As the trees shed their leaves, what will you shed?

On 29 October, almost 160 years ago, a naturalist, Henry David Thoreau wrote:

Nature now, like an athlete, begins to strip herself in earnest for her contest with her great antagonist Winter. In the bare trees and twigs, what a display of muscle. 

Seeing trees in a skeletal state, we can certainly appreciate their athleticism.  Strength, power and beauty against the sky; we’re now even more aware of the awesome structure of trees as they stand, stripped of their spring and summer greenery.

And what has that to do with you, your life, your challenges?  Think on…

Preparation is key
As all athletes do, prepare yourself for challenges ahead.  This means get enough sleep, eat the right stuff, and remember your emotional wellbeing too.  There are a variety of ways of preparing yourself for challenging times.  If you know what the challenge is, you can rehearse your response and your actions in your head.  Your brain is very trainable, and, provided you put the work in (practise often enough), by the time you’re faced with your challenge, you’ll be more than ready.  Think of the track athlete about to start a race, the rugby player preparing to convert a try, the golfer at the 18th with a long putt to sink.  They all rehearse success, so that when they have to do it for real, it works.  I do this with my clients all the time.

Nourish yourself
Physical and mental nourishment are equally important.  What are you planning to eat over the dark, cold, winter months?  What does “comfort food” mean to you?  Now’s the time to shift your outlook and think bright, vibrant colours (eat a rainbow), freshly prepared food, clean, light, protein-rich, mineral-dense, vegetable-heavy.  Shop wisely, so you have the good stuff in stock when you’re hungry.  Cook ahead and freeze, so on the very challenging days you’re still able to eat healthily.

Check out your sleep routine.  Still using your bed as an office?  Don’t.  Unable to fall asleep?  Try soothing meditation apps (avoiding the temptation to check emails before or after!).  Waking up in the middle of the night?  Write down your thoughts so you don’t have to remember them.  Try herbal tea, and maybe more relaxation recordings.  Open a window.  Review how comfortable your bed is: duvet, pillows, linen.  Whatever it takes to get your 7+ hours to recharge, defrag and refresh your mind and body.  Trust me, this is vital.

Soothe your soul.  Do one thing every day that you love doing, and consciously love doing it while you do it.  It could take 5 minutes, or half an hour.  Whatever you have time for.  Be aware of your emotions, of the stuff, including people, that brings you down  and see what you can do to avoid, change or filter out potentially damaging influences.  You know what they are.  Refuse to engage with them.

Stand up to your challenges
Life throws us curve balls.  Acceptance doesn’t have to mean agreement, buy-in or “doormat” behaviour.  What it does mean is that you can choose where you use your energy.  It can mean ignoring, moving away from or focusing elsewhere though.  Your challenge.  Your choice.

 

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About Marianna Beckwith