The clocks went back a week or so ago which means that Winter is on its way. For me I see the Autumn and Winter as the time to slow down and hibernate as we transition from one season to another.
Nature does this so well and there was a time in our history before the world got so hectic and manic that as humans we use to hibernate well.
It seems particularly apt that at the time of writing this blog we are on the verge of going into a second lockdown in the UK. For some of us who find Winter and the thought of hibernation a gloomy prospect, what can we do that will help us embrace and even enjoy all of what hibernation can bring and the positive impact it can have on our wellbeing.
The key in all of this is to keep it simple. At the moment life is forcing us to simplify our lives whether we want this to happen or not. If we can take control of this ourselves it will help us to feel more calm and less stressed, perhaps bring some known into the unknown if we create an environment that will work for us over these next few months.
2020 has been the year that has seen unprecedented challenges. A year where stress, anxiety and depression has dramatically increased. A year where our way of life has fundamentally changed and more of us are spending more time in our homes.
For this reason, we need more than ever to have that hibernation period. A time where we rest and slow down to maximise our energy to support us in the dark days and long nights.
So below are a few ideas:
- Have a go at embracing hygge
The Nordic cultures do this well and considering they rank one of the highest in the world for happiness and their work-life balance, then there is something to note here. Pronounced “hoo-ga” which, according to dictionary.com means “the feeling of coziness and contentment evoked by simple comforts”.
Hygge is about embracing the time we are spending at home and making it a cosy place to be in those dark afternoons and nights. Introducing blankets and throws to snuggle in, lighting scented candles and drinking hot chocolate or whatever your favourite warm drink is, are some ideas to get that cosy feeling in your home.
- Allow yourself more sleep
Try going to bed half an hour or even an hour earlier to get some extra sleep in. At this time of year with more hours of darkness our bodies naturally want to sleep more – so go with that. You will have more energy because of it.
- Learn to slow down and embrace rest
What helps improve our sleep is how much rest we undertake during the day. As Claudia Hammond, author of “The Art of Rest: How to find respite in the Modern Age” says “being busy isn’t a badge of honour – and taking time out is definitely not lazy”. Finding times to rest during our day brings many benefits for our health, wellbeing and productivity, but unfortunately we seem to have got in to a place where we tell ourselves we can only rest if everything is done on our to do lists. But, if you are anything like me, your to do list never ends and actually we really need to accept that we are never going to get to the end of our to do list. This is something I still need to work on but I am increasingly accepting that I will always have a to do list and one of the most important things I can do for my wellbeing is to ensure I have regular times when I rest during the day.
Now when we say rest, this is doing something that helps you relax and switch off. This for me could be walking, doing some yoga, reading or I am an advocate of yoga nidra - a deep relaxation technique that allows you to rest but still be aware.
- Befriend your breath
The breath is the simplest and most accessible for us, but many of us are not utilising it fully. For many of us we see breathing as something that just happens if we are blessed with good health. However, breathing is something that we can control and by increasing our understanding of breathing, it can significantly impact the quality of our physical and mental states.
As part of our self-care and slowing down regime, try spending 5 mins on breathwork as part of your morning routine.
A good starting point is the 3-4-5 breath where you breathe in for 3, hold for 4 and breathe out for 5.
- Get outside in nature
It is natural in the Winter months to want to stay indoors as much as possible. However, so many studies are now showing us the positive impact being in nature has on our physical and mental health.
Forest bathing is a Japanese practice and process of relaxation. Studies have shown that by simply walking and spending time in nature can help us de-stress and boost health and wellbeing in a natural way.
When you are out walking try turning off devices to give yourself the best chance of relaxing and being mindful. Try slowing down and taking time to observe your surroundings – taking in the beautiful colours that the trees are displaying at this time of year. Do some conscious breathing to make sure you are taking in some good oxygen and make sure you stop, stand, or sit and smell what’s around you.
• Practice meditation at the start of the day
Meditating daily particularly when waking in the morning, can create a good start to your day. Even just doing some conscious breathing like the 3-4-5 breathwork will be beneficial for 5 minutes or click here for one of my guided meditations
If you want to find out more about meditation and how this practice can increase your overall wellbeing, or you would like to learn more and develop your own practice then get in touch by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or keep in touch to see what courses and meditation classes we offer through our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/JustB... or Instagram page @justbeemeditate.