Have you noticed that everything shifts as the temperature gets colder? Your energy, your mood, even your self-care needs are shifting as the weather gets more and more chilly. And, if we don’t pay attention to those changes, we’re likely to do something unintentionally harmful merely because we’re not being mindful of the changes we’re feeling.
Joints are tighter and dryer – more “snap-crackle & pop” can be heard in the yoga class this time of year. And hydration is as essential as ever (maybe even more than in the heat of summer) because the spaces we occupy are so very dry and the temperature changes from outdoors to indoors are more dramatic. So, while movement is essential, this maybe the time to ease into a gentler practice and certainly take time for adequate fluids and rest between sessions.
Concentration may be sluggish – as your brain adjusts to the darkness at the start of your day and the darkness at the end of your day, it is easy for our thinking to feel like it isn’t keeping up with demand. Add to that the opportunity for many of us to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) it is important to check your Vitamin D levels (commonly obtained from sun exposure) and your mood in general – could you use a little time in front of a light box (full-spectrum light) or maybe a little more sleep?
Appetites for comfort foods may be in hyper-drive. It isn’t that we’re hibernating mammals, but some days it feels like it! We’re craving those high-carb, high-fat, comfy flavors that our friends the brown bears are searching for before their long winter’s sleep. We don’t get that prolonged sleep and we don’t actually need the additional calories that comfort foods supply, but we may feel (emotionally) like we do because the weather feels harsh, and we need a little love. Unfortunately, love is actually not available in food (no matter what your mother taught you!).
So what are the changes you’re noticing? Are you tired, grumpy, sleepy or feeling like another of the Seven Dwarfs? Be sure to notice those changes, take care of yourself in a responsive and mindful way. Recognize that we’re creatures of habit and also creatures who need care and compassion (including self-compassion) especially at those critical times when the seasons of our life are changing!
Bundle-up and take care!