Honoring Yourself – Adjusting to the Dark Time of Year
Did you know that you can maximize your energy levels by adjusting your food and exercise to match the season? Now Autumn is in full swing, and it’s chilly! It’s a lot more work for your body to stay warm, but you can ease the process by focusing your diet on warm dishes using seasonal foods to give yourself that extra nutritional boost and exercising regularly to heat your body up! Adding pungent and spicy herbs can warm you up too: garlic, oregano, thyme, onions, cayenne, chili, curry, rosemary, basil etc…
Colds, congestion and constipation are pretty typical this time of year. We’re too busy to rest and exercise as much as we need or we indulge on sweets during the holidays or all of the above! These conditions are simply signals from the body that you need to simplify and cleanse a bit. To balance out: rest, hydrate, exercise and eat plenty of seasonal produce, especially in soup our stew form. Even the seasonal fruit is cleansing for your system. Check your local farmer’s market, but it’s likely you’ll find these seasonal foods available: cranberries, apples, pears, pomegranite, oranges, pumpkins, squashs, turnips, parsnips, beets, brussel sprouts, peppers, and sweet potatoes, garlic, and onions.
One way to lower your chances of coming down with a cold or the flu this season is to practice deep relaxation on a daily basis. Often relaxing deeply will give you an energy boost because the energy your muscles were using to stay tense is now directed back into the body system and available for you to repair damage, neutralize a “bug”, or simply to recharge. The most simple at home technique for deep relaxation is to sit comfortably and breath slowly. Inhale for a count of four, pause briefly, and then exhale for a count of 8. Repeat for 5 or 10 minutes until you feel peaceful and calm. You can do this simple breathing exercise anytime and anyplace – while sitting in traffic, in a meeting, waiting in line, while on hold on the phone, when you first wake up, in bed to help you fall asleep, etc…
For many this time of year also means going to and leaving work happens in the dark. You might not be getting enough sunlight to regulate your body’s rhythms so that you feel your best. If you can, expose your hands and face to the sun outside daily in the morning for 5-15 minutes to let your body know it’s time to be alert, awake and energized. If you can’t get outside, consider investing in a natural spectrum lap and give yourself a light treat every morning during breakfast for 5-15 minutes. The resulting alertness and focus is quite amazing!
Whether your schedule is busting at the seams, you don’t want to leave the house, or the usual holiday stressors are looming on the horizon – the best thing you can do for yourself to float through the holidays with peace and bliss this fall is to make self-care a priority.
Schedule an appointment with yourself to relax and rejuvenate every day, or at the very least every week. And, keep this appointment with yourself like it’s a date with someone important to you. (I hope you are important to you.) Taking this time out on a regular basis is the key to being energized, staying calm, and feeling good about all the decisions you have to make during the busy time of year – about what you eat, what you buy, how you spend your time, etc…
I recommend you pull out your calendar right now and set aside your self-care appointments before the holiday invitations start coming in. The trick is to honor these appointments with yourself by saying no to invitations that conflict, or if you can’t or don’t want to say no to an important event, rescheduling your self-care appointment to another time that day or day that week. The key is making self-care a priority and sticking with your commitment to relax and rejuvenate.
About the Author– Artemisia is a High Priestess of the Order of the White Moon. She is one of the co-founders of the branch sisterhood of the Order – Sisters in Celebration. She can be reached at artemisia333@…. She lives and works in the Boston area as a Reiki & Wellness practitioner.