As we head into the last few weeks of winter ask yourself…
Am I coming out of this season of restoration and connection feeling revived…
…or do I merely feel like I’ve survived an overwhelming feeling of depletion?
During winter we are intuitively drawn to slow down, pull inward and nourish ourselves on the deepest levels. We have celebrations to connect with the people we love the most. We spend time reflecting on the year past and setting intentions moving forward. We sleep more and crave heavier foods like energy-building carbs and lubricating fats. Just like the natural world around us, we move into a state of healing dormancy.
And yet we often fight through our impulses and get caught up in “doing” the holidays, over-extending ourselves to connect more rather than deeper. Perhaps we come into the season already amped up from running on false energy (rather than the true energy of adequate nourishment) and we continue to draw on over-taxed reserves.
Slowing down and connecting to our deeper desires can seem like one more impossible task on an already overwhelming to-do list.
We experience this same energy each month as we move from our inner winter – menstruation – to the inner spring of pre-ovulation. If we’ve taken the time to get adequate rest during our entire cycle, then we are able to slip into a few days of deep restoration and inner awareness while our body does the work of shedding the her uterine lining. What’s no longer needed is witnessed and released, both physically and emotionally.
Did you know one of the theories as to why women live longer than men is due to the monthly “detox” of shedding the uterine lining? I suspect that if we’ve stretched our hormones to their upper limits that we don’t get as clean a bleed, that months, maybe years of unshed cells create a toxic sludge that we’re carrying around in our energetic power center. That puts a whole new urgency to getting adequate rest, doesn’t it?
I notice that if I try to short-change my monthly period of rest, jumping up to “get stuff done” as soon as I have the smallest spark of energy, I’m also choosing to feel over-drawn and depleted the rest of my cycle. If, instead, I engage in intentional restoration during my bleeding days and take it very slow, I can more gracefully use the energy ebbs and flows of my remaining cycle. I’m finding this to be even more crucial as I experience the growing intensity of peri-menopausal hormonal shifts. Think of it as a winter dotted with weekly storms of 2 feet of snow. If I’m not prepared then those “storms” can really block any productive energy I can muster.
Use these last few weeks of winter to really practice intentional restoration. Here are a couple of things to try:
1. If you’re in a good place with your energy and feeling a natural rise in motivation to “prepare the soil” – awesome!!! Give yourself a big pat on the back and keep it up. Resist the impulse to do a complete spring overhaul, at least for a few more weeks. Use this energy to get clear on an intention that is longing to emerge and that is looking for your full commitment. Start to research any information you might need to put your intention into action. Prepare or gather your tools. Share your intention within a supportive community and start to simply feel what it’s like to breathe life into it.
Bonus: look ahead at your schedule for the next few months and make sure it includes some fun activities you can look forward to.
2. If you are coming into the spring season feeling depleted you’ll still probably have a sense of wanting to take action; it just might feel a bit more edgy, maybe like a “should” or something that pushes your overwhelm button. That’s ok. Take this as a signal that’s pointing you towards a small shift that can have a powerful impact on building back up your energy reserves.
Choose one (ONE, I mean it!!!!) thing from this list that you know you can commit to.
Get clear on any barriers you might have to making this small shift part of your everyday life and come up with a plan for addressing them.
Gather any tools you need to make the habit something you look forward to making a regular part of your daily routine. For example, buy that set of adorable mason jar mugs you’ve been eyeing because they are going to make you smile everyday when you have your morning water.
Identify a start date on your calendar and write it in everyday until it becomes an automatic part of your routine.
Share your plan with a friend and see how it feels to know you are doing one simple and powerful thing to nourish yourself.
Extra Credit (because I know you are a high-achiever and you love gold stars!!!!): explore these same small shifts during your monthly bleed, or during the three days before and following the new moon.
Every turn around the sun and each month you get the opportunity to slow down, connect to what really matters, and to get insight into what needs to happen next. Why not make the most of it this time around?