The harvest season is not only a time to stock for the winter, it is also an excellent time to shore up your energy reserves.

We pull our energy from different sources: food, water, sleep (of course), but also solitude, company, exercise, meditation, and most of all, our environment. The times we live in foster anxiety, information overload, anger and fear. Negative motivators don’t necessarily yield all bad things. Where there is hate, people are inspired to love. Where there is rejection, people are willing to accept. But the energy takes its toll, and boundaries wear thin.

We may find ourselves in the camp of giving too much, or we may plant ourselves in the camp of nothing is enough – so why do anything. At either extreme, we lose. We burn ourselves out by giving all we have and leaving nothing for ourselves, or by shutting everything out, including that which nourishes us. It doesn’t work.

Boundaries. Boundaries work. Authentic, self-understanding boundaries allow us the energy to give and to take. Even in the circle of activism, the message is: get involved with one thing. That one thing may just be your family and your community. The thing itself is intersectional, knowing that can be enough.

Likewise, with our friends, we set limits that make us feel useful and good. Maybe we set a specific time for talking and keep that appointment. Maybe we help each other by committing to avoiding certain topics. Whatever the action is, the purpose is self preservation without excluding the health of others. That’s the goal, right? To be able to give but not wither.

And let’s not forget what many of us need to prepare ourselves for the holidays. My friends who worked as therapists referred to the holidays as “the busy season.” In the United States, it’s not uncommon for the winters to be exhausting, overwhelming, and not at all about turning inward. The crisp Fall becomes our invaluable time to restore our reserves and set our parameters. The better we know ourselves, the better we serve our communities. It can no longer be a “privilege” to say, “I need space” or “I need time.” Each of us deserves this right. If we recognize this for ourselves, we will honor it for others.

Kari Napoli, L.Ac

Photo Credit:  “Light Walk in October” by Hartwig HKD – https://flic.kr/p/5pU3oT

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