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Taking Advantage of the Winter Months!

As the sun sets on 2014 we look back on the year and forward to the new one. Besides the usual revelry, gatherings with family and friends, traveling and the making of resolutions to do things differently next year, this is the time of year for some rest and recuperation. In nature, these colder, darker months are meant for the earth to rest. It becomes covered in a blanket of snow or possibly more rain. Refilling nature’s water reserves. Many animals have completed their long migrations and are in their breeding grounds, some animals hibernate. The bulbs we have planted in our gardens are lying in wait. When they are rested and have gained enough energy, they will begin to show through the soil, in time to bloom when the days become longer. Springtime waking the animals so they can give birth and start anew.
What can we borrow from Mother Nature in our personal lives? We can use the winter months to “rest our minds and our bodies”. Perhaps we change our exercise routine to include modalities that involve mental relaxation like restorative yoga, or we begin to incorporate other flexibility exercises into our routine to shift us from building exterior strength to inner strength. We can change or exercise choices to include some cross training, changing the scenery, working different muscle groups. Personally I like to move from running and cycling to swimming and some form of cross country or skate skiing, snow shoeing or other winter sports when there is snow in the air. I still run, but not with the same intensity or frequency. Again, giving parts of my body a chance to rest. I also find the change in scenery keeps my mind in wonderment and expressing gratitude for the nature we have before us.

With the days being shorter it can also be a time to use our longer nights reading, learning new concepts or ways of thinking, learning to meditate. It is a time to learn a new skill, gain new knowledge.  It also presents us with time to reassess the “stuff” in our life. It a great time to de-clutter our homes or lives (I am thinking of cleaning up my electronic life which takes on a mind of its own with endless storage capacity now available). All of which will help us prepare for spring and it`s rebirthing energy. The colder weather can also inspire us to relax in the evenings more than when the sun is shining. Go ahead and give yourself that time to just be.

Instead of making New Year`s resolution I like to think about what the year ahead can offer me. How can I use the winter months to prepare me for new beginnings in the spring? Be these work, relationship or health related. Where is it? What is it I would like to reflect back on in December of 2015? How am I going to get there? That is where my mental energy will be when I reflect on 2014. Where was I in January, where am I now, do I like where I am? Where do I want to be at the end of 2015? Do I have the skills to get there? Can I get there in a balanced way? Progress is wonderful, especially when it unfolds at a pace that keeps our mind-body-spirit in balance.

Enjoy the longer nights and the passing of time on the calendar. Seek that inner peace and a balanced life that will inspire you to keep growing and being joyful.

Balance on my Friends…

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