Feeling safe during a time of transition and uncertainty in politics and society can be difficult. At such a time feeling a comforting connection to our home and nature is especially important. What to do?
During this autumn and winter we all are going through a time of transition and change. The outcome of the US election and post Brexit alone bring uncertainty in politics, society and our private lives. And let us not forget the varius issues in other regions of the world. That is on top of what you and I may already be facing in our private lives.
Wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever your views, an uncertain world can impact you, too.
That is why an attempt at welcoming ourselves home at this time of year (autumn and winter) and in these days of uncertainty and unrest across the world is important, and there are things we can do to make this happen.
Political and social uncertainty can lead to heightened emotions of fear, panic, vulnerability, anger, hatred, hysteria. These emotions eat away at our energies and in themselves carry negative energy, which can cause depression, anxiety and conflicts. We are not feeling safe.
Autumn and winter can also impact us in many ways:
- Socially, because of a change in activities.
- Relationally, because we may spend more or less time at home with relatives and friends, which can cause friction.
- Physically because of a change in diet, room temperature, more flu bugs etc going around, which can impact our general health, weight, skin, digestion, even our hair.
- Financially with higher outgoings due to heating and other seasonal expenses.
- Emotionally, if we are affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder), conflict in the home, loneliness, boredom, general dissatisfaction. Also time spent in the dark outside can make some feel more vulnerable and frightened.
When the prospect of spending more time at home during the dark and cold season is daunting, it is important to try and see this time as an opportunity: to give it meaning and purpose with the very conscious intention of feeling safe - physically and emotionally.
Depending on your circumstances you may think this is wishful thinking and impossible to achieve. You may not feel well and have financial, physical or emotional challenges in your life. Everything is just too much and too daunting.
We may not be feeling safe or have a positive connection to our own home - the location and environment, the neighbours, the people we live with, the history and memories, or just the feeling of the space.
Nevertheless, is it important for us and our home to feel part of and not separate from a greater context of life and especially the seasons, nature and life around us. Without that it is difficult to feel safe.
Allow me to share my own experience in order to make the point. A few days ago a crime was committed a stone throw away from our home. The culprits returned during the night, attempting thefts, causing damage, threatening our safety.
I was left terrified, helpless, a victim of circumstance, disempowered and not feeling safe in my own home.
At a time of great vulnerability it may not be easy to step up and beyond our fear, grief, frustration and anger. Our bodies and our homes may not feel safe and welcoming at all.
Not feeling safe at home can unsettle us in our 'self' down to 'the core' which some call 'soul'.
We may feel 'homeless' in our own home.
That is what I felt like very intensely after the crime, the following night and day. The threat started to affect my wellbeing and my relationship with my home.
I started to lose the soul connection to my home and to myself. I had to reclaim both.
I needed to start feeling safe in my home. I had to ban rational and irrational fear by considering realistic and practical steps to increase security at home and in my community.
We all are connected at any given time to a world and life that is beyond our own immediate circumstances. To connect with that reality can make us feel stronger.
A few rituals and mindful changes in your home may help you reclaim, strengthen and hold onto a connection between yourself and your home. The following suggestions are just some examples and you may be inspired to come up with your own ideas, that fit in with your mood, reality and life style.
- Cleanse your home physically. We do spring cleaning and clearing out. Why not do the same to make space for and welcome autumn, winter and your own troubled soul into your home? When we feel overwhelmed we need more space and less clutter.
- Cleanse your home spiritually. This can be done in many ways, depending on your preferences and beliefs with prayer, affirmations, sounds, dance, burning of incense and so much more.
- Create a place of light, ideally a light that is left on all day and night (like a battery powered tea light which is safe and comparatively cheap). The light is symbolic of the connection of life between you and your home. The light welcomes you home and stays behind when you leave. It is a predictable constant.
- Decorate at least one corner of your home with some seasonal offerings from nature. It does not need to be anything grand or expensive - a cone, a leaf, a branch, a chestnut etc. You can combine this with the light and again reinforce your sense of connection to nature, the seasons, life around and beyond you.
- As you retune and recharge your home to the season and make it a welcoming space also pay attention to retuning yourself to the season when you are outdoors: noticing the colours, air, smells, temperatures and sounds.
We are absorbing stimuli all of the time, some more or less helpful, some very toxic, some nurturing and healing. By recharging yourself you will automatically recharge the place you live in.
Depending on your living arrangements you may feel this all difficult to achieve. Especially, if others may frown upon these suggestions.
These home coming rituals can be discreet, very personal and subtle. Your attitude and open heart matters more than gestures.
To keep feeling safe in an uncertain world, we all need to work on affirming and stabilising who we are.
It may not change the world the way we would like it to be, but it will help us living more firmly in a changing world.
I wish you a nurishing and peaceful autumn and winter.
Karin Sieger is a psychotherapist and writer. Her blog is Between Self And Doubt.