It’s usually this time of year, where I start to feel a little burnt out. Energetically, emotionally, physically exhausted, with little left to give. Sometimes it manifests as a cold, sometimes as anger, sometimes as apathy, and often as lethargy. And I know for many people, this time of year can be challenging – the excitement and inertia of the new year has worn off, you’ve maybe fallen off the bandwagon of your resolutions, and the winter & snow is still here, making us more reclusive, and less active. I’m finally starting to recognize this pattern, and see why & where it starts. The long winter season (though I do love it), is often very busy, with holidays and cramming in family visits, planning & preparing for the new year, and even spending time getting out to play in the snow – all add up. Mentally and emotionally, increased life and work demands pile up quickly and increase stress. So there’s the personal factors, but then we compound that with the changing of seasons, and the time change, that shift in our foundations even in the slightest way, and you’ve got a bit of a perfect storm.
But why would the changing of seasons be difficult on us – especially when the new season has been so long awaited! Simply put – because it’s change. We get used to something (even if it’s not what we want or like), and settle into our “comfort zone”, and then the idea alone of changing that can be daunting. The mind gets caught up in all sorts of reasons why the change will be hard or undesirable, and compounding the stress. There’s also the physical adjustments in your body that come with the changing seasons. Winter is a dormant season, and so too, our physical systems and energy are naturally slower moving, stagnant, or sometimes even stuck. And as we move out of winter & into spring, we’re bringing in more movement, expansion, and growth. So the stagnant, sticky things require more of an initial push to get going.
It makes sense then why we’re affected by seasonal changes, and why we might be feeling a little extra pressure, stress or dis-ease at this time of year. The trick then, is to bring in some practices that will help you to align more with the coming season, and transition through this change with ease. There are a many approaches, and habits that can be integrated into your routine, that will allow you to thrive and maintain optimal vitality and health through this shifting time. Some general rules of thumb, that are consistent through many disciplines, are:
1. Listen to Your Body.
Our body’s have a natural alignment with nature, and are always providing insight and information into where you’re at and what’s going on, you just need to be able to listen. However, the ability to “tune in” to our bodies has become more and more difficult in these modern times, with so many distractions. Which is why practices like yoga, meditation, and general mindfulness become even more important. Practices that give you the time and tools to pay attention to the cues of your body, serve you beyond just the practice itself – they allow you to more easily tap into that state of self-awareness and stay “tuned in” more regularly. Listening to the cues of your body, will guide you towards what you need to support your unique system in the season of change. Maybe it’s more activity, maybe it’s more rest, maybe it’s more light, maybe it’s rising early or eating differently – likely many of these things will be “speaking to you” at this time of year, but your body will know best, and it’s important to listen to what you truly need.
2. Stay Active.
As mentioned before, the dormant energy of winter creates stagnant, or even “stuck” areas in our systems (physical body, mind, energy, etc), that may need a bit more of a boost to get moving into the spring energy. The easiest way to bring mobility into the systems and energy of the body, is to move your body. Get active in whatever way you enjoy – maybe running, snowboarding, going to the gym, climbing, or yoga, whatever your preference, if you put some energy in, you’ll be surprised by how much energy you get back in return! As you break up the stagnant energy and bring some mobility into your body, you’ll get a surge of that spring energy for growth & perseverance.
3. Prioritize Sleep & Rest.
The change of seasons and additional stressors this transition brings, can be taxing on your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and illness. Making sure you get enough rest each night will help your body to recover from the day’s stress, and stay strong and healthy into Spring. In addition, as we move into the “buzzing” energy of spring, some people may feel the excitement and energy of the season more than others, and may end up doing too much, too quickly. As you get ready for the coming season, ensure you also give your body adequate time to relax and restore to keep you balanced while you transition from the heavier winter energy to the more active spring energy.
4. Spring Cleaning.
We’ve all heard the term, usually in reference to your home, or office, or another space. Maybe start by spring cleaning your home & cupboards, which will certainly help to remove any “stale” or unneeded items & energy, and maybe inspire you to go deeper. Get rid of any old clothing that you no longer like / fit, expired supplements and vitamins, old grocery items you won’t use, books you’ve read and don’t want to keep, or any Thing that doesn’t serve it’s purpose in your life anymore. These items not only take up physical space, but carry an energetic weight in our homes & lives as well. Cleaning your home & removing items, helps to create space (again physically & energetically) for the new, growth, and expansion, to align with the spring!
5. Eat Fresh Seasonal Foods!
As much as you can, it’s helpful to eat foods that are in season, and even better, if they’re locally grown. Locally sourced foods save a huge amount of resources in getting the food to your plate, but more than that, they have the greatest nutritional value, as they’re fresher, and spend less time in a box or on a shelf. Eating seasonally, brings in nature’s wisdom to your diet and body. The foods that grow in season, are the ones that nurture your body the best through the seasonal change. A few fresh seasonal foods you may try incorporating into your diet during this spring transition are: Asparagus, Apricots, Arugula, Rhubarb, Radishes, Spring Onion, Mustard Greens, Potatoes, Strawberries, and any Wild Foraged foods. For some great healthy recipes with these foods, check out this great blog post HERE.
I hope this helps you to stay balanced during the seasonal change. We’ll look forward to sharing practice with you in class, and continuing to support your health and wellbeing this Spring & beyond!
Love & Light