Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

By Quinn Nystrom, MS

Fall in our area is a breathtaking event. When the heat of summer fades, and cooler temps take over, it signals the trees that a time of transformation is near. Their normal leafy foliage shifts from bland green to a symphony of blazing oranges, yellows, and reds. But within a few short weeks, the color festival is over as the leaves detach from their branches and drift to the ground.  

They let go in such a gentle and beautiful way. And with no regrets.

Spring is often viewed as a time of rejuvenation and a fresh start, but autumn is regarded as the perfect time to wrap up projects and finalize loose ends before the New Year arrives. Many people also use fall as a time to look back and reflect on what hasn’t served them well over the last ten months and use that wisdom to prepare for the next 12 that will be gifted to us after the New Year. Like a tree shedding its leaves, we humans can use this time to “let go” and transform as well. In reality, the trees are showing us a valuable lesson right this very moment.

Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.

Autumn is an excellent time to take stock of life and leave behind anything that is stopping us from being the best version of ourselves. As the seasons change, the chapters in our lives are likely changing as well. Some are good changes and others are a little tougher to navigate. But the “seasons” of our lives are similar to nature’s…and we need to pay attention and have the courage to let go of what is holding us back.

Sometimes this process of taking a step back and looking at life can be an uncomfortable one. Asking ourselves the hard questions like, “do I like where I’m going?” or “are there situations, people, or habits that try to pull me down?” can make us squirm in our seats. But the trees know, in order to grow and flourish, they need to lose pieces of themselves in order to be full and vibrant again in a few months.

So as you pull out your hoodies and sweaters and even start thinking about the holiday season, make a point to think about some renewal for yourself. Use the handful of months before January 1 as a time to pause and shed what you’ve been carrying in the way of frustration, disappointment and maybe some good old-fashioned worry. Then take stock in how well you’ve done, how far you’ve come, and what could make the next year even better.  The trees are the perfect example of how beneficial it is to make your burdens lighter and set them free. The trees know that letting go is the secret to inner success and a truly happy existence.

It can be a beautiful thing to let things go. Embrace it…you will feel better when you do.