Practise self-care as the seasons change

Credit to Author: Hazel Morley| Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2021 22:27:53 +0000

This time of transition from fall into winter, with cooler temperatures and fewer hours of daylight, is often the “calm before the storm” for many people as the holiday season and year-end approach.

The Danes say this is the most ‘Hygge’ (pronounced hoo-gah) time of the year. That is, an ideal time to recognize and gather what we need to feel content and support our wellbeing.

What do you need to look after yourself? It’s easy to overlook our own needs, especially when we are distracted with so many demands on our time. However, if we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we show up for others? It’s not helpful, or healthy, to keep pushing through, regardless of how we feel, only to finish the year drained and overwhelmed. Have you noticed that when that happens, you end up getting ill and spending any well deserved downtime or holiday time recovering?

Put gas in your tank
If you wouldn’t risk driving a car until the tank completely runs out of fuel, why would you do that to your mind and body? In the same way you check the fuel level for the journey you want to make, and put gas in the tank in advance, you want to keep your energy and spirit levels topped up.

Mother Nature can teach us a few lessons here.

Just as we see the trees pivot and bend when the wind blows, we need to be flexible to adapt to changing circumstances and events that are out of our control. Like a tree, we need to root down to rise, stay centred and strong. Just as with physical movement, the more we practice bending and stretching, the more flexible we become. The same is true for our minds. The more we practice being present to what is and grounding ourselves by coming back to connect with who and what really matters, the more we build resilience. The more resilient and less fragile we are, the better chance we have of coping when life throws unexpected challenges and chaos our way.

As immigrants, we know how to adapt. We have already proved to ourselves that we can do hard things and survive.

Your #1 asset
Life is also about thriving, and to thrive in our communities, in our workplaces and personal lives, we need to look after our number one asset — ourselves.

What do you need to look after yourself, especially at this time of year?

Often, what helps is setting clear boundaries.

For example:
• Better time management to make more space in the day for rest and recovery.
• Commitment to focus on the important, essential things rather than trying to do it all.
• Reduce the external distractions and interruptions to allow more attention on what and who matters most. That may mean spending less time tuning into negative news and social media. Turn off the notifications on your digital devices.
• Pause. Slow down. Take a moment to breathe deeply. Stretch, stand, look up if you can.
• Stay present and balanced. Quiet any inner voice (your ‘monkey mind’) that may be causing you to feel anxious with past regrets or future worries.
• Give yourself permission to feel the good and the bad. Can you name what you’re feeling? Get curious, without judging. Ask yourself, “what’s really happening, here?”
• Connect. Talk to someone. You may brighten their day, as well as yours.
• Practice gratitude, even for the hard things. Focus on what you have, rather than what you lack.

In the words of the philosopher Lao Tzu, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

If you knew that taking the time to prioritize your well-being will help you sail through the storm, what would you do?

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