Here in Minnesota autumn is ablaze in color. The trees wave their leaves at you in a richness of red, gold, and bronze. I’m a native Minnesotan, and every year I look forward to this time for all its beauty and splendor.
But up here in the “Northland” the season of fall brings the waning of daylight hours. With the coming of October, we eat breakfast in the dark and by seven in the evening dusk arrives. It seems that each day this luminous glows gets noticeably shorter. Many of us crave this light that nature slowly snakes away from us as winter comes. The lack of sunshine affects our circadian rhythms making of us want to sleep more or at inconvenient times in the day. Some of us can get depressed or grumpy because we can’t get outside in the evening since it is already dark after dinner.
Something is different this autumn though. The people I know are experiencing foreboding in a deeper way than the usual October. It’s not just the slow loss of light. Since January negativity has continually plummeted our lives. Politics has grown vicious in our country. Folks are either on the right or left. There is no room left for those of us in the middle. We go from one crisis to the next with no answers to problems we face.
What’s more with the media’s constant coverage of natural disasters be they forest fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods we are overwhelmed with trauma. If it’s not happening in your own neighborhood friends, this is coverage is called “secondary trauma”. When we view constant devastation, we never have closure. When the media covers tragedy after tragedy 24/7, we view violence that is too much for our hearts to endure. We get no time to rest. Our spirits are laid bare to sorrow.
We are encountering a darkness that separates us from our souls. This destructive deluge of messages that surround us is slowly but surely shattering the very fiber of our beings. The leaders we usually would look to for strength lack all moral character. In fact, many are the very heart of most of this problem.
I invite you to join me in stepping back from all news media, be it TV, online, or paper. I decided this week that to save the sanity of my soul and mind I needed a break. Taking a conscious respite from this deluge was the only way I could stay caring about those around me.
For the last several days I have only skimmed the headlines for good things. Otherwise, I spend my free time reading books, crocheting, or watching a good program. It’s amazing how much freer I feel already. My burden has lifted significantly. I no longer feel the need to check social media regularly. My whole being is lighter. It is not that I don’t care about what is happening in the world. Stepping back gives me a better perspective.
Self-care is so important these days. Fill the world around you with good things. Breathe deeply, go for a walk in the autumn colors, or watch an old movie. It will lower your blood pressure and help you sleep better. Do remember to sit in front of your lightbox as these daylight hours wane. Let us fight the darkness on so many fronts. And most of all let us all pray to our Creator for peace within our cities, our nation, and around the world. God send us strong moral leaders to guide us through all we are enduring.
Some questions for journaling:
- What happens inside my body with the constant negativity on social media?
- What three positive activities I can personally do to practice self-care?