I notice that in winter, I’m generally more lethargic and it takes much more effort for me to get moving each day than it does in the warmer months of the year. (If I were a wild animal, I’d be a bear, deep in hibernation!) Given that, my self-care decisions also need to be adjusted to match the season.
Now, in the depth of winter, I need more blankets to wrap around myself, more tea to keep myself hydrated and warm, more rest (although that may also be a factor of age, not merely the season) and more carbohydrates, so choosing healthy carbs has to be part of the plan.
As the days begin to lengthen and temperatures warm up, walking outside becomes less of a danger (for frostbite & for falls) I’ll adjust again. I’ll notice I need more protein and find myself searching for vegetables that remind me of springtime like sprouts and carrots and celery.
By summer, my self-care will include measured time in direct sunlight (drinking up that free vitamin D the sun offers us) and the switch to iced beverages, more salads with interesting vinaigrette dressings, and fresh stone fruits that sing of summer.
Self-care is every conscious action you take that feeds your soul, nourishes your body, nurtures your spirit, or replenishes your relationship with yourself!
Other adjustments I find myself making include tending to my emotional life differently as the seasons progress. As someone caught up in perpetual sadness (you’ll remember, my husband has Alzheimer’s disease) I long for the warmth & comfort of sunlight.
In winter, a full-spectrum light can be an effective tool to boost my mood against Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and in summer, the sun does its job on my skin as well as my psyche. In the spring & fall, I find myself far more interested in outdoor walks, explorations of paths and trails I’ve not visited before, and eager to take in the bursts of color that emerge as these seasons reveal themselves anew.
What adjustments have you made to your self-care routines? Are you attentive to the big and small changes your body/mind longs for? Are you willing to change your patterns to give yourself what’s needed NOW, and not cling to rituals and routines that may not serve you in the current season?
We all go through changes, we are living, dynamic beings. Our self-care needs to change with us and be responsive to the place where we find ourselves TODAY.
- What are you doing to LISTEN to your body/mind’s needs?
- Are you making the required adjustments or simply wondering why you feel out-of-sorts?
- Do you need help interpreting what your body/mind is telling you and attending to its messages?
- Can you read the more subtle cues you’re receiving and make the changes that are being requested by your body/mind?
I am privileged to live in Minnesota, a part of the world that celebrates all four, beautiful, bountiful seasons. Learning to appreciate each of them and adjust to how they land on my body/mind has become an important part of my self-care planning & preparation. Each season calls for something new, something that represents the demands on my body/mind and the resources available at the time.
Wherever you find yourself, it may be a good time to check-in with your body/mind and ask what it needs. Taking the time to fine-tune your self-care strategies can make all the difference in your ability to engage with nature, enjoy whatever season you find yourself living through, and respond to the changes you experience along the way.