By: Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA
I know that we are STILL in this pandemic, BUT places are slowly starting to open up again, AND guess what?! Spring is around the corner! That means BRIGHTER days are ahead — THANK goodness! I don’t know about you, but this winter has been one of the most difficult winters that I have experienced in a LONG time, and from the conversations that I have had with others and the things that I have seen online, I KNOW that I am not alone in eagerly anticipating the brighter days ahead.
Many have shared that this lock-down was different from the previous one we experienced last March. While you would think that this time around it would have been easier because we had been here before, and knew what to expect, it turns out that being confined to our homes during a dreary, cold, and dark season only heightened our feelings of disconnection and despair and further contributed to the heaviness that many of us felt.
While I have never been happier for the clocks to spring forward, I must be fully transparent; historically, I dreaded this time of the year. Who needs to lose an hour?! That precious time could be spent doing something like SLEEPING! On some days, it can feel like there are already not enough hours in the day. Mama, do you feel me?! #MomLife. But this year, I am choosing to look at it as one more hour of (sun) light. Outside of that mindset tip, have you considered some of the ways that you can support yourself and your family during this seasonal transition?
Later this month, we will see the first day of spring. Do you participate in any rituals to welcome the spring equinox? Many people use this opportunity to spring clean their homes. I invite you to apply this beyond your physical environment and extend it to your mental, emotional, and spiritual spaces. Think about what you’d like to see more of in your life over the next 30, 60, 90 days. What habits, tools, resources, and / or support will you need to help you get there? What do you need to release? These are some of the things that you can think on or even journal about. Reconnect with your intentions on a daily, weekly, or as needed basis; and modify them accordingly.
Exercise self compassion.
I share this a lot because it is SO important and not done enough but I implore you to be gentle with yourself, and to take all the time that you need to support yourself and your loved ones. Meet yourself where you are, and ask yourself: what are you needing during this time?
One thing you can do to practice self-compassion is meditate. Sit up tall, and put your left hand over your heart and your right hand over your abdomen. Inhale slowly through your nose, exhale slowly through your mouth, and say the following: “I accept myself as I am”. Repeat the breathing exercise and then say: “I accept my life as it is.” You can repeat this breathing technique and add others phrases that support you; such as, “I am enough”; or you can recite the two I shared and sit with it for at least 5 minutes. If 5 minutes is too much, start with 1 minute; and make it a part of your daily routine.
Speaking of exercise, have you been moving your body? If you haven’t been, that’s OKAY. Keeping up with an exercise regimen can be challenging for some, doing so during a pandemic and in the winter can be more than enough to deter anyone.
Whenever I intend to complete a task and for whatever reason am unable to do so, I always think of the following Chinese proverb that states: "the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” In other words, start today!
As the temperature rises and the sun is out for a longer period of time, you may feel inclined to go outside and get some fresh air (I HIGHLY recommend this, it is so beneficial to various aspects of our health). A good way to start is by simply walking around the block, or down the street and back to your home. Whatever works best for you!
One of my favourite parts of the evening is my “power down hour” bedtime ritual; which consists of (in no particular order): disconnecting from all electronics, putting lavender essential oil (or another calming oil) in the diffuser, having a cup of hot chamomile tea while writing; either in my planner for the next day or in my journal to clear my mind for bed. I also spend a few moments doing breathing exercises — simply breathing in and out, and stretching my body.
Taking the time out to practice this self care ritual helps prepare me for a restful night’s sleep. I invite you to create your own calming bedtime routine and notice how the quality of your sleep improves.
Hydrate and nourish your body.
One way that you can do this is by eating foods that are in season. A tool that I use to get seasonal updates on fruit and vegetable availability for when I’m making my grocery list is this resource from Foodland Ontario.
As always, these are merely suggestions. Take what you want and leave the rest. Please make sure you are caring for yourself in whatever way that looks like for you.
Brighter days are ahead, hang in there Mama!
Stay safe and be well.
Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA
Certified Transformational Coach | Certified Essential Oil Specialist | Certified ARōMATOUCH Practitioner | 200 YTT , Wholesome Mind Health Coaching