Leigh’s notes: Embracing the rhythm of winter

For those of us who live in New England and experience the four seasons, winter is important for rejuvenation. If we give renewal a place within our busy lives, we can experience a sort-of semi-hibernation. It’s a mindful exercise. We need to allow quiet time, listen to our messages that will further fulfill us come the warm months, when we need to be outdoors, full of life and energy.

When we move into the holiday season, which we just departed, there’s little room for self. In winter, we can dote on self and bring us back into balance. During January, February and March, it’s important to spend time within – be quiet, organize our thoughts, desires, dreams, passions. Prepare internally and externally in anticipation of spring’s arrival. The holiday and winter seasons blend into this new balance in time for our re-energization of body as well as spirit.

Let’s not look at winter as a period of darkness – all cold and depressing – but rather a time to breathe and renew, to prepare us to propel ourselves to what’s next. A time to journal, meditate, sleep, cook well – creating healthy and hearty meals that nourish our bodies and feed our souls. A time for quiet afternoons with a mug of tea, watching the snowfall, listening to silence without and within. Yes, let’s experience winter. Let’s listen to the crunch of our footsteps in the snow. Let’s hear our birds brightly sing between landings at the feeder. Let’s be intentional as we go about our days.

Leigh Lench Smith
Leigh Lench Smith of Featherstones

Six exercises

Mindfulnessexercises.com recommends “6 Mindfulness Exercises for Wellbeing in Winter (6 Mindfulness Exercises for Wellbeing in Winter). Here’s a summary.

  1. A cozy gratitude practice – such as sit by a window with a warm drink and note much that we have to be grateful for.
  2. Mindful nature walk – bundle up, head out, and become aware of the many sensations and their impact on us.
  3. Mindful journaling and self-reflection – get cozy with a blanket, a journal and pen and reflect on how we’re feeling.
  4. Slow mindful movement practices – explore slower styles of movement and exercise.
  5. Mindful eating – enjoy first bites of a warm meal with complete presence, noticing how we feel.
  6. Embrace darkness and light – appreciate the opportunity to slow down and tune inwards and also bathe in the light of the slowly brightening days.

And according to a piece on the topic in Psychology Today, “The winter cycle is your body-mind-spirit’s restart button. With it, according to Eastern traditions, you flow into that part of your mind that houses profound insights as you prepare to ‘reboot’ into the new spring ahead and begin nature’s cycles all over again.” You can read more here: The Ways of Winter Mindfulness | Psychology Today, but you get the point. And my, don’t we have much in common!

I hope you find wonder in your world this winter!

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