When I hear the same message coming from multiple clients’ lips’ I know it’s time to bring that theme to the surface so we can open it up for discussion. Though we find ourselves in a season that is full of celebration and joy for many, quite a few folks are confessing to feeling tired, anti-social, a little down, and like they’d rather just stay home in their cozy nest with a cup of hot tea and a good book instead of participating in the season’s festivities. Many even add guilt to the list for having these feelings in the first place during a time that they “should be” happy and more social.
There are many reasons that these emotions may be surfacing. Lots of folks are feeling depleted by overworking or over committing. For some the holidays are challenging to say the least because of family dynamics or losing loved ones. Others feel like it’s impossible to sweep tumultuous current events under the rug long enough to tap into the holiday cheer. Maybe you don’t celebrate the prevalent, winter holidays and feel a little bombarded every time you go out in public or turn on the radio or T.V. These reasons are usually obvious enough that we can put our finger on them, but what if you don’t know why you’re feeling this way. That can be even more distressing!
Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture. We humans are part of a larger ecosystem and can gain perspective from what is happening in nature right now. For those of us in the northern hemisphere winter is all but upon us. The daylight hours have dwindled, making room for more darkness. The weather is cooler if not literally freezing. Most vegetation has gone dormant and wild animals have slowed down to conserve their energy.
And what are most of us doing? We push pass the natural fatigue that sets in when the sun goes down so we can catch a second wind because “It’s only 5:30”. Many folks become even busier than usual with end of the year work obligations, holiday preparations, and social gatherings. This is all while the cold weather puts a little more stress on our bodies as we do our best to stay warm and our immune systems are working harder to keep us well.
No wonder we’re tired! No wonder we might feel a little withdrawn and would rather stay home to rest than be “on”! CUT YOURSELF A LITTLE SLACK LOVE!
Nature is setting the example of how we can conserve our energy and stay well throughout the winter months. Even the increase in dark hours reflect our emotional & spiritual opportunity to explore our own personal dark places. The possible regrets, mistakes, negative self-talk… Where do these feelings stem from? How can we bring new light so that we can transform them?
The Winter Solstice, which is December 21st this year, is a day of equal daylight and dark hours. In reverence & celebration we like to focus our energy on reflection, taking inventory of the happenings of the last year and how we’re feeling physically & emotionally. Since the sun will slowly reemerge, staying with us a little longer each day after the solstice, we also ground ourselves in our intentions and make plans to work towards our goals for the new year.
So, what do you say? Are you ready to tap into the themes of the season instead of fighting against them? Let’s band together in the name of foundational self-care! Who’s with us!?!
• Let’s prioritize those 7-8 hours of sleep every night!
• Let’s make sure we stay hydrated, switching to room temp or warmer water and decaf herbal teas when cold water just doesn’t sound good.
• Let’s nourish ourselves with whole, REAL foods on a daily basis so that the holiday indulgences don’t take such a physical toll.
• Let’s use tools like movement, yoga, & medicinal herbs to support our bodies during busy or stressful times. (Check out the primo examples below : )
• If you celebrate the holidays find ways to do so sustainably by possibly scaling down, delegating, and sharing in prep & responsibilities.
So, what’s the big picture message? Be gentle with yourself. Feel all the feelings. Listen to your body. Slow down as you need to. Don’t let expectations get in the way of basic self-care. Put simply, YOU DO YOU BOO and reach out if you could use some support. We gotchu!
My Yoga Pose of the Season
Since we are committing to slowing down & recouping our energy extended child’s pose (utthita balasana) is the pièce de résistance. This asana pose provides a sense of safety, like a turtle pulling into its shell, and allows us to tune inward more easily when the world is spinning around us. I will even utilize it out of the context of a whole yoga session right smack dab in the middle of a workday if I need to ground myself in between clients.
Simply find your way onto all fours on a comfortable surface with the tops of your feet facing down. Ease your hips back towards your heels, extend your arms out long in front of you, and bring your forehead towards the ground. Take at least three long, deep breaths here.
This pose should feel totally comfortable and should allow you to fully relax so listen to your body. If there is any discomfort try making some changes like widening your knees, bending your arms to cross in front of you to support your head, or putting a cushion or blanket under your hips or ankles.
I’m sure once you try it child’s pose will become one of your favorites too! If you’re not new to yoga I’m sure its already one of your best allies : )
China Rose Zamora is a functional nutritional therapist, clinical herbalist, & yoga teacher who has worked in the holistic health field since 1998 and has proudly served her community as China Rose Wellness since 2009. When she’s not coaching women to rise to their health potential, practicing herbal alchemy, traveling the country via mobile tiny house teaching inspirational workshops to demystify wellness, or co-facilitating transformational retreats with AJ, her-eco warrior partner in adventure, you can find her meandering on the nearest hiking trail or jammin’ at a local, live music venue. China Rose is a firm believer that wellness encompasses everything that nourishes us, body & soul!