Resist the temptation to nosedive into a programme of life-changing goals, and instead embrace the stillness of winter. Patience will pay dividends long term.
“Adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is Patience” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The month of January is well and truly entrenched in winter, a time when Nature hibernates or lies dormant, waiting for the energy of spring to awaken it and entice it into a new cycle of seasons.
Rather than being influenced by the natural ebb and flow of seasonal energies, however, us humans see the first of January as a fresh start, a launch pad. Getting out our diaries, it is literally a case of turning over a new leaf. Eager to undo the excesses of the Christmas festivities, and bad habits that took root sometime in the previous year, we make ourselves bold promises to change for the better. Often this includes resolutions to change our eating, to lose weight and even “detox”.
Whilst incredibly laudable, sadly a lot of our resolutions evaporate into the ether somewhere in the first week or two, in part, because we are working against natural energies which are encouraging us to rest and just be, but also, impatient to meet our goals, we try to achieve too much too soon, consequently becoming overwhelmed and giving up. Disappointment is hardly a good way to start our new year.
Spring is ideally the time to start new projects and certainly the best time for attempting a spring clean or detox. Winter, on the other hand, is our pause button. It’s a time for reflection and introspection, whilst reserving energy and keeping warm. It’s a time to be a human “being” and not a human “doing”. Within this stillness, ideas can gently percolate, eventually manifesting as something tangible in the spring time. A new project. Maybe something creative, maybe a personal development project, maybe a resolution to change our eating habits.
Without adapting to seasonal fluctuations, our daily life becomes same-old, same-old, and we can become not only stale but also burnt out. Our inability to pause after, say, a long period of working hard, eats into our reserves and long-term puts a strain on our bodies. Stress becomes a regular companion, and illness soon comes a-calling.
Sadly we aren’t bears, so cannot just retire to our cave and shut up shop for the winter. I wish!!!
It doesn’t mean that we have to sit there doing nothing health-wise but it’s advisable not to do anything extreme. We can instead make small steps to help ourselves, which can then make the transition to spring and our springtime eating plan / detox so much the easier.
Introducing more water, cutting down on sugar and stimulants, increasing our vegetable and fruit intake, and taking daily exercise, are all easy steps that can be made without being too dramatic!!
Allow yourself time to bed in a change, just one at a time, until it becomes second nature and you wonder afterwards how it was never always so! The Japanese have a word for this: Kaizen, which means “good change”. Continuous self-improvement in small steps can reap long-term healthy habits and with them, more vibrant health and wellbeing.
Allow winter to cradle you in her arms. Be gentle with yourself. Keep warm. Nurture yourself with warming foods and plenty of sleep.
“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” Stanley Crawford
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