In pre-pandemic times, the hustle and bustle of everyday life makes stopping to contemplate nature an afterthought for many. But now, with roadblocks in place in many areas and social distancing guidelines eliminating timelines (or at least minimizing human interaction and social stimulation), these tides are changing, specifically with regard to sunset. If the wave of sunset in kaleidoscope tones on social media that I have seen in my feed on a daily basis are any indication, it seems that people have rekindled their love for the slowly setting sun. Perhaps this new appreciation of the natural world is a positive feature of COVID-19.
Talkspace therapist Elizabeth Hinkle, LMFT, says there is a psychological reason why sunsets on social media are abundant now: they provide a source of certainty in a world currently clouded by doubt. “We can count on the sun rising and setting daily, no matter what else is happening in our lives or in the world,” she says. “Humans like consistency, routine and predictability. Nature is a way of connecting with the world that seems safe to us, at a time when there may not be many other ways to do this.” This is also why you can get a closer look at the birds in your neighborhood or want to stroll every day.
“We can count on the sun rising and setting daily, no matter what else is happening in our lives or in the world.” —Happy Elizabeth Hinkle, LMFT
There is also an astrological perspective that shows why we are more excited about the sunset than usual. As the sun sets in the west, it is considered the “descendant” or the cusp of the seventh astrological “house”, which governs relations in astrology, says the astrologer and healer Rachel Lang. The cusp of the first house, or “ascending”, is on the opposite side in the east and represents the self. “Sunset, therefore, symbolically represents our desire to connect with others and go beyond ourselves to be in a relationship,” says Lang, adding that now, people who are lonely may be enjoying synchronicity of the sunset with your own desire to be. with others. Meanwhile, those quarantined with a loved one may feel especially lucky to have a partner all this time, when they look at the sky just before dusk.
Furthermore, there is also a scientific reason to explain why sunsets on social media and in real life are really better now – especially in the northern regions. First, the coldest months of the year have clear and turbulent sunsets due to the lack of humidity, meteorologist Stephen Corfidi, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said earlier Vox. And second, adds Corfidi, pollution dulls the sunset. So presumably residents of cities like Los Angeles, who may be experiencing cleaner air than normal due to the lack of business trips, they are also experiencing quite exceptional endings in their WFH routine in the form of a visual show in the sky.
No matter what belief system you choose to lean on to explain your new habit of chasing the sunset, Hinkle recommends treating your daily contemplation of the night sky as a genuine ritual. “Look for peaceful places in nature when possible – the less outside sounds in the world, like traffic, the better,” she says. “Limit other noises, because even conversation and music can be distracting. Tune in to the sights and sounds of nature. Watch what you hear, see, smell, taste, touch.” Then, she says, try a literal grounding practice by pressing bare feet on the ground while walking or standing.
By getting used to this moment of awareness, you will be able to find a daily bright spot, even in the dim light.