By Paige K Slighter
It’s a bit of an understatement to say Summer was a bummer. Now that Fall’s here, days are shorter, nights are longer and many of us are feeling the unpleasant fog of 2020 even more. We might feel “down in the mouth,” even if our frowns are hidden behind patterned masks. The weight of the world is pretty heavy these days as the news regularly reminds us. Though it’s good to be mindful and globally aware, it’s also healthy to take a break every now and then. Dwelling on darkness too long can send us spiraling into despair.
Sometimes the simplest pleasures can pull us out of a slump and redirect our focus. A great example of this is found in C.S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters, a satirical portrayal of human life from the viewpoint of two demons: Screwtape, the senior demon, and Wormwood, his understudy. At one point, Screwtape chastises Wormwood for allowing “the Patient” (the human he’s attempting to influence) some enjoyment. He says,“And now for your blunders. On your own showing you first of all allowed the patient to read a book he really enjoyed, because he really enjoyed it and not in order to make clever remarks to his new friends. In the second place, you allowed him to walk down to the old mill and have tea there—a walk through country he really likes, and taken alone. In other words you allowed him two real positive Pleasures. Were you so ignorant as not to see the danger of this?”
It’s quite comical to think of the devil’s henchmen trumped by a simple sip of tea and a sigh of delight, but gratitude and contentment are truly powerful emotions. So, if you’re looking to boost your mood, shake that funk and spoil the plans of the enemy… take our advice: have some fun.
Here’s a list of simple pleasures and activities you can try this Fall.
Sink Into Hygge
The concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) comes from Norwegian culture and ecompasses coziness and well-being. According to Danish author Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, the essence of hygge can be cultivated in ten ways. We’ve edited the descriptions to reflect some of our Kingdom values. Ultimately we know our peace and well-being are found in Christ, so we invite him into our hygge.
- Atmosphere: Create a cozy environment. Light some aromatic candles, get the fireplace going and curl up in a blanket.
- Presence: Minimize distractions. Turn off your phone and disable your social media notifications. Focus on God’s presence – he’s always right there!
- Pleasure: Enjoy some tasty treats and hot drinks, remembering that these good gifts are from our Father.
- Equality: What this really boils down to is loving others. Invite your friends and family into your hygge. Wiking describes it as, “‘We’ over ‘me.’”
- Gratitude: Take a thankfulness inventory. You can even contribute to our Fall Gratitude Journal. The deadline for submissions is this Sunday, but we’re willing to give an extension if you need it 😉
- Harmony: A better word for this might be humility. This is not a time to brag or compete with others.
- Comfort: Relax. Hygge doesn’t mean working harder to bake the perfect scone or buying a bunch of material things to be cozy. Work with what you’ve got and take deep breaths. Picture God holding you as a loving parent.
- Truce: Take a break from politics and drama. If you’re having a hard time relaxing, maybe it’s because you’re in conflict with someone and forgiveness needs to take place. Write a letter to this person. Maybe it’s something you share with them, maybe it’s not.
- Togetherness: Build stronger relationships with Christ at the center.
- Shelter: Find a place that brings you peace. Find people that make you feel welcome and safe.
The Great Outdoors
- Pay it forward by raking your neighbor’s yard.
- Embrace your inner kid and jump in a pile of leaves, but probably not your neighbor’s. That might be weird.
- Visit a pumpkin patch.Then decorate your pumpkin or make something yummy with it.
- Pick apples at an orchard. Then make pie, candied apples and/or apple cider.
- Take a drive or bike ride to see the fall colors.
- Go for a hayride and wander a corn maze.
- Camp in your backyard with your family during sunset. Later, when it’s dark, spot meteor showers.
- Play backyard football and tailgate with your family.
- Do leaf rubbings with kids!
- Create an autumn wreath.
- Knit or crochet something cozy .
- Take up cross stitch.
- Try diamond painting.
- Paint by number.
- Make your own Fall candles.
Whip Up an Appetite
- Make a pot of chili, stew or soup.
- Prepare a roast.
- Get into canning foods.
- Take a stab at an old family recipe and/or swap recipes with your friends.
We hope this list brings you some joy and inspires you to try a new, simple pleasure!
Note: We understand that deep sadness and depression can be debilitating. For some, simply getting out of bed can be a difficult task and doing “fun” things isn’t the cure. If you’re struggling with depression, we’d love to offer our prayers and support. At Woodland, we have ministries that provide counseling, helpful support groups and prayer. Your well-being is important to us!