What is Seasonal Self-Care?
The importance of authentic, tailored-to-you (as opposed to doing what your BFF does) self-care is still vastly understated. As a highly sensitive person, your self-care practices can be the difference between barely getting by and thriving!
Many of us will fall into one of these categories:
- Our self-care is seriously lacking and has fallen by the wayside
- Self-care generally feels like a chore and something to cross off of our lists in a never-ending quest to “fix” or “heal” ourselves
- Our self-care practices have become stale and on autopilot as we mindlessly engage in the same ones day after day, season after season
Our practices must be ours, fluid, and ready to meet us where we are in any given moment. Rather than focusing on particulars, I and my clients have found that having “sacred space containers” each day rather than rigid schedules of self-care-type things is the most supportive. In that space, we assess what we need and meet that need with one of the tools in our toolbox. Cultivating a robust toolbox and having it be adaptable to the seasons of life, our bodies, and the Earth is the highest practice of self-care.
Living in Alignment With Seasonal + Cosmic Flow
Living in alignment with seasonal and cosmic flow is to surrender to the inevitable changes within and around us and to meet them with a state of openness, non-attachment, and equanimity – especially those “seasons” we may not particularly enjoy. Our current culture praises a continual kind outward, producing energy (which corresponds with summer or The Blacksmith). However, this has warped into a demented flavor of summer: permanently artificially lit, afraid of aging and change, ever-producing and consuming, shaming rest and rejuvenation, and more.
As highly sensitive souls, we’re simply more attuned to the fluxes within and around us and respond.
However, the shame felt when we may need rest or to, *gasp,* live in a fluid, dynamic state that honors our current state, energy levels, and needs, can sometimes prevent us from actually taking the actions necessary to meet those needs.
Seasons Within, Seasons Around
In my work, I’ve developed the 8 Cosmic Archetypes, which represent the eight archetypal energies associated with the eight seasons. These seasons/archetypes exist within and around us on a daily basis, in any given moment, regardless of our gender, age, the external season, etc. We’re influenced by the moon, the seasons of the Earth, our lifecycle and life stages, our menstrual cycle, and more. Learning to honor and flow with these archetypal energies, as literally mirrored to us through the seasons of the Earth is a profound, life-long, and fulfilling endeavor.
So, while this article and the following suggestions are based on the Earth’s seasons, I also invite you to connect them to other cycles, as well. For example, the bleeding part of your phase would be winter, while the ovulation phase would be summer; two very different energies and different physiological happenings!
5 Ways to Cultivate Seasonal Self-Care
Change Your Movement Practices (Exercise) Seasonally
Many of us fall into movement/exercise patters where we’ll stick to the same routine forever! Notice when your body naturally calls for more or less movement; more intense or milder. Maybe during autumn and winter you notice those runs wish to be more brisk walks, that vinyasa practice wants to be more yin. Can you feel the changes and honor them?
Change up the Plants You Use
In their four main forms, plants offer us an array of support! Change them up seasonally to receive the support that’s needed in that particular season. Things are in season for a reason! Whether it’s the immune boosting roots we gather in autumn to help us through winter, or the melons that are in season in summer to cool and hydrate us, plants are brilliant support allies! What are your favorite ways of using plants?
Change Your Diet
Continuing with the point above, endeavor to eat whole foods seasonally in accordance with the external seasons, and honor your internal ones, as well. The peak heat of summer weakens our digestive fire, while the long, dark days of winter stoke the fires and increase appetite. Raw salads in January may not have the same appeal they have in July. Notice where you may be in a diet rut and feel into changing some of the staples you enjoy, the cooking methods used, etc. to better reflect the current season. Do you change your diet seasonally? Do you notice the change in your cravings?
Honor Your Range of Abilities
Honoring your range of abilities looks like realizing you have a whole scale, let’s say 0-10, of energy that may be available to you in a given day. Some days are more of a 3, while others are a 10 and you’re ready to take on the world, baby! Now, feel into what each of these numbers is like for you uniquely. Notice what activities feel good at each of these spots – what are some supportive level 3 activities, for example? My 0 is lying in bed in silence and stillness and just being. My 10 is cleaning the whole house – I’m talking baseboards, rearranging and reorganizing, and all! Now, feel into how your winter 10 may be like your summer 2, how your ovulation 5 may be your menstruation 1! There’s nothing “wrong” with you for not being able to perform at any given level at all times and there’s nothing wrong for having fluctuating levels, either. Where can you bring more allowance and compassion?
Plan Tasks + Life Changes
Yes, sometimes this is literally impossible as “life happens,” however, to the best of our ability, we can plan accordingly with the internal and external seasons. If I know I will be bleeding, I am not going to schedule a live group workshop where I am actively coaching and teaching. Similarly, if I am ovulating (in my summer energy), I am not going to be drawn to mundane, administrative tasks.
We can be mental about it, sure, like, this is what “should” be done or felt in this season, and your body and own energy system are your greatest teacher! Let them guide you.
How do you respond when life happens? Can you find the stillness within or does the chaos of the outside rob you of your peace? Watching it happen and let yourself slow it down and respond, rather than react, which is stemming from egoic attachments to false illusions of safety. How will you be more mindful of your internal and the external seasons moving forward? Do any of these practices sound supportive to you?
More Seasonal Living + Earth Wisdom:
Do you feel connected to Nature? Like, truly connected? Do you have a strong sense of Spirit/Source/The Divine/Something Greater Than Yourself? As sensitive folks, we generally have a strong pull towards these more subtle aspects, and are capable of a deep connection as a result. However, so much of the “normal” lifestyle these days seems…