Fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder with a look at nature

by Raj Das

As the leaves begin to fall and the crisp autumn air sets in, there is a hidden world beneath our feet that is bustling with life and communication. Nature, in all its wisdom, teaches us valuable lessons about shedding the old, conserving energy, and embracing moments of rest and rejuvenation. Just like the trees, we as humans could learn a thing or two from this seasonal transition.

In a fascinating BBC documentary titled “My Passion for Trees,” Dame Judi Dench unraveled the mysteries of the natural world. She explained that trees communicate with each other through networks of fungi underground, sending nutrients and support to one another. It is a complex system that operates even in the harshest of winters, allowing trees to thrive in the face of adversity.

But trees are not just passive bystanders. They have their own mechanisms to protect themselves. When they shed their leaves in autumn, they are not only detoxifying but also ensuring that all the energy harvested from the sun stays stored within the tree. By conserving this energy, trees spend less of it throughout the winter, making it easier for them to weather storms and gales.

The shedding of leaves also helps trees conserve moisture within their trunks, preventing them from drying out. Additionally, the bare branches allow wind to blow through more easily, reducing strain on the tree. These adaptations position the tree perfectly for regeneration and new growth when spring arrives.

The concept of trees communicating and supporting one another might sound fantastical, but it sheds light on the intricacies of the natural world that often go unnoticed. There is a whole ecosystem beneath our feet, quietly working and growing even during the bleak mid-winter. It is a miracle of nature that, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be truly fascinating.

So, as autumn sweeps in and nature prepares to shed the old and lay dormant for a while, we can take inspiration from this season of change. Autumn, with its vibrant colors and cooler temperatures, invites us to slow down and embrace cozy comforts. It is a time for blankets, fleecy pajamas, and warm beverages while enjoying the company of loved ones or indulging in our favorite shows and books.

The darker evenings of autumn are perfect for engaging in creative activities, such as making decorations or watching silly movies. They are also an invitation for self-care, with warm baths and early nights accompanied by a good book or a binge-worthy box set. It’s a season for hearty comfort foods like stews, soups, mashed potatoes, and root vegetable curries, all of which provide nourishment and warmth.

As humans, we tend to rush through life, always seeking the next goal or achievement. But nature reminds us that rest and regeneration are just as vital as growth and productivity. Autumn serves as a reminder to pause, reflect, and recharge for the next season in our lives.

No matter the season, life is always springing forth and gestating all around us. The natural world teaches us that it is essential to honor moments of rest and allow ourselves the time to regenerate and bloom when the time is right. So, let us embrace the teachings of autumn and find solace in the beauty of letting go, conserving energy, and nurturing ourselves for the seasons to come.

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