Ah, the change in season. Those little reminders of beauty in the ephemeral; of everything being so temporary. In the spring there’s an obvious sense of hope that comes with the longer days and warmer temperatures; it’s symbolic of expansion, productivity and manifestation: the “doing” time of year. And for Dumplings in the southern hemisphere, this is the very moment you are now able to relish, so enjoy! But, what about the transition from summer to winter for us northerners? Once we’ve seen the back of Labor Day, class is back in session and the temperature drops, is there anything we can do to muster up the same kind of optimism?
For those who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) through the winter months, the fall can be accompanied by a sense of dread; a kind of anxiety about what’s the come, based on how previous years have panned out for us. We fear the sense of loss: loss of time as the days grow shorter and maybe a diminished social life as the cooler weather forces us to retreat to the coziness of indoors and so on.
Believe it or not, it’s not only the extroverts among us who suffer, either. Winter seems like an introvert’s dream come true: the curling up with a good book and doing everything as per the standard Manual Of All Things Hygge. However, it’s a time of year that forces us to become introspective. The tables turn inward and for those of us many moons from being at peace with ourselves, it can be like holding up a mirror to a ghastly, unwanted reflection.
The autumn, to me, is one of the most magical times of the year. Even when I’ve lived in places that don’t get the crisp golden leaves or even when I’ve suffered excruciating episodes of SAD, I have still embraced the fall for the way that it sparks new ideas. Unlike spring and summer which sees us implement those ideas that have been plucked and primed all winter, the autumn is a chance for us to reassess the path we’re walking and choose to pursue a fresh, new direction should we wish to do so. It’s the crossroads at which we can cultivate new ideas that will then come to fruition the following summer.
Seeing the seasons as symbolic of our inner world can be a major player in helping to overcome SAD. This exercise will emphasize the parallels between autumn and your self growth. There is a seasonally-appropriate tarot spread that I’ve included; feel free to try this out if you feel so inclined, otherwise know that the writing prompt is sufficient to spark the magic.
Find somewhere quiet, free from distractions and preferably with a view of the outdoors, even if you’d rather be inside for this. If you enjoy working with any particular crystals or essential oils, feel free. The only other things you’ll need are the below list of questions, some paper upon which to record your answers and a writing utensil of your choosing. Find a comfortable seated position either at a table or on the floor, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths to tune in to your body.
1. How do you feel right this very moment? Pick 3-5 words that clearly define your emotional body. These might include any of the following, for example: silly, lethargic, anxious, hopeful, frustrated, perplexed, angry, melancholy.
2. Which of these emotions (the words you just used) are you glad that you feel?
3. Which of these emotions (again, the words in your list) do you wish you didn’t feel?
4. What have been 3 highlights from the past 6 months?
5. What have been the hardest things you’ve had to deal with over the past 6 months?
6. Draw a scale. At the furthest end on the left, write the moment you’ve felt the lowest over the past 6 months and on the furthest end on the right, the moment you’ve felt the happiest. Don’t sweat if it feels like the past 6 months have been pretty monotonous for you—remember that you’re not comparing your list to anyone else’s, so it’s OK if the best moment was something that seems kind of boring.
7. Mark on the scale where you feel you fit—emotionally – right now. Is it somewhere in the middle? Is it towards the left or right?
8. Have you started anything new in the last 6 months? A job, a workout routine or a volunteer position etc? Has this improved your life at all? Without that thing, would you be further to the left or right on the scale you’ve drawn? It’s OK if the answer is “neither” or you don’t know.
9. What 5 stress-busting activities make you instantly feel better when you’re having a bad day? These might be eating a chocolate bar, Facetiming a friend, playing with your dog etc.
10. For each of those 5 things, use 3 words to describe the feelings they evoke. These might be any of the following examples: relief, support, love, freedom, comfort, awe, fulfillment, hope, ease. It’s OK if these repeat for some of the 5 things.
11. Circle the words that are common between your 5 stress-busters. These are your Wellbeing Priorities.
12. Looking back at number 8 (above), does that new thing make you feel any of your Wellbeing Priorities? If not, is it contributing beneficially to your life via another means? If so, how?
13. Draw a Venn diagram. Write “school” or “job” depending on how you spend your days above the circle on the left. Write the 3 things you like most about your job or program/classes in the circle.
14. Over the circle on the right, write “strengths”. What strengths do you have that contribute to these aspects of your job/program?
15. What do you wish you could do more of in your job/program? Put these in the middle of the Venn diagram. These are your Fulfillment Priorities.
16. Looking back at number 8 again, does that new thing make you feel any of your Fulfillment Priorities? If not and it’s also not contributing to your wellbeing (revisit question 12), then consider ditching it, because it’s likely only a burden taking time away from your wellbeing or fulfillment.
17. Write a list of at least 10 new things that you’d like to try that are feasible over the next 6 months. This can be anything from a new coffee shop you keep passing on your walk to work to surfing under the northern lights (just me?)
18. Next to each of these things, write either “wellbeing” or “fulfillment” depending on whether your gut instinct tells you that it will make you feel like you’ll be doing it to take care of yourself or for personal development in some way.
19. Circle one from each category. These are your goals for the season.
20. Tidy up your lists and keep them somewhere highly visible, such as the bathroom mirror or an inspo-board if you’re feeling fancy. Remind yourself often of your Wellbeing & Fulfillment Priorities as well as your goals. Then sit back, relax, and see what the universe throws at you, knowing that it’s wise to say no to anything that doesn’t feel good.
If you’re a fan of tarot, feel free to follow the above with some extra messages from the universe, as per the below spread:
Which path are you ready to follow?
Get more like this—Sign up for our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!