The changing seasons being with them a myriad of changes in the natural world; from the types of weather we experience, to causing animals to hibernate or migrate and even triggering some plants to become dormant. The seasons also influence the pace of our lives and, along with weather and amount of sunlight available to us, the types of activities we engage in. In this month’s article, we consider how we can embrace the pace of the different seasons to better support our wellbeing.
The short days and long nights of winter can cause us to retreat. The warmth of the indoors is inviting and comforting. During the long nights of the winter months, time often feels as though it is slowing down. The winter period often feels like it drags on for much longer than it does in reality due to the reduced hours of sunlight. Studies have found that people tend to have worse physical health during the winter months, which may stem in part from a reduction in time spent undertaking physical activities and sports outdoors.
Yet this is also contrasted with the celebrations and holidays which take place at this time. In the run-up to key events, like Christmas, time can suddenly feel as though it speeds up in the flurry of preparations and visits to see family and friends.
The winter time thus provides us with the ideal opportunity to engage in indoor practice, such as yoga, martial arts or swimming. Even better, it lends itself to being a time for planning and preparation. The extended time indoors, especially during our spare time, can be used to plan for the coming year. It’s a great opportunity to consider what activities we want to undertake during the warmer months and to put the mechanisms in place to allow us to achieve that. As a result, when the warmer weather comes around, we’ll be better prepared and placed to enjoy it fully.
The warmth of the summer months tends to draw us back outdoors, with many people actively seeking out spaces in which to enjoy the sunshine. The summertime is often viewed as a period of calm and presented as the season in which to relax and unwind. For many people it is the time in which they finally pause their daily lives to go on holiday. For those with children, the summer is synonymous with the long school holidays.
Additionally, the summer heat often makes us feel drowsy and slow. For this reason, it’s often viewed as a season of rest and one in which we should enjoy a slower pace of life. Yet in reality, it tends to be one of the seasons filled with the most activity. It is the period during which we are at our most active and spending the greatest amount of time outdoors, which is probably why studies have found that people are in better physical health during the summer months.
Summer is often a busy time as people fill up their calendars with meetings with friends and families, holidays and outdoor activities, eager to seize the sunshine and make the most of the summertime while it lasts. However, the contrast between the natural climate and slow pace of the season and our increased activity can lead to stress and exhaustion as we try to pack far too much into too short a time span.
The summer time is instead the ideal time in which to enjoy a much slower pace of life and to recharge. We can sink into the weather and the outdoors and attempt to enjoy the moments, thus embracing the slower pace. If we seize the opportunity to rest and renew during the summer, we are much better prepared for the remainder of the year. Given that in the Northern hemisphere the summer months begin halfway through the year, it provides a fantastic breakpoint and offers a natural time in which reset.
Spring And Autumn Times
As the transition seasons, spring and autumn offer an ideal time frame in which to engage in a process of self reflection and reassessment. During these seasons many people try to reassess their goals for the coming year or evaluate what they have accomplished so far. These months offer an opportunity to reflect and replan, making adjustments as needed. We can take inspiration from the changing nature of the seasons to change and grow ourselves.
As we enter the final months of summer, we invite you to embrace the slower pace that the summer season offers us.
Use the remaining few weeks as an opportunity to rest and recuperate. Accept the invitation from the warm sunshine to take momentary pauses and enjoy moments of stillness and pause. Resting during this period, recharging your well of energy and attending to your wellbeing will enable you to begin the next season on more grounded footing.
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