As I sit here this morning I am gazing out at the tree branches with their winter coats of snow on. I live in Canada – the land of seasons, and it seems that winter will soon be upon us. The air has become chilled, the leaves have fallen from the trees. The bright colours that so recently graced their presence have faded and died. It is time to prepare for winter. Many animals will be looking to their dens to sleep through the winter, but currently they are foraging, ensuring they have enough sustenance to keep them going.
Our lives have seasons too. As the winter begins, we haul out our winter coats and boots. We stock up on canned goods in case we are trapped inside our houses by a winter snow storm. We make hearty soups and comfort food. Often too we gain a little extra weight which keeps us warm. Unfortunately, we are not like the animals who slumber and lose that extra weight. We have to work hard to get rid of it in the spring.
Spring is when we begin to feel light again. When we shake off the heavy coats and look forward to the sunshine. Temperatures that would have had us shivering in the fall now seem warm compared to what we have endured recently. The snow begins to fade from the landscape. For those of you in the southern hemisphere, the conditions are reversed as you are enjoying balmy weather while we are covered in snow. Some regions do not even know what snow is. Many of us would be very happy to share it with you in the middle of winter.
Summers bring warmth of body and soul. As we bask in the golden sunlight and absorb the vitamin D the sun provides, we relax. We let go of some of the busyness and just take some time to rejuvenate, taking part in summer activities such as barbeques and swimming, perhaps some tennis or beach volleyball as well. As we think back to the cold snows of the winter, we are grateful for the sun and the rain and the good times.
Fall bursts forth with colour. The trees put on their best garments to impress all the visitors who come to see them. They are riotous – reds, greens, purples, yellows all mixed together like beautiful women coming to a ball. Your eyes are drawn to them, especially when the sun shines and targets their beauty. You want to spend hours and days just walking through the bush, admiring their colours.
Winter follows all too soon it seems. Our days are shorter. Night comes sooner. The sunrise and sunset are not nearly as beautiful as they were. This is also when many of us begin to feel a loss. We don’t see our friends as often. We huddle in our homes, not wanting to venture out into the cold. We turn down invitations, preferring to be alone. This is not always a good thing, but if you are content it is okay. Just make sure that you are not allowing yourself to sink into depression. Some of us are winter people and look forward to the snow so that we can go skiing and skating and playing winter sports. Some like to get out their snow machines and trek through the wilderness.
The seasons of our life do not always fall in line with the seasons of the world around us. Our bodies and our mental processes have their own time frame. There are times when everything around us is peaceful and happy, and times when things seem to fall apart. The thing to remember is that we all have seasons and if you are going through a season of loss it is important to reach out to someone for help in dealing with your problems. Don’t keep things to yourself. And if you know that someone is having trouble, reach out to them. Be there for them. Let them know that you care.
P.S. If you are in a down season and need to reach out, click here: https://mentalhealthweek.ca/yourmentalhealth/
Mental health week may be in May, but we need to be aware of it all year round.