Most people think that leaves fall off of deciduous trees in the fall because the wind blows them off. Actually, to protect themselves during the cold/dry months of winter, trees create a seal (a build-up of cells) at the base of each leaf, shutting off the flow of water and nutrients. This leads to the death of the leaves, and also the beautiful colors. As this seal builds, the leaves are pushed ever so slightly away from the base of the tree, weakening the connection between the leaves and the tree. Eventually, this bond is so weak that a gust of wind can easily knock them loose.
In other words, trees tell their leaves, “time for you to get off of me!”
For people, just as for trees, winter can be a rough season:
- the holidays come fast and furious, with lots of extra responsibilities
- the weather is harsh, often interfering with plans and upending schedules
- we spend more time indoors, making our spaces more cluttered and congested
- hours of daylight wane, which can dampen our mood
- colds and other illnesses spread quickly and sap our energy
In order to prepare for strenuous times, we can learn a lesson from the trees and intentionally shed anything that isn’t serving us. The relatively calm period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to consider what you might be able to tell “get off of me!”
A few questions to get you started…
TIME: Am I involved in any groups, organizations or activities that I don’t enjoy or feel I contribute to? Is there anything I can eliminate from my calendar or perhaps reschedule for another time?
SPACE: Do I have any furniture in my home that I don’t love or am not using? Have I accumulated/inherited pieces that are not my taste? Am I storing large items in my garage that I could donate and make space to pull my car in? Do I have a storage unit I could empty?
BELONGINGS: What do I own that I’m not using, don’t like, or makes me feel badly? What could I let go of today? (click here for some ideas)
RELATIONSHIPS: Are there people in my life who cause me grief, sadness, or stress? Is there any way to change/limit my interaction with them? Do I have any social media contacts who subtract from my quality of life?
MONEY: Am I spending money on anything that isn’t increasing my value of life? Are there any memberships or subscriptions I could cancel?
BODY: Do I own any food or drinks that I am trying to avoid? Have I held onto clothing or equipment for exercise that I dislike? Am I keeping clothing that doesn’t flatter me and makes me feel badly about my body?
The truth is, we often we fall into patterns and mindlessly maintain the status quo. This fall, as you see the leaves glide to the ground, consciously consider what you might be able to eliminate from your life. What would you be glad to be free of?