How to balance the exuberant energy of the warmer months with slow self-care
During winter, it’s common for energy levels to drop; we avoid venturing outdoors amidst the plummeting temperatures. But now that spring has sprung, it’s time for us to emerge from the cosy cocoons of our homes, bare our skin to the caress of the sun, and embrace the increased activity of the warmer months. While it can be tempting to jump with carefree abandon at every opportunity for socialising and adventuring as the days stretch longer, it’s still important to reflect and recharge.
In ancient times, people slowed down in the winter, gathering together to tell stories while keeping warm, and sleeping more to retain energy. Thanks to inventions such as central heating and light, people no longer need to adapt their behaviour to the seasons, but deep within, we are all still connected to this natural rhythm.
You might have noticed yourself wanting to shake off the slow pace of winter. Ancient Chinese medicine sees winter as a ‘yin’ time, a quiet season for turning inwards and reflecting on your life. This is as opposed to ‘yang’, the more energetic force, which is applied to spring and summertime.
With the start of spring and summer, you might notice an increase in activities, outdoor gatherings, parties and celebrations. The school year is wrapping up, and there are lots of occasions to mark, including the approach of Christmas, the mad rush to buy presents, attend parties, New Year celebrations, all followed by resolutions for a fresh start.
The buzz of activity in spring and summer can have you feeling energised and enthusiastic, happy to embrace long days under the hot Aussie sun in the great outdoors. However, it’s important to tune in to your mind and body, and take note of when you may be feeling exhausted and out of sorts as a result of all the fervour. Listening to your inner voice and slowing down, despite the energy of the season, can help you feel more balanced. Here are some suggestions on how to do this.
One gentle way to embrace the warmer weather can be an early morning walk – before the heat of the day becomes too pronounced. Getting out into the daylight and being around nature lifts your spirits while connecting you with the Earth. Early-morning sunlight can energise you for the day ahead, in case you have any social gatherings or big events. It will also top up your vitamin D levels, with a lower risk of sun damage in the weaker morning light.
Turning down party invites isn’t much fun, but you might want to factor in some downtime if you find you’re committing to a few too many activities. You could suggest a calming ‘yin’ get-together, meeting up with just one or two friends rather than a big group. A chilled out movie night can keep things in reflective rather than doing mode, while starting a book club can be a slow-paced, relaxing way to hang out – you could even suggest meeting over a delicious picnic lunch in the shade.
With the increase in celebrations and gatherings, you might find yourself grabbing quick snacks to gobble down, or even indulging a little too much with all the delicious spreads on offer. While there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, it’s important to prioritise nutrition and embrace a balanced diet made predominantly of whole foods. So, stock up on healthy snacks and eat whenever you feel hungry. Enjoy seasonal smoothies, and embrace fresh, leafy salads and refreshing fruit as the weather warms up.
As the final term of school begins and you get closer to the holidays, you could reflect on the past year. See if some of the questions here help to explore the people, events and places that turned out to be important. Don’t be afraid to go into descriptive detail about who, what, where, when, how and why.
- So far, what are you grateful for this year?
- What’s been your biggest achievement?
- What was your biggest challenge?
- Which friend has supported you the most?
- What was your happiest moment so far?
- How did you change and grow as a person this year?
BE MINDFUL OF SCREEN TIME
The online world can be appealing to explore the exciting activities everyone’s undertaking, but be mindful of time spent on screens – particularly in the evening.
The blue light emitted from phones and computers can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime and play havoc with your sleep. This can be a problem when you’ve had a big, eventful day and require some much-needed rest. So, reserve your evening for reading books, journalling, board games or a good conversation with your family. These activities might help you get to sleep more easily, so you wake in the morning feeling energised.