Some things in life are certain… the sun rising and setting and moving through moon cycles and the seasons.
Spring is the season of infinite potential. Here there is great excitement as the earth awakes from its winter slumber and we start to plant the seeds that will grow and produce all manner of things later. It is a time of action and energy and we can envision what will become of those seeds.
Summer continues to be a period of growth with not much time to rest, although if it is hot we might be tempted to have an afternoon siesta, yet this will result in little reward. Looking after trees and other plants in this time can be challenging. Too much protection, for example over watering, can result in the plant not growing as well as expected. Similarly some environments are not conducive to growth and it is best to change position is order for the roots to seek out new and more fertile soil, much the same as change will allow us to develop new neural pathways.
Autumn is a time to look for the fruits of our labours, to harvest what we have sown earlier. Trees lose their leaves and it is interesting to reflect that a tree will never grow the same leaves each year. The shedding of the leaves is a great metaphor for letting go of the old to allow the new to come in. This is the season of the empty nest, when the parental duties are fulfilled and the chicks fly off to make their own lives.
Winter brings about a period of introspection. A deciduous tree may look as if it is dead whereas it is just in a resting state. It may seem that this season goes on for longer than the others due in part to the bleak, cold landscape, but internally and deep within the soil changes are taking place. Occasionally the frost is so severe that the tree may experience some damage or even die. Those that survive bring in traces of the old world, a sense of history and the memories and resources within them to the next season. And so the cycle continues…..
Summer is just a few weeks away and the festive season is getting closer. Whether you look forward to it or dread it, the holiday season can be stressful for many reasons but it is possible to get through this time by following these steps.
- Remember to breathe…… establishing a routine for deep breathing prior to the holidays will result in this becoming second nature to you when you are in a stressful situation. A simple and effective breathing technique, done first thing in the morning and last thing at night, is to lie on your back with your hands over your belly and the fingers just touching each other. Take a deep breath into your belly area and your fingers should separate slightly and then exhale slowly allowing your belly to go flat. Do this ten times. If you find you lose count, then exert a slight pressure on each finger after every exhalation. Do it often enough and it will become a habit, then when there is a stressful situation you can trigger the relaxation by placing a hand on your abdomen and gently counting the breaths and exerting a slight pressure on the fingers.
- Stay in the moment…cultivate mindfulness as a strategy. When you are eating…..eat. Avoid distractions such as eating in front of the TV or whilst reading a newspaper. Be aware of the flavour, texture, smell, feel of the food and be especially aware of when you feel full. It’s OK to say “No” to second helpings or to leave some food on the plate. If there is a vast array of food, see this as an opportunity to create a small “tasting plate” and again be aware of the presentation, texture, flavours, smell of the food and whether it is a “friend or foe” to your body. Be curious about the preparation, the combination of flavours or where the food originated from. Listen to a hypnosis CD so that your subconscious mind can help you to make the right decisions about food choices when in social situations.
- Give within your means….. this applies not only to presents, but to your time and also what you are giving to yourself in the way of “treats”. If you love to bake, then do so and give away your creations to family and friends. If you are giving your time, make sure that you leave enough for yourself to enjoy the occasion and remember that it is OK to say “No” to demands on your time and energy. Visualize a bubble around you that allows loving thoughts in and blocks any negative vibrations. If you are intending on giving yourself a “treat”, make it a massage instead of a meringue or a pedicure instead of a pie….
- Stick to routines and structure as much as possible…. Have a plan. Most holiday stress comes about from that last minute rush to make everything perfect. Set goals that are realistic. Map out whether there are any obstacles to achieving the goals and work out the best way forward.
- Acknowledge your emotions….. the holiday season can be difficult if you have had a bereavement or change in family structure. Spend time reflecting on what traditions you would like to keep and what you would like to change. Have a plan, this may be that you decide to keep the celebrations the way they have always been. Plan B is always a good backup to default to if you realize as you head to a social situation that you need some time alone. It’s quite alright to plan to leave a celebration a little early if you feel overwhelmed. Rescue Remedy is a great help at times like this and if you see a homeopath, ask for some specific grief remedies to help you get by. Another useful therapy is Hypnotherapy, where you can bypass your conscious mind and use a variety of techniques to help you deal with either difficult people or situations. Smile….. even if you don’t feel like it…. the muscles in your face will send messages to your brain and release endorphins to reduce stress…. Laugh…. a good laugh is contagious and also reduces stress. ….. but above all – be authentic and acknowledge how you are feeling and share how you are feeling.
*article shared with Healthy Energy Summer 2015 Newsletter.