The cool crisp mornings of Autumn, Halloween, All Saint’s Day, the Day of the Dead ... All mark the shortening of the days as we descend into the seasons of winter, inner reflection and stillness. Cultures all around the globe have felt the energetic effects of this time of year.
Usually, I love this pause in the business of life.
This year, however, I feel myself feeling closed in, disconnected and longing for community.
Usually, my Spring and Summers are filled with connecting with friends and family; connecting with the beauty, awe and wonder of nature; connecting to the part of my soul that nourishes my heart, restores my mind and heals my body.
This year has been much different. It feels like the hibernation from last winter never ended and now it’s about to get even darker, colder, more isolated.
Seasonal depression effects nearly 10 million Americans. This year those numbers are sure to be even higher and more significant for those who normally struggle with seasonal depression symptoms.
Putting the Covid politics aside, our need as a species for human interaction, connection and contact is a biological need. In an April 11, 2018 Healthline article,
“Family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” While that may sound like a lot of hugs, it seems that many hugs are better than not enough. Apr 11, 2018”
A simple hug can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, balance our emotions, make us feel loved, supported and give us a sense of belonging.
This year, we have been state mandated to “social distance”, stay home, wear a mask. We have been mandated to ignore our basic normal biological needs for human connection. We have been mandated to isolate ourselves from our communities, our families and our places of worship.
For many of us, even our place of employment has been closed leaving millions without a source of income. This not only affects our sense of connection to others, but also our basic survival needs for food, shelter, clothing, heat and so forth.
This year, as we enter into the natural period of the quiet stillness of winter, we do so with our emotional and spiritual storehouses depleted and empty from a year of isolation. A daunting and dark period lurks around the corner for many of us.
How do we nourish and replenish the storehouses of our spiritual and emotional bodies during this time of social distancing and isolation?
This is not something that anyone else can do for you. It is your responsibility to nurture and care for your own spiritual and emotional well-being.
We can read all the self-help books and guides. We can follow all the experts advice. We can eat right, exercise, get plenty of daylight (natural or artificial), reduce the stress in our lives.
In addition to making sure you get plenty of light (natural or artificial), exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest and reducing stress, here are three simple tips you can do to help nourish and replenish your depleted energetic body and spirit through the upcoming winter months.
The simple act of focused breathing is a powerful tool available to each and every living person. As we breathe in, we breathe in life. Through our breath we can connect to the whole of Creation. Every living thing breathes and we all breathe the same fluid substances that make up the atmosphere that encapsulates our planet.
By breathing with focused awareness of our interconnection to all of existence, we begin to fill the aching holes of loneliness that drain the light of joy from our lives.
There are many breathing techniques out there. Some have even been used for centuries. And, there are many benefits from following these sacred practices. However, to breathe the breath of life, it is not necessary to worry about whether or not you are breathing right. If you are alive, you are breathing well enough to connect with the breath of life.
It is the focused awareness that you give each breath that matters. I like to breathe in the breath of life, the whole of creation filling my lungs and running through my veins. Then, as I exhale, I release all that no longer serves me, my sadness, my frustrations, my anger, my loneliness …. And I breathe in again the breath of life, filling my body, my mind, my soul; connecting me to the whole of creation; and healing those aching holes of loneliness and sadness that lurk in the darkness of my being. Again, releasing and letting go with the out breath.
This simple exercise can be done as a 20-minute meditation, or in one deliberate and focused breath. It is a tool that you have with you every moment of everyday, continuously replenishing your body and your soul.
What ever religious belief system you follow, nurturing your spiritual nature helps keeps you centered and engaged in your day to day life. If you do not have a religious doctrine that you follow, spending time in nature, exploring the scientific method, or tending to areas in your life that you value (family relationships, community service, meditation) will achieve similar results.
Engaging in hobbies or activities that feed your passion and bring you joy are also ways to connect to your source of creation. Doing these activities regularly nourishes your heart and soul, lifts your spirits and inspires you throughout the day.
The act of engaging in an activity that is greater than yourself allows you to take a break from your own drama and nurture the way in which you connect to others.
Maintaining a clear and healthy energetic body helps avoid taking on the emotional state of others. This is especially important for those who feel empathic to others. When you are susceptible to emotional lows, it is easy to fall inline with the grumblingly lows of those around you.
Think of it like energetic dust that collects in your field. Having a routine or practice in place that naturally cleanses your subtle body helps to keep your energy clean and fresh each day.
There are many ways to clear your energetic body. Some people like to use smudging techniques with incense or sage, singing bowls, salt baths, crystals or even seeking the services of an energy worker to have your chakras cleared and balanced.
While these are all good techniques to employ at different times, my favorite way to cleanse my energy field is during my normal hygiene practices each morning. This is a very simple and time-saving approach to maintaining a clean energetic body.
Simply intend that your energetic body be cleared every time you take a shower or a bath. With focused awareness, imagine or intend that as you are washing and rinsing your body, you are also washing and cleansing your energetic body. I like to imagine that I am also fluffing my auric field as I dry myself off after my shower. It takes on a whole new level of being fresh and ready to face the world each day.
Self-care no longer has the option to be considered as a luxury afforded to those with ample means. Self-care is a basic necessity and important in every social economic class.