How to practice - Seasonal Self Care
Self Care Series
It doesn’t really matter what season we are in, what matters is that we are taking the time to incorporate self care practices into our lives that help us to move forward each day, practices that keep us strong and ultimately protect us. The better our self care routines the less likely we are to get sick, overwhelmed, or stressed.
Self care can be about deep awareness, getting in contact with your inner self to heal and protect the parts of us that may be feeling just a little bit tender, the parts that need tender loving care.
For those of us living in the uk, or any country where the seasons throw us about with cold, dark and wet weather, there is a real possibility of suffering from September onwards. Some people are even diagnosed with a condition called seasonal affective disorder.
To me this time of year signifies really taking care of internal base needs. The body can get tired, it needs that little bit more attention. As the season starts to really pile into winter, keeping warm, taking a supplement, all of these things help us to commit to caring for our bodies and minds.
Even if you are going into a spring season or summer, or you just plain don’t have seasons, self care is still a very integral part of life and important to ensure that the body feels strong and able to cope with the challenges that it goes through.
As we move from season to season the body needs different care practices, here are some suggestions to get you going:
Self Care During Autumn
Autumn is a funny time because it can embrace all the seasons at once, it means there's lots of scope to get yourself prepared for self care activities that can be practiced in the Winter months.
Days when it is cold, dark and miserable – stay in, get cosy and grab a box set, or watch that movie that you highlighted heaven only knows when. Go on take some me time, it’s pouring outside, cold and for a change you haven’t got to be anywhere…
There will be days that are balmy too, this is a good time to grab your trainers, go for a walk, or run.
Remember: Self Care is so important right now because in the countries where Christmas is celebrated crazy is about to ensue. If you take this time to get your ducks in a row, the winter months will be less stressful.
Start taking a good vitamin supplement, go to the chemist, there are tonnes of options available. Put it somewhere that will ensure that you take it.
Hydrate, eat well and start to sleep a little earlier if you can. Swap out your exercise routine, if you like now too.
This is the time to start thinking about turning inwards, oh and if you are brave, it’s also a great time to start getting the Christmas presents, if you celebrate. Just a few, it will make you feel good.
Is there anything that you have needed to do since January that is not done, write it down and sort it before the end of the year? You will feel better once it is out of the way, honestly, it will lift a weight off you. Whatever it is, get it completed or at least started.
Set a little time aside to de-clutter and get it out of the house as soon as you can, the trick here is to ensure that whatever you have found that needs to go, is gone before the winter hits.
This one is fun – get stocked up. Yep, go the shops and buy all the food items that will help you to make nutritious meals and healthy snacks. Get busy, this makes it easier in the winter months, because you won’t have to go out so often for those things. A plus here, if you do not want to go out, get someone to deliver it to you.
I love books so one of my top autumn self care practices is to get the books that I am going to read over the autumn/ winter season. I go for both fiction and non-fiction. To me it’s word food, for the mind and the soul.
Self care during the winter months
The first thing that I would say is slow down. It’s the most loving thing that anyone could do for themselves during the winter season. Winter can either make or break us and lots of people trudge through winter waiting for March to come back round.
Winter self care is to help you to love the Winter months, to cope during the season and feel fantastic.
Go to bed at an earlier time, so that you can be awake for as many daylight hours as possible.
Exercise – whatever floats your boat really, although I would recommend gentle restorative exercise that nurtures and helps you to feel more in sync with your body, so Pilates, yoga, tai chi.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – the body gets so thirsty as it gets colder and we need to ensure that we are replenishing our stores. Yes, I know that it makes us need to go … and it’s cold and that’s a pain. However, just find a way to incorporate this practice; it is fantastic self care in all seasons.
Think colour when it comes to food – lots of bright vegetables and warming foods. This is about nourishing the inner body.
Stay connected to the people that you love, more than anything, it is important to make time to see the people that you care about during the colder months as connection ensures that we feel protected.
Stay motivated – keep a routine right now, it will help you to get through the days and evenings with a spring in your step and feeling as if you have achieved something. The routine can be as simple as writing a small list in the morning, to journaling or exercising etc. Whatever it is, making it a priority to do something for you is a must.
Tap into what you feel like doing and remember that it does not have to be the same as any of the other seasons. If you need to take it slower, find a way to take it slower. If you need to sleep more, make the time to do this. A friend of mine takes naps in the winter during the day.
