In this season of rest and recuperation, we have put together some self-care rituals which allow you to fully embrace these gifts. Winter provides a wonderful opportunity to fully reflect on the past year while also looking ahead to the opportunities of a fresh new year, and here we will talk you through how to do just this.
TAKE A NAP
As the nights expand into Winter, the instinct to nap is more prominent than during the rest of the year. Yet we often feel that this is an instinct we must fight against, despite sleep being a natural resource offered to us by our bodies. As children, heeding the urge to sleep was something we would take for granted- and why wouldn’t we? After expanding energy it is necessary to top up before we can move forward, this is one of our most base needs as humans. However, as adults we have become programmed to believe that we don’t deserve rest – or that we simply can’t afford to take it, as we are in the habit of believing we need to constantly be doing, and achieving.
This way of thinking is actually less productive; without sufficient rest we will never be functioning at full capacity, and we will be more likely to lose motivation and feel drained or dispirited. We think like this because we are listening to ingrained societal pressure rather than to our own bodies. At Harmonizing we really emphasise the benefits of tuning into our body’s needs; it instinctively knows what is best for us, and yet we so often ignore what it is asking for. Our minds are vulnerable to cultural conditioning, but our bodies deal only in our personal truth.
This Winter we recommend taking the first step to addressing this by recognising the value of a good night’s sleep, and of taking naps. Realise that you deserve to rest; and that sleep is a gift that you earn every day. Try to address your misconceptions, and see sleeping as an opportunity to increase your productivity – as well as your sense of well-being. Winter is already doing everything it can to push you towards the idea of hibernation, and so embrace this and allocate yourself more early nights – and succumb to the urge to nap whenever it occurs. This will have the added benefit of aligning you more fully to the season, and so you will not only feel refreshed, but also more balanced in your energy and in your overall state of mind.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE LONG EVENINGS
While it may be easy to see the short winter days as a hindrance, concentrate instead on the flip side of this; we are being gifted with longer evenings. Some of these will be spent well by allowing yourself an early night, but look at the others as opportunities to pencil in time for those activities you usually feel you don’t have time for. You might fancy trying out some crafts – knitting is fantastic for relaxing, and the cold weather lends an added incentive to make something cosy! Or you could look into evening meditation exercises online. Meditation works wonders before bed, allowing you to release the noise of your day and access a deep sense of relaxation. Even by working ten minutes of meditation into your daily evening routine, you will begin to find some added clarity that will provide the perfect mindset for moving productively into Spring.
PLAN A DAY RETREAT
As we are recommending using this season to reflect and plan, as well as to rest and recharge, why not put some time aside to do just this for a full day? Allowing yourself a day to concentrate solely on yourself is a wonderful treat that we can gift to ourselves – in fact, we believe that this is so important that we are going to focus the rest of our self-care rituals for this issue on truly doing this justice.
• Plan Ahead
The first step in planning this full day retreat is to choose where you would most like to spend it. This might be as simple as spending the day in the comfort of your own home, or you might want to take yourself off for a drive, or go to a spa. Focus your day around relaxation, and aim to completely free yourself from everyday stresses and tensions that weigh you down. Use the opportunity of space and time to properly evaluate your mindset; to identify the factors in your life which drain you, and envision your dreams for the future.
We’ve put together a couple of exercises to help the flow of this; to ensure that your day retreat really brings you back to yourself, and is a productive and fulfilling use of your time.
• Detox your Life
This a really freeing exercise to complete during your you-time. Write out a list of everything that has gotten you down over the last year; identifying in particular anything that continues to drain you. If you then use the list to work from, you can devise ways in which you can begin to protect yourself more – this could be setting boundaries, saying no or distancing yourself from certain people, places or things. Focus in on the things that you found particularly challenging or upsetting, and write a new list of any positives you have gleaned from them in hindsight. It is important to forgive yourself over any fault you feel for any of these situations; recognising mistakes can help you move past them, but once you have acknowledged them you must put them behind you and don’t allow yourself to dwell on the past.
• Create a Visionboard
A vision board is simply a visual representation of how you would like your life to look and feel, created through collage. Designing one is a great method of uncovering and connecting with unconscious desires; it will help to focus your thoughts, ambitions and current sense of place.
To get started, buy a bunch of magazines and flick through them leisurely. Tear out any images that you feel a strong connection with, and begin to build up your board with them. Don’t approach this process by consciously looking for images of things you want; it works far better if you don’t have any preconceived ideas. Instead choose images that call out to you and grab your attention, without trying to rationalise the process. This way it will be your core spirit making the connection to the images, and so you may uncover subconscious needs or dreams. This is a great ritual for lifting your mood and your optimism, as it will likely leave you feeling inspired and excited about the future
• Go for a Nature Walk
Another great way to spend your day retreat is to simply get out into nature, and take yourself for a walk. As you explore, use the time for reflection and view it as a way of welcoming in the new year whilst connecting to the environment around you. Walking in nature is really powerful for aligning yourself to the energies of the natural universe; the colours and sounds ignite a connection within us that helps to restore and revitalise your natural balance – without you necessarily even realising.
In this weather it can be hard to make yourself feel like this is something you want to do, but it will be really worth it.
This article has been taken from our free digital magazine, Harmonizing Life. To receive a full copy of the magazine direct to your inbox, click HERE.
Articles for the current issue include : Self-Care Rituals • Nesting Tips •3 Time to Take a Life Inventory • Redesign your Resolution process – How to Align your Mind, Body and Soul • Winter Playlist • Yoga as an Antidote to the Chaos of Contemporary Life • Interviews with our Life Coaches •