Deepening Awareness to Our Connection to the Changing Season

October 23, 2023

Staring out of the window on an Autumn day, it dawned on me that as humans, we rarely adjust to the season of Autumn as we approach the darkness of winter. As the trees prepare for releasing what no longer serves them in preparation for rest and replenishment, we are called to do the same. 

Autumn is a fascinating and visually striking season. One of its most iconic features is the captivating display of vibrant leaves cascading down. Hedgerows, woodlands, and even road edges are transformed into a colourful carpet adorned with bronze, amber, red, and yellow hues. Trees and shrubs drop their leaves as a means to conserve energy and water within their stems and trunks.

Essentially, during autumn and winter, trees and shrubs are allowing themselves to hibernate and rejuvenate. These colder, darker months are less conducive to productivity, so these plants carefully manage their energy expenditure and nutrient allocation to ensure that when the time is right, they are fully prepared to be at their best and most productive.

As individuals, we possess a remarkable capacity for positive change. Our creativity allows us to connect with one another and navigate transformative life events. We can harmonise with nature and find solace in solitude. However, there are moments when our destructive tendencies take control, leading us to engage in actions that do not always allow us to consider our own needs.

By heeding our intuition, cultivating a mindset focused on growth, and delving into self-reflection, we can gain a deeper understanding of our intentions, values, and purpose. This introspection enables us to acknowledge and address our emotions effectively, fostering emotional balance and a sense of fulfilment in our lives.

Nature never rushes, yet it consistently achieves its objectives, whether sooner or later. Observing nature, whether by the sea, in the woods, or within the desert, one can discern that there is no haste in its proceedings. In contrast, humans are perpetually in a rush. We burden ourselves with tasks that often surpass the constraints of a 24-hour day, leading to heightened stress levels. This is particularly the case for those of us who give our whole selves and more to those we support, care for or educate within our work.   

Things might feel like a lot right now. "It's a lot" has become a recurring sentence in many conversations. As we navigate targets, the seemingly unsolvable issues that concern us and the huge tasks. We can offer a few suggestions that might be beneficial. It might just help a little when things might feel impossibly hard for some of us…

Address your inner critic

Dealing with negative self-talk is an essential aspect of fostering a healthy and resilient mindset. To counter the impact of self-criticism and self-doubt, it's crucial to cultivate self-awareness. Begin by recognising when negative thoughts arise and the situations that trigger them. Challenge these thoughts by asking yourself if they are based on facts or assumptions. Replace harsh self-critiques with compassionate and realistic self-appraisals. Self-affirmations and positive self-talk can help reinforce a more positive self-image. Additionally, seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional can provide valuable perspectives and strategies for managing negative self-talk. Remember that changing this habit takes time and effort, but it can lead to improved self-esteem and overall well-being.

Slow it right down

Once you've addressed the inner critic that tells you you're not enough (!) allow yourself the space to slow it right down. Model to your family and your colleagues how you're doing that and in doing so, you'll be modeling the why and the how of it all. If you suffer from "I'm too much for people" you'll invariably suffer from "I'm not enough for anyone or anything at all" and this dichotomy can have us spinning around life like it's a hamster wheel! “I am my own worst enemy when it comes to celebrating my achievements and slowing down enough to reflect. I really must start to take heed of what I train others to do!” says TICS associate, Jessica Parker. 

Communicate assertively and dare to say no

Assertive communication is a valuable skill that empowers individuals to express their thoughts, feelings, and boundaries effectively while respecting the rights and perspectives of others. Saying "no" assertively is a critical aspect of this skill. It involves setting clear boundaries without feeling guilty or apologetic. Daring to say "no" means acknowledging your limitations and prioritising self-care. It's about confidently and respectfully declining requests or situations that are not aligned with your needs, values, or capacity at the moment. This approach fosters healthier relationships, enhances self-esteem, and reduces stress, as it ensures that your own well-being remains a priority while maintaining open and honest communication with others. "However much I practice declining requests some still get past me in my bid to 'be enough'!" says our Director Lisa. 

Be aware of vicarious trauma in yourself and colleagues

Being aware of vicarious trauma is essential, particularly for individuals working in helping professions or roles like ourselves where we are regularly exposed to the trauma and suffering of others. Vicarious trauma refers to the emotional and psychological impact that can occur when one absorbs the trauma experienced by those they support or care for. It's crucial to recognise the signs of vicarious trauma, which may include heightened stress, emotional numbness, irritability and/or intrusive thoughts.

Understanding the boundaries between your own experiences and those of the individuals you serve is a vital step. Practising collective care, self-care, setting clear professional boundaries, seeking clinical supervision and support alongside engaging in regular self-reflection, can help mitigate the effects of vicarious trauma. By acknowledging its existence and actively working to address it, individuals and the teams we work with can continue to provide compassionate and effective support while collectively safeguarding our own mental and emotional well-being.

In conclusion

The journey to avoid burnout is a path worth treading. It's a commitment to ourselves, our well-being, and our long-term happiness. We've explored various strategies, from setting boundaries and practicing self-care to seeking support and rekindling our passions. Remember that it's not a one-time effort but an ongoing process. Jessica Parker adds, “The key is to recognise the signs, make conscious choices, and adapt as needed.” Burnout is a formidable adversary, but armed with the right tools, we can protect our physical and mental health, preserve our enthusiasm, and thrive in both our personal and professional lives. It's a journey worth taking and some might argue, an essential one.

If you need any help and support in supporting parents, in creating Trauma Informed environments, evaluating them or just a general chat about ‘all things Trauma Informed’, please get in touch with Lyndsay, our Working Together Lead at and our team will support you in your journey.

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