Our tendency is to bulldoze our way through each calendar year, by more or less ignoring the cyclical nature of birth (spring), growth (summer), harvest (autumn) and decay (winter). Modern Western culture expects us to be the same every day – look after our families, go to work, be productive, race around, get things done – but we’re not the same every day. Humans, like nature, are cyclical beings. We are in a constant state of rise and fall. We are deeply affected by the natural energy of the changing seasons, the moon, the tides and our own monthly cycles. So if you want to live to your fullest potential, and do so in a healthy and wholesome way, it is time to tune into the natural energy of winter.
In winter, you need to give yourself permission to slow down. You need to rest – to be barren like the winter earth – to stop bull-dozing through life like a productivity machine. The animal kingdom are our teachers here, as they instinctively understand that winter is a time of hibernation and retreat.
My cat Palmerston (@diplomog) has got resting down to a fine art (eye roll)
Here are three practical tips for adapting your daily routines to the winter season:
1. Time outdoors: As the saying goes: ‘There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes’. Make sure you spend time outside in nature, allowing your skin to drink in the vitamin D of the sun, as this is essential for your emotional and physical well-being. Breathe in the fresh crisp air, and listen to any intuition that arises within you. The trees hold much wisdom in their crone winter season, and if you listen carefully and patiently with an open heart, you may hear their teachings. You will need to adjust your daily routines towards going outdoors around mid-day, in accordance with the shorter darker days. And if the weather is severe and inconvenient, approach it as an adventure!
2. Adapt your routine: Linear masculine work patterns of 9 till 5 do not respect and revere this winter cycle – this slowing down – this time for reflection and deep healing. You need to proactively make decisions to put your feet up, lose yourself in a delicious duvet cocoon, cosy up with a blanket and a book, have a hot bath, go to bed early, or drink hot chocolate by a roaring fire. Also boost your natural immunity by eating foods that are nourishingly wintery (e.g. soups, pies, root veg stews).
3. Winter yoga: Yoga is good for you in all seasons (I would say that as a yoga teacher)! But a practice like yin yoga is a wonderful self-care practice to do regularly during winter, as it encourages you to soften, to be still and to rest deeply. Why don’t you challenge yourself to try it out…? I have several weekly yoga classes, and lots of workshops and retreats in Hampshire in the diary. I also have a free winter meditation that you can listen to in that hot bath you were going to run for yourself: http://www.sherinshe.com/yoga/