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Three Ways to Winter Well

Three Ways to Winter Well

During the season of winter we often experience an impact on mood and levels of energy. We may struggle with a lack of sunlight. perhaps a lack of energy or motivation and a calling to being inside our homes hunkering down. However, cultural attitudes towards the "New Year" cause us a sense of urgency to reinvent ourselves, be productive and meet lofty goals. Yet we can draw inspiration from natures own cycles and embrace a process of "wintering" and accept that our own human experience brings along periods of darkness, hibernation, and healing to prepare for new growth in the next period of our lives.

Here are three key ways to winter in a healthy and nourishing manner:

1) Reduce Expectations of Self

Winter is a time for slowing down which means that reducing our expectations to keep the pace with a fast paced, busy, capitalistic world becomes a form of healthy rebellion. In a world that often glorifies productivity and constant activity, it can be challenging to embrace stillness and quiet. However, by acknowledging and accepting our limitations during this season we can make space for rest, introspection, and cultivate a deeper sense of self compassion for feelings of exhaustion, stress, and sadness related to the darker areas of our lives.

Ask yourself what expectations of yourself you are willing to let go, pare down your aspirations for projects or self-improvement goals during the winter and get clear on what is absolutely necessary to achieve on a daily basis versus the tasks that only perpetuate expectations that we hustle, meet societal expectations or give us a false sense of being enough.

2) Prioritizing Rest

During a time when many demands on us as mothers come from many sources rest can feel like a luxury rather than a necessity. However, winter invites us to reconsider our relationship with rest. This time allows us to get in touch with nourishing activities that give us a sense of peace, fulfilment that is just for us or build a foundation of resilience for everyday stressors that come our way.

Whether it is reading a good book, wearing cozy socks by a fire, or taking 5 extra minutes to enjoy that cup of coffee before we open our e-mail there are small spaces in our day for a sense of rest that focuses on healing. Find restful activities that give you a sense of peace and be wary of activities that numb your emotions through escapism such as social media or doom scrolling.

3) Reflecting on Intentions and Goals

Just like we can trust that winter will turn to spring we can also trust that our own natural cycles will find energy and motivation when more sunlight and warmth come our way. Winter gives us a natural opportunity to reflect, increase our self-awareness and set intentions for future projects slowly and without urgency. Take the rest of winter to reflect on personal and professional goals by reflecting on aspects of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment.

What areas could benefit from more attention and nourishment? What changes inside yourself and your families could bring you closer to living according to your core values? By engaging in reflective exercises through journaling or therapy we can set the stage for a spring that helps us feel we are finding ourselves again, especially after the life changing transition to motherhood.

Rachel Bowers with Wollemi Counseling (rachel@wollemicounseling.com)