The winter can be a hard season for many of us, but it can also become a beautiful time to reflect on change. Nature is resting, conserving energy so that it can grow new again in Spring. We can take a lesson from the natural world, too, choosing to rest and reflect as we prepare for our own new growth in the new year.
I've found that creating intentional change in my daily routine during the winter really helps make it feel less dreary and helps me focus on reflecting and setting intentions.
Both waking up and going to sleep in the pitch dark really gets to me after a few days, let alone the weeks and weeks of winter here in the PNW. We know that seasonal affective disorder is common at this time of year because we have less exposure to natural sunlight and the mental and physical health benefits that come with it.
I've been able to alter my schedule so that I'm waking up with the sunrise, around 7:30am. Seeing sunlight first thing always makes me feel calmer and more refreshed. I've also been taking advantage of every dry day we've been unusually blessed with this year. As long as it's not raining, I'm outside every day to walk Jupiter. Fresh air and sun on my skin does wonders for clearing the cobwebs and the blues that can come from feeling stuck inside for months.
Another thing that's helped me this winter is focusing less on productivity, including the business, and more on other creative projects that are more for me. I've been doing a lot of baking and knitting. I've been watching a lot of Disney movies. I've been taking naps. And I've been giving myself permission to do these things without guilt. Remember, your value and worth are not contingent on how much you perform or accomplish. The winter is a great time to practice this lesson, allowing yourself to slow down and do things that make you feel warm and cosy.
And finally, since straining my neck/upper back and pinching a nerve, my yoga practice has changed this winter. I thought I'd be really irritated that I can't do my regular practice (I am), but being forced to change my routine has allowed me to spend more time exploring a slower, more restorative practice. My body is absolutely loving all the extra stretching and deep holds that I'm normally guilty of glossing over.
Here are some ideas you might try to create intentional change in your routine as a way to add some more presence and purpose to this Winter season:
Trade one of your morning power showers for a long evening bath
Skip the gym and go for a contemplative walk, noticing the changes the winter brings to our area
Instead of stopping at your regular coffee place on the way to work, get up 5 minutes earlier and make a cup of coffee or tea, taking time to think about the process
Switch up one of your high-intensity workouts for a Restorative or Yin yoga class (We offer both at Lumiaire!)
Trade a dinner out for a kitchen date – prepare a meal together with your partner or kids
Bring natural materials in to decorate with so you can experience and appreciate the unique beauty of Winter: ceder and holly boughs, pinecones, and even bare branches are beautiful on mantles or tucked into vases
Wishing you a Winter that is full of intention, peace, and warmth.