by Deborah Hartung, founder of Pivot PeopleTech
Here in the Southern Hemisphere, the days are getting shorter, the winds are blowing and leaves are falling from the trees. Autumn is well and truly taking hold and Mother Nature is providing us with an opportunity to let go of the beliefs, habits and people that no longer serve us, so that we may emerge with renewed beauty and energy in Spring. So, take a leaf from Mother Nature’s book this month and just let go of the things you don’t need anymore – the health benefits may just surprise you!
"Pretend you’re a tree this autumn, and just let things go!"
I don’t know about you, but I personally love the ‘in between’ seasons of Autumn and Spring. I think it’s possibly because the weather is a little more mild and my peri-menopausal body is a lot happier when she’s not exposed to temperatures in the minuses or higher than 30 degrees Celsius. Or perhaps it’s because on a deeper, soul level, I appreciate the beauty of letting go and embracing the new. See, there’s a certain sadness that descends around Autumn. The end of long, balmy summer days. The end of bare, sun-kissed shoulders and nights under the stars. And the beginning of a much colder, arguably less romantic season.
But Autumn is actually an amazing reminder to all of us that beautiful things happen when we just let go of the things which no longer serve us. As an added bonus, not only will you be travelling through the winter months a little lighter, you will also experience some health benefits associated with decluttering, forgiveness and rest. Here are three of those benefits:
1. Clear your Space: Decluttering Improves your Mood
There aren’t many people on this planet who can walk into a messy, cluttered room, and not feel anxiety and overwhelm, which, in turn, leads to an inability to manage stress and solve problems in a constructive and creative way. The minute you declutter your space – be it at home or in your office – you will automatically feel less stress and anxiety and you will feel an immediate improvement in your mood. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have a Pinterest-perfect space! It’s ok to start small and perhaps throw out some of the expired beauty products or the nail polish that has gone dry. You have at least three months to do this, sister! It’s perfectly ok to start small and choose a small, manageable area and spend 15 to 30 minutes a week on organizing and cleaning out. Maybe you want to get rid of the socks with holes in them or perhaps you have the courage to get rid of those clothes that no longer fit you – including your ‘thin jeans’! Whatever it is that no longer serves you, pack it up and donate it or throw it away. Work to clean out and tidy up and create a space that is warm and inviting and enables you to do your best work and be the best version of ‘you’.
2. Clear out your Heart: Forgiveness Lowers your Blood Pressure & Extends your Life
It is possible to forgive those who have harmed us, even if they don’t think they have done anything wrong and even if they can’t or won’t apologize. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’re not hurting or that the person did nothing wrong. It merely means that you let go of all the anger and negative thoughts associated with the incident which caused you pain and which kept you living as its prisoner. Holding grudges causes more mental pain and physical stress on your body than the actual incident that hurt you. So do your future self a favour and release the hurt and the anger that is holding you back right now. In letting go of the things that have hurt you, you will lower your blood pressure, improve your heart health and, ultimately, extend your life expectancy. And letting go of hurt and anger and grudges opens up space in your heart to accept blessings and new adventures and love from people who want to share those things with you.
3. Clear your Calendar: Rest Reduces Stress Levels
It’s ok to say ‘no’ sometimes and it is ok to stop spending your hard-earned free time with people who drain your energy and leave you feeling exhausted after seeing them. Schedule some time just for ‘you’. Whether it’s time to take yourself out for coffee or indulge in a new book or a tv series you love, it is important to make time in your schedule for the things that make you feel good about yourself. And it’s ok to cancel plans or say ‘no’ to invitations if you need to rest. Rest is really important in reducing stress levels and allowing our bodies time to recover. Rest also boosts our immune systems, so we experience less symptoms of illness – all in all, rest is good for our bodies and minds.
Trust in the balance that Mother Nature holds and appreciate the simple beauty of letting things go. There’s a freedom that comes from letting go and there’s an undeniable need for a period where you allow yourself to rest and regroup, so that you may emerge after winter and be fully ready to bloom and step into your true potential, accepting all the blessings that life may hold for you.
Deborah Hartung is a consultant, coach, author and speaker, and the founder of Pivot PeopleTech. She loves helping entrepreneurs find their unique voice and leadership style in order to empower them to create amazing places where people truly want to work. She has spent the majority of her career in HR and labour relations management and consulting, gaining experience in all fields related to the human experience in the workplace. While her main focus remains on consulting, coaching and training in the HR and labour relations space, Deborah is passionate about people and technology and the opportunities for the advancement of humanity in the digital age. Professionally, Deborah is known as an HR turnaround specialist with a proven track record in improving workplace culture, employee engagement and organisational effectiveness. www.pivotpeopletech.co.za
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