Sometime between Thanksgiving and us all getting ready for the holiday festivities, winter arrived. This year’s winter solstice occurred on Tuesday, December 21st. In the northern hemisphere. The date marked the 24-hour period with the fewest daylight hours of the year. That is why it is known as the shortest day of the year or the longest night of the year. For me, it seemed to slip in and cover me in its stillness like a warm blanket. I’ve been feeling kind of frozen in place. Winter can cause me to retreat to the inside with its shorter days and less natural Vitamin D from the sun. I tend to find myself avoiding the cold breezes. I choose warm pajamas, a heavy robe, and a nice hot cup of tea inside of my cocoon. I use this time to rest, recover, and rejuvenate from all of the work of the past seasons and to get ready for all of the newness that spring brings. In this season of dormancy and hibernation, we regain our strength and get ready for the year ahead. It is a great time to cultivate a meaningful relationship with yourself.
The new year is a great time to do something different and to get something different in your next season of starting anew. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Make a conscious COMMITMENT to do things to engage with your authentic self. I’m not talking about a full on plan but a fresh new start. Decide on a time that works for you to “just be". While it can be very easy to say you’ll wake at 4 a.m. every morning or do an hour a day, it can also be very daunting, especially in the beginning. I recommend starting with something you KNOW is doable. If you can only commit to 10 minutes every morning or evening, commit to 10 minutes…BUT DO IT. As you are learning your new process, it is more meaningful to honor the time you said you would do more than focusing on the length of time.
Set some REAL intentions. This could take some time and forethought. It will also require some action to bring it into reality. Specificity is key. Make a clarifying statement of what it is you plan to manifest. One really powerful intention is good, but setting several small, attainable ones will help you see your manifestations faster. This helps build faith in the process. Continue to set more intentions as the ones you have become embedded and you feel new ones arise.
Create a sacred SPACE. Find somewhere you can make your sweet spot. The place you go to exhale. Let it be all about you. Fill it with things that make you feel grounded and centered. Include things that engage all of the senses. Ideally, you would have privacy. If you’re in a shared space, find a corner where you can turn your back to the world and zone in on yourself. Add a partition and get some really good noise-canceling headphones.
Get a journal and USE IT. Let yourself dive into what you want to release from the previous seasons/year and what you want things to look like in the year ahead. What are some things that would make you feel supported on the journey? Don’t be afraid to get it all out. There is nothing that is off limits or too much to go in your journal.
Try meditating…AGAIN. Maybe even call it deep breathing this time…it feels less scary for some. Sit still and just focus on your breath. You can even count them in tens if that helps. Just get quiet and go with the flow. Most people think they can start with even 15 minutes, then think they’re doing it all wrong within the first few seconds. I recommend starting with 1-2 minutes if you are a beginner. Set the timer on your phone. Add more time as it becomes comfortable.
Start a GRATITUDE journal. Write down at least three things that you are grateful for that day. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I actually use small notebooks that I get at the dollar store.
Start a NEW habit, ritual, or routine. It doesn't have to be anything too big or scary because you’ll just quit…AGAIN. Start some type of exercise. Do yoga. Learn a new word a week. We’re creating a shift, no matter how small.
Make some CHANGES to your diet. Our bodies serve us best when we feed it nourishing foods. Add or remove some things based on what is in season. Eat things that are more dense and hearty like root vegetables and warm foods. Try adding some ginger into the mix.
Start putting your phone DOWN at a designated time every evening. Notice I said EVENING, not night. Start to allow your mind, body, and spirit to unwind BEFORE you actually head to bed. The light from phones is bad for our eyes and it knocks off our circadian rhythm making sleep more challenging. Turn your phone off at least an hour before you call it a night. Set it to “Do Not Disturb” with allowances if necessary. Then start to chillax. Watch how much better you sleep.
There is no better time to get started than now.