On autumn and the importance of transitions for good digital wellbeing
Autumn is my favourite season of the year. Mother Nature prepares for winter sleep as the days grow shorter, which can feel sad for many. Entering this transition can be heavy in itself…however here, in the UK, the last two weeks felt even more solemn, somewhat darkened by the news of people dying and people being killed.
Additionally, I have changed. On Monday, I celebrated six years since my first counselling lesson and now, in the face of the final exams, I am feeling the fundamental shifts in my identity. I am coming back to integrate this new career into the Voxel Hub plans, needing time and space for reflection. I ventured on a journey into places of self-discovery I never knew existed. I spent so much time exploring psychology for liberation that the core ethical guidelines were already updated once.
When a new edition of an academic book is published, I feel somewhat surprised – has it been so long? Who am I now? Who was I back then? What has changed, and who have I become? What have I learned on the way, and what am I letting go of as I move forward?
And so I feel the personal loss and rawness of professional and personal growth, the perpetual sadness of collective grief and the attunement with Nature. I am slowing down to go softly. I am pulling out my winter jumpers and preparing my winter teas. I listen to the “Spell Songs”, allowing myself to cry when I hear the “Conker” song.
I am tidying up the allotment and trimming the willow trees to prepare for autumnal fires.
On Friday, I joined two eco-therapy groups (a morning and an evening one). Both groups did light the first fire, and it felt so wonderful to smell smokiness on my clothes all day.
Yesterday, I went for a walk with a friend and came home with pockets full of acorns I can now plant in my little garden pots.
Today, I went for a walk with a friend and came home with a bag full of blackberries and sloes – ready to make gin.
Autumn is here, and it is perfectly okay to experience the first feels of wintering. It is okay to feel sad and a little bit low, too, because we all know that after autumn comes winter – the time for all of us to slow down and restore in preparation for a new year ahead, for spring.
Marking transitions is incredibly important for our mental health. When we grow and change, we also leave something behind, which can often feel like loss or grief. It may be helpful to pay a little bit more attention to that process to allow our system to adjust, let go and move forward lighter. Life can feel richer, less rushed and more balanced if we pay attention to those moments of attunement with what’s going on in us and around us.
As it happens, transitions are also incredibly important for digital wellbeing. Without healthy, planned transitions, we may feel overwhelmed with all things digital: screens, content, Zoom meetings, online networking, notifications etc. Personally, I think we need to spend more time practising the skill of transitioning for healthy boundaries.
Q: How do you approach transitions? How can you make time and space to reflect on them as they happen? How can you mark them and plan for them? How can you build in time for conscious transitions from and to digital activities?
(Going out to pick berries, taking a few photos of them at home to share with friends and then putting the phone down to make some yummy gin may be a great way to practice transitions;))
This post was originally posted on Substack in our Syl’s Liberation Psychologies Newsletter