Autumn days often bring rain to the UK. The darkness closes in and the excuse to light another candle is one I never shy away from.
Over the last few weeks our lives have been hit with an unexpected storm. It came from nowhere and left behind our weary souls, it’s still passing through at present but in time I’ll write more eloquently and with precision about our experience. It takes time to get over an event and learn from it, I’ve never been that good at analysing things when I’m in them, it always needs space and a little time.
However, one lesson has become enlarged in my vision. The bill board of all lessons: I am loved, supported and nurtured.
My tribe is kick ass! When I need to go to war my girl friends are right behind me. In fact, pushing me to the side and offering to fight on my behalf. My work colleagues are supportive and have given me space and sent compassionate loving messages of support.
My boys are my rocks. The Mr is exceptional in chaos, he destroys tornados with Marvel like precision and my little dude makes me laugh, distracts me from the realities of the world and seeps in warmth through cuddles and humour.
My family are loyal, kind and patient and my Mum has a way of always saying what I need I to hear…note not always what I want to hear. As a child she use to sing to me ‘ you are my sunshine’ and in these darker days this song keeps finding me – I even purchased this little trinket in NEXT at home.
So what’s my lesson? By counting my blessings and surrounding myself with a network of sunbeams it’s hard to sit in the dark. Look after your tribe and enjoy the sun and warmth they bring, walk away from chaotic individuals who darken your days. When your storm hits you’ll be grateful for the support of an well placed light house to guide you to shore.
Quote from Desmond Tutu
The journey of life often brings uncertainty and darkness. One minute life is lit up like a joyful Christmas tree, the next an unexpected power cut plummets you into darkness.
Darkness can often be uncertain and you bump into things. I’d suggest anyone who finds themselves in the dark reaches for the light switch as soon as possible, call me the health and safety police but I’m not into bumping my head. If you are currently living in the shadows or grasp of darkness then you might think ‘easy for her to type’ and so I’d like you to know that darkness has knocked on my door, circumstances out of my control mean I’ve lived more of my nightmares than I’d care to mention and Ive also supported many young people in the most tragic of circumstances. However, this doesn’t make me a darkness expert; Ive learnt that each individuals darkness is unique to them.
My most recent darkness was my silent miscarriage, after a quick survey of the darkness I decided not to stay there. I reached for the light switch of hope. It’s not particularly stable and somedays it’s just out of my clutches, although I may not have much choice about the darkness I do have a choice about how I look at the dark.
It reminded me of a children’s book I enjoyed as a child and have shared with my son. ‘The owl who was afraid of the dark’ through the story the baby owl who fears the dark learns the joy of fireworks who’s beauty can’t be appreciated in full light. In my favourite chapter the owl learns to see and appreciate the stars. Then I remembered that if I looked outside of my initial darkness…the stars would light my way. Small beams of appreciation, hope allows me to see the light. Perhaps your dark past increases your empathy to others, a better listener or generally a kinder soul.
At other times when I hear of other peoples darkness it makes mine seem more like i’ve got life on a dimmer switch. Of course, one persons tragedy doesn’t diminish somebody else’s feelings but I do think it sometimes gives situations a clearer perspective.
Noted below are a few things that can make the light switch a little easier to find, most of them are free and I’m sure you’ve heard of them all before.
- Keep a gratitude diary
- Volunteer and help somebody else
- pop on some music
- go for a walk
- declutter a draw – my personal favourite it the cutlery draw, takes 2 minutes to wipe around yet every time I open the draw I feel like I’m winning
- write down how you are feeling and then shred it or burn it.
- drink more water – we are after all complex plants with emotions
- fake a smile – apparently the brain can tell the difference and the happy hormones will be released.
- Make a plan for tomorrow. This doesn’t need to be huge like a holiday (although they can be fun)
- try and get a good night sleep (I know this ones tricky)
- practise self care: this doesn’t need to be a full facial and luxury bubble bath, just having a wash and brushing teeth is a good starting point
- Make your bed – this will require you to leave it
- remember that before you can step out of the tunnel, the light gradually increases with small bursts of light…so be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can.
If the darkness persists and you feel like you’re in the longest night of your life, make an appointment to see your GP or check out this link with helpful numbers and website for you to look at. Best wishes in finding a little more light.
This week I’ve been teaching my year seven pupils (aged 11) about developing and sustaining a positive mindset. It was also national mental health awareness day (10th October) and so I thought I’d bring the two together and create a gratitude list for Autumn.
I keep a daily journal in which I write down three things I’m grateful for and three intentions for the day. Personally, I find it helps focus my day and it starts my day in a good vibration.
My favourite season is spring, but that shouldn’t stop an Autumn list from occurring, in fact it’s often more beneficial to dig a little deeper when it comes to gratitude, that said I’m often surprised at how simple pleasures usually are? *Sorry if most of my list is food based.
- The crunch of the leaves as they fall under my feet
- Cosy evenings in with pyjamas and hot chocolate
- The colours of the trees that seem to change daily through Autumn
- Searching for conkers (seriously it’s like discovering buried treasure)
- An excuse to wear a cardigan
- Smell of Crock pot dinners – it’s like coming home to my Mums cooking at the end of a working day, except I did it whilst I was at work!
- Wearing wellies on walks
- Homemade soup and fresh bread
- Cups of tea on the sofa whilst it rains outside
- Autumn seems slower and so I find more time to read
- Bonfires (marshmallows on bonfires)
- Fireworks in our village
- Watching the stars
- Empty beach walks wrapped up warm
…your turn, what are you grateful for as we step into Autumn? Comment below.
When I saw this quote my heart sung a little with laughter.
From work to play I see humans setting themselves on fire on a daily basis, metaphorically speaking of course. So often we put others ahead of ourselves and at the end of a busy week when we have little for ourselves we still continue to serve others from empty cups.
On Friday evening I had nothing to give. Trimester one is exhausting and as I walked in the door I knew an early night was essential and that dinner would have to sort itself out. A laptop and a scroll meant that pizza would be delivered. Not my personal choice but I was past caring. We selected a film from Netflix and the phrase ‘Netflix and chill’ had never been more correct. Next stop bed…
The house looks like a bombs gone off and the my laundry basket might erupt at anytime. In the light of a new day these things can be challenged but last night sleep was my only need and my only
As a parent of the messy kind that leave trails of crumbs wherever they go, are allergic to picking up toys and make unreasonable demands at unreasonable hours…we feel the need to set ourselves on fire to keep them warm, or to lie there with them until they fall asleep, to provide all they desire and make every moment count. In my experience as a teacher of teens this isn’t the solution. Giving them clear boundaries on what you can and can’t do allows them to mimic this into their relationships. Perhaps instead of going to the extreme of setting ourselves on fire we could suggest they put on a jumper?
Many parents often feel that they ‘let the kids down’ because they shouted, lost their sh*t or wasn’t there for the event they were performing in. I think if you take the time to explain why you can’t be there, they learn life skills about resilience and boundaries. I think you can unburden the chains of parental guilt by talking to your child about the reasons why and also by taking time out for you, perhaps the emotional outpours would be less frequent. We need to be brave enough to say no, listen enough to when we need to say yes and put the box of matches back in a secure cupboard on a high shelf. You are enough, you always have been and you always will be.