For thousands of years, humans spent summer and fall in a flurry of activity- planting, caring for their crops or livestock, harvesting when everything was ready. Much of the year was spent working, using the body and the mind in various capacities to survive. Winter, in contrast, was spent resting. Recovering. Hibernating. Spending time indoors, with family and friends. Turning inward. Allowing the creative juices to flow in activities such as art, storytelling, music, weaving... Sitting around the fireplace, feeding the body and mind and spirit. That is- up until about a hundred years ago.
Today- that's not quite the scene. These days, it's the beginning of the year goals to start achieving, the start of a new business year, new projects and implementing 'New Years Resolutions' that often involve a lot of (new) physical activity and use of the body.
No wonder by February, most of these resolutions fail, injuries are rampant, and everywhere you turn someone has a cold and the flu starts to spread. Sick days are used more often and a common response to 'How are you?' seems to be 'oh- I'm good, but OVERwhelmed'.
Of course we're OVERwhelmed, getting sick and injuring ourselves- our bodies aren't built for such a rush at this time of slowing down in the natural cycle! We are literally not programmed for such huge changes and heavy use of our bodies in the winter.
Of course, reality is that we still have duties and responsibilities and we can't just take a few months off to 'hibernate'- though how great would that be! What we CAN do is still honor the natural cycle that our body is not only programmed for, but CRAVES, by making small changes, small shifts in how we schedule ourselves, go about our goals, and take care of what needs to be taken care of.
How about adding some restorative yoga to your workout routine and taking one less spin class, or restorative yoga AFTER spin class. Making Sunday a day of total rest and relaxation. Scheduling one less social activity on the weekend. Seeing if you can work longer hours 4 days a week instead of 5, so you get a free day to rejuvinate & hibernate (my chosen method this year). Add time for creative ventures. Meditate more. Travel less.
Much like little earthquakes release pressure for the earth to breathe instead of erupt all at once, little changes such as the above can release the pressure and allow us time to sigh and honor what our body needs at this time, which is to live a quieter, slower pace of life for a few months. Thus, the chance for injury and illness will be greatly reduced. These tiny shifts and changes may not solve all your problems, but I can safely say they could make a world of difference for you this winter- and perhaps prevent a major earthquake in your body and being.
Here's to Tiny Shifts and your own version of Hibernation.