Autumn is upon us! During this time of year, the days appear to be changing more rapidly than the long days of summer. Great transformation takes place before our eyes in the natural world. Leaves are quickly changing from greens to yellows, golds and reds. Daytime is shorter, nights are longer and cooler. The farmers’ markets are filled with a bountiful fall harvest. There is an abundance of colorful squash and freshly picked apples and persimmons. For those of us in colder climates, the first storms arrive with winds, rain, and perhaps even snow. During this magical time of the year, I’m reminded of this William Wordsworth quote, “Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.”
One of the gifts of this time of year is that nature can be our teacher. If we take time to pause, there is much for us to learn in this transition between seasons. By slowing ourselves down and taking pause to notice change, being more fully in the moment, we can experience more aliveness and presence. We can also experience a sense of awe, curiosity and gratitude.
Have you ever noticed this to be true for you?
I was recently rushing home after a long day of patient care, feeling quite tired after caring for over twenty chronic pain patients. After arriving home, I rode bicycles with my daughter to drop her off at her water polo practice. I usually rush back home, but this time, I was aware of trees that I normally do not notice. The large sycamores that provide a beautiful canopy over the bike path were turning brilliant shades of bright yellow, orange and red.
I stopped, rested my bike next to a tree, and took time to slow down, to connect with myself and the beautiful expressions of autumn. I took time to deeply experience and feel the transformation of colors. As I became more present, I was aware of feelings of gratitude for my life and my health, for the people closest to my heart, for my profession and being able to help care and support people who are suffering greatly. After just five minutes of slowing down and being present with the trees, I noticed a significant change in my body and mind, feeling more grounded, refreshed and recharged.
Spending time outdoors in nature has many scientifically proven health benefits including increasing brain function and creativity, stress-reduction, slowing down the effects of aging, mental wellbeing, and making us happier. This is why Wellness for Doctors’ hosts their CME retreats in beautiful places! Being in nature and surrounding ourselves in beauty helps our bodies, minds and spirits to rest and be nourished.
How do I recharge myself in just five minutes during a busy practice day?
One of the practices I will be teaching during the upcoming Rx: Wellness in the Redwoods retreat is an easy five-minute mindfulness recharge practice to slow down, become present to your senses, and recharge and restore your nervous system. This is a simple, yet powerful, practice that can be used during your lunch break or at the end of your day. It will bring you out of your head and back into your body, so that you can be more focused, present, grateful and refreshed.
The fall retreat for Wellness for Doctors is at The Presentation Center, nestled in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains with an abundance of redwoods and deciduous trees that will be peaking with fall colors. This will provide a glorious canvas for participants to experience rejuvenation as we connect with ourselves supported by the colorful transitions of nature. Please join us at Rx: Wellness in the Redwoods or one of our rejuvenating retreats where you will learn many practical tools for recharging during a busy practice day, so that you can be at your best, caring for yourself and your patients, your staff, and for the people most important to your heart.