Are you guys dying to hear about Belize? Let's talk about snow instead. But seriously--I can't wait to tell you all about Belize . . . but actually I can wait until later this week. Early next week at the latest.
Coming back from vacation has been a little bumpy--it's always hectic when you've been away from your house for a week and emails have piled up at work (and there's laundry everywhere and groceries nowhere) but I also got a little touch sick when we got home, and it's been COLD and I've been TIRED and last week was Kelly's birthday and it's been busy. Kelly is ELEVEN! I can't. Even. With that. Eleven?? The child will be driving in five years. I'll just be over here in the corner pretending it's still 2007. Thx.
So, what I want to talk about today is winter. And specifically, I want to talk about how seasonality affects our bodies and minds, and how we can be mindful about responding to the cycle of the seasons. My good friends Dallas and Pilar talk about this on their podcast, The Living Experiemnt (yup, still listening to every episode of that) and I've really noticed it myself as the weather has gotten cold and the days have gotten darker. In a nutshell, the idea is this: our bodies are hardwired to respond to sunlight, and when we get much less sunlight because the days are shorter, and the cold weather keeps us inside instead of outdoors soaking up the sun, our energy levels are naturally going to be affected. Winter is also a season of rest and rejuvenation throughout winter--the plants and the trees and the earth are all taking a break from the frenzy that is spring and summer, and readying themselves for the next season. It's wise to take time to do this for yourself, as well.
We live in a culture that promotes constantly firing on all cylinders. Productivity is king, so the more you can squeeze out of your day, the better. But this is not optimal for our health. Just as you need adequate sleep every night to rest and rejuvenate, you should also incorporate seasons of rest and lower activity to allow your body to recover and replenish. Personally, I notice myself being a lot more tired in the winter, and a lot more inclined to cuddle up on the couch with a cup of tea (partially because I'm ALWAYS FREEZING, but also because rest sounds good when it's cold and dark outside). Being conscious of this shift and respecting your natural inclination to rest is a healthy and good practice as the snow falls.
For me, this doesn't mean I stop exercising altogether (this is not good for my mental or physical health). I'm still getting in my half-hour beachbody workouts most days, but in the summer we take long walks, we go for bike rides, we spend hours moving around and staying up late that we just don't do in the wintertime. Winter is also a great time to go to bed earlier, and get some more sleep than you might when the sun is up late.
Winter also brings some inclinations that I have to push back on--I'm craving a lot more grains (and sugar) than I do in the summertime, and sometimes in the winter Seasonal Affective Disorder can get the best of me and I'll get a little down. I'm eating more hearty, warm foods, and fueling my carb cravings in a way that serves my body well (eating things like steel cut oats and brown rice made with coconut milk) to resopnd to the need without going overboard on cereal, cookies, and buttered noodles (all. I. want. right. now.)
As we enter the craziness of the holiday season and then dive head-first into New Years Resolutions, I wanted to write this post to encourage you to notice your inclination to rest more in the winter, and to respect it. You all know I'm very committed to fitness and my life is pretty busy, but we all need to tone it down now and again to avoid the mental and physical pitfalls of burnout. Now is a great time to take advantage of some downtime, my friends. If you'd like to join me, I'll be on the couch with a mug of tea and a fuzzy blanket.
Steph Gadreau shared the image above, and it's perfect. For any time that you're exhausted, really, but especially for these darkest days.
Happy Monday, loves--be well.