn’t like uncertainty, or ambiguity – we generally like to feel like we have all the answers. But transitions are all about practicing not having all the answers. Lock-downs could come and go, along with mask mandates – but can you practice opening up to the mystery of life, and accept just how much you don’t really know?
- Get into the change – with awareness. One of the greatest gifts of a seasonal change are all the things you get to notice. The cooler wind as you walk, the shifting sunsets, pulling out longer sleeved clothes. Pause from time to time as you go about your usual routine and take these opportunities to notice all the subtle details of each moment, with some curiosity and warmth. Feel this latest transition – explore what is true now, what is consistent and happening now, without focusing on how easily it might change. Notice how rich and wonderfully complex the seasonal change is, the latest guidelines you will live by, and how wonderfully complex all the people around you, including yourself, are!
- Smells, and sounds and touch. Seasonal change is a wonderful time to nurture ourselves with a tour of the senses. To embrace our interdependence with nature and train our minds to notice the positive of this new season. Go for a walk and smell the crispness, listen to the crunch of leaves and the new air on your skin. Practice appreciation for these changes. You can even say to yourself, “I love the smell of bonfires! It really makes me appreciate the coziness of fall.”
As you practice all of this, see if you can maintain a sense of openness and drop the impulse to do anything or figure anything out. If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that routine, consistency, and knowing what happens next have somewhat been thrown out the window.
So now that you know there’s no routine you can count on – you can practice the skill of not knowing and see if you can truly open yourself to the mystery of your own existence. Give it a try – you may surprise yourself how comfortable you get with being uncomfortable.
Get more practices and tips by downloading the Healthy Minds Program App, freely available thanks to the generosity of our donors wherever you get your apps. Dive deeper into the Healthy Minds Framework for Well-Being by registering for our upcoming Masterclass: Founders Edition.