It is that time of year again, when the rains have begun (or the first layer of snow has already settled), and the clocks have changed, and it seems to be dark all the time. The news lately has been more than usually disturbing, with attacks on soldiers at home, and the fall from grace of a man we all thought we knew. And it is the season of remembrance. As Malcolm Guite puts it,
November pierces with its bleak remembrance
Of all the bitterness and waste of war.”
And here we are, only halfway through November, just trying to keep our heads up. It seems so easy to be an optimist in May, when the birds are singing and the tulips are competing with the daffodils to be the most cheerful flowers around. Or in August, with long evenings at the beach and plenty of time off to have fun.
But November requires special effort to keep the darkness in its place. How do you ward off the darkness? I tend to make an extra effort to seek out good news, and to get out in the sun whenever it appears. And I try not to cocoon at home, but get out and spend time with people. Some people wrap themselves in the season, taking it like a chosen break from the enforced cheerfulness of our culture. They stomp on fallen leaves, and listen to music that’s so sad it’s funny, and watch or read things that are darkly amusing, or just dark.
So, how about you? What do you do to maintain your mental health in November?