What Autumn Can Teach Us About Stress Relief
Living near the mountains of North Carolina, one of my favorite things to do in the fall is to take a day trip along those winding roads and soak up the beauty of the fall colors. A photo taken from an overlook of the vast expanse is beautiful, but nothing is prettier to me than a shot from the ground up through the trees with the sun shining through the golden and red colors. I knew there was a chemical process that caused the transformation, but I learned today a little more detail and I also learned how we can apply a similar process to make our lives more beautiful as well.
The leaves on a tree are basically a food manufacturing plant. They use a chemical called chlorophyll and sunlight to produce nutrients and carbohydrates for the tree’s nourishment. (See, trees like their carbs and starches too!) It is the chlorophyll that creates the green tint we associate with spring and summer tree leaves. What I didn’t realize until today was that the yellows, oranges and reds are also already there, they are just hidden behind the greens, during peak food production.
During the fall, when the temperatures drop and the daylight is shorter, the leaves stop their food prep and basically the tree goes into a hibernation-type mode. Without the chlorophyll, the green pigment disappears and gives way for the yellows, oranges and reds (which were there all along) to have their glorious time in the sun.
What does this mean for us?
Our daily lives are extremely busy. We have work obligations; family obligations and every other meme on social media tell us how much we should be putting into and getting out of this life. That’s a lot of stress! We are constantly in a pressure cooker to keep our goals, ambitions and families fed! (Figuratively and literally) We know there is creativity, fulfillment, fun and joy somewhere, we just can’t see it sometimes with all the ‘green’ of bills, responsibilities, deadlines and activities. So what needs to happen? Am I suggesting we walk away from our duties and maturity? Not exactly... but I am advocating for a little bit of Happy Hibernation.
I think we should all set aside some time occasionally to shut down the stress pipeline. Unplug and unwind from the tethers that pull us in all different directions. We need to stop feeding the power source of worldly weight. Once we do that, the beautiful colors of imagination and wonder will splash across our life’s canvas.
I don’t know what radiant colors lie beneath your surface. Maybe you don’t either, or you forgot. Today is the perfect chance to find out. Slow down, quiet your soul, then listen to your heart. What moves you? What excites you? What inspires you? Let those images and activities become a priority for just a bit. Take time to renew your mind and recharge your emotional energy. This doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking or even an action. It’s possible you simply want to relax and enjoy the small moments and pleasures that get lost in your hectic pace. There aren’t any right or wrong answers here. The point is to let the beautiful, colorful, majestic - you, the YOU that has been there all along, have time to shine.
My Hopefuls, I know you struggle and grow weary and even frustrated. The work of life is ongoing and oftentimes seemingly unappreciated. I am here today to remind you that you not forgotten, and are in fact valued, loved and eternally special. God has a plan for your life and He has a glorious painting full of radiant colors waiting to be revealed.
I trust somewhere within these words, you have found the encouragement to stop a moment and enjoy the simple pleasures around you. To strip away the daily mundane long enough to find the beauty underneath. And if you still need extra help, look me up and come take a drive with me along those beautiful mountain roads. I promise your troubles will disappear for a little while.
And Always Remember..
Hope With Abandon