I was thinking this morning that we – in the developed world – live backwards. In the summer, when nature is at its most active, is when we take our break. We have off from school, we take vacations and lie on the beach. Then, in winter when nature is at its least active, when it slumbers and rests, we speed up. We go back to school, back to work, and we take on the holiday season, dealing with crowds, traveling, and getting generally stressed out. It’s no wonder that we feel exhausted and depleted. We are part of nature and our bodies have rhythms that move with the seasons but we ignore those rhythms.
This line of thought led me to consider how to get closer to my natural rhythm while living in the world. I certainly don’t want to give up the holidays. I really enjoy them. I like to spend time with my family, I like all the wonderful food and the other rituals that come with the season, and I like gift giving. It’s very satisfying to find or create just the right gift. Then there’s those daily obligations that do not go away just because it is winter.
So I’ve made a list (I love lists) of things that I can do to scale back and allow myself more time for rest and looking inward.
Go to bed a little earlier – by 10pm whenever possible.
Take naps when I can.
Visit the park at least 3 times a week.
Avoid excess caffeine and sugar.
Eat seasonal food.
Sit in stillness and quiet at least 10 minutes every day.
Prepare herbal remedies I might need ahead of time.
Don’t make a giant list of things to make for the holidays.
None of this is onerous, I just have to stick to it. The only one that is really tough is that last one. It’s so easy to get carried away with plans for lovely baked goods and knitted gifts. On the other hand, the second to last item is a joy.
My list of remedies is short. I like to make a wild cherry bark and licorice syrup and slippery elm lozenges for my throat, eucalyptus and rosemary salve for putting on my chest and under my nose for stuffiness, and some herbed bath salts for soaking stress away.
I’ll let you know how it’s going as we move into December.