The main task during the Winter season is to ensure that you elevate your mood. The colder darker months can reduce some people’s moods and it is important that measures are taken to make this easier when and where possible.
Many people suffer lower moods during the winter months – if you feel that it is a clinical issue such as Seasonal Affective Disorder, it might be worth getting some professional help.
For years I have been taking a fluid based vitamin tonic during the winter months. It has helped me over the years, so it might be worth having a look into taking something like this before it gets too cold. Holland and Barrett in the uk, have options. I can’t speak for anywhere else; check online I am sure there will be lots of advice out there.
Spring Time Self Care
Woo hoo, the flowers are starting to bloom. There is something amazing in spring. For a start it puts a spring in our step and reminds us how good it is to be alive. The air gets a new quality, a new smell and things start to feel as if they are renewing. This renewal is also applicable to us. With spring, the door is opened for each one of us to renew our lives.
It’s time to get spring cleaning, throw open the windows and invite the air in. It will make you feel calmer and soothed. It will also help to lift the fug of winter that gets set into our bones and start the re-birth of a new year. Chuck out anything that you don’t want.
This is one of the reasons that I have always believed that we would be better served with new years resolutions in March rather than January in the Northern Hemisphere.
Buy some flowers for the house. Guys you could buy your girls some flowers – tulips are good for this time of year, check she likes them though.
If you love reading, this is a good time to start a new author, or read a type of book that you have never read before. When we read we grow, we learn, we discover.
This is a good time to start a new exercise routine too, any kind you like. Something new is good though as it will make you feel invigorated. To be honest the spring is a good time to throw the old out and start bringing in all kinds of new and exciting ideas. So have a think about what you would like to bring into your life.
1 Change your dress sense – throw out anything that no longer fits in with who you are.
2 Go and buy new clothes
3 Start something new anything new…
4 Create ideas on any changes that you want to make in your life.
5 Have a daily reminder on how important it is to take time out for self care.
Summertime Self Care
To me summer is all about finding who you are and putting it into action. Yes, there will be holidays, days out fun times. You name it, all the fun of the fair.
While you’re doing all this fun stuff also make plans, wonder around your mind re: your dreams and think about what you want from your life. Although in some ways this is a spring past time, if it bleeds into the summer when everything has fully sprung, you will feel contented. I say contented because it allows you to take the gas of the peddle, you know what you want, you have worked out how you are going to get it and you can start the process. If you spend the whole time holidaying and ignoring what you want to do, you will find that you have to play catch up.
This will mean that when your body wants relaxation and to retreat, you are making plans and trying to put them into action. Let the action thoughts happen before, so that you can give the body the self care it needs, in the duller seasons.
Make time to enjoy barbecues, long nights out in the balmy air, drinks with friends, meals and laughter. Get lots of fresh air and water and let your skin breath.
If you can get up earlier, add a new routine to your morning, maybe sit in the garden with your breakfast. Read a little. Write a little. Do something that nurtures you and makes you feel good about yourself.
Summer is the best time ever to have a tech detox, yep, when you have that summery day out, leave your phone at home. Log in to your laptop less and less and put anything that has an internet connection to the side for an hour up to a week.
Self care fun activities – did you love laying out in the stars when you were a kid, late night walks, balls games with the lads, whatever used to make you happy when you were younger re-enact it.
Spend time near water, the sea is best, a spa or pool will do, but water during this season has the capacity to re-wire us. I am not sure why, but there is something about sun, sea and sand. It just helps to shake the cobwebs loose, clear them out, so that we can get going again.
Eat yummy salads and fresh fruits and vegetables. Really go for the seasonal fruit and vegetables. When it comes for shopping for these things, go for what you are drawn to. Your inner sense will know what you need during the seasons.
Of course this one is a no brainer, but spend as much time as you can outside.
Oh and great self care in the summer is to push your comfort zone, go on stretch it. Do one thing that you have never ever done before. One thing that scares you, go for it, you know that you can do it.
Whatever season – core principles
Take rests when you need to
When you’re ill, stop, rather than carry on
Exercise at least once a week
Make time for connection
Be kind to yourself
Whatever season we are in self care is something that deserves a look in. After all, it helps us to be more productive, to create more and to be inspired. Through inspiration we develop new things and, you never know you might just become the next innovator...
Lots Love to you all