I’ve been playing with seasonal living for the last year or so and I’ve learned that it’s so much more than flowers in spring, hot weather in summer, leaves falling off trees in Autumn and knitwear in winter!
Those are beautiful things to notice and I appreciate them more as I get older. But the seasonal approach runs deeper.
We live in a 24 hour world, designed by men.
What I find interesting is that men have a 24 hour hormonal cycle that mirrors the sun so they more or less experience similar energy patterns every day. While women experience a hormonal cycle of around 28 days, with 4 distinct phases, mirroring the moon, and, the seasons of nature.
In a practical sense, that means our energy patterns plus how we think and feel varies from day to day. We try to squeeze and fit ourselves into the 24 hour cycle and it so often fails. We get burnt out, feel guilty and wonder why we can’t keep up.
In effect, this is the true meaning of “it’s a man’s world” and we are paying the price for it.
Learning to live to my seasonal nature, and then going further to begin respecting and honouring my inner seasons, eventually has led me to be able to work with my own capacity, not against it.
My self esteem has improved as I release myself from trying to squeeze into a 24 hour mould.
Like this morning, I’m writing this at 430am. I just woke up with a huge creative energy burst and that was it. Two days ago, I was still sleepy when I woke up at 630am. Sometimes I’m in bed by 830pm and other nights I’m wide awake until midnight.
I used to think I was broken for being this way!
Side note – I don’t think the current hustle culture really serves men either. It’s like an extreme 24 hour cycle. Because of the long hours many of us work, we miss the cues for when we need rest, sleep, movement and nourishment.
Many of us are out of touch with our bodies needs. Or, maybe we’re aware of how we feel but we push ourselves through, getting ever more frustrated with ourselves and treating our bodies awfully for not complying. It’s a vicious cycle that’s led to widespread chronic burnout and empathy depletion.
Somehow we’ve been convinced that our bodies needs are irrelevant or ignorable.
Things that might change with your seasons
- The kind of rest that will restore you
- How much sleep you need
- The kind of exercise you benefit from
- The foods you feel like and hunger levels
- What books, news, music etc you consume
- How much social interaction you crave
- Your sensory input capacity
- Your thoughts and feelings
- Productivity levels
- Ability to focus on certain tasks
- Creativity, dexterity, analytical ability, empathy
- How you connect with your kids, partner etc
- How you feel about housework, caring work
Entry points to seasonal awareness
- Tracking your hormonal cycle
- Tracking your sleep cycle
- Not waking up to an alarm
- Spending time outside as the sun rises and sets
- Changing your exercise type and intensity
- Planning your weeks around your cycle – my FAVE!
- Letting go of restrictive eating
The most important ingredient for starting seasonal living is self compassion as you de-condition from the capitalist push to hustle.
You might find you experience a deep tiredness than nothing seems solve, if you aren’t already. You might find that your true capacity is much lower than you wish for it to be, which is likely to frustrate you at first. Then, you might find that you get angry that you didn’t see the damage caused by the way you were treating yourself for so many years.
It’s not your fault that you didn’t notice. Consumerism, capitalism and productivity culture are designed like to blind you to yourself.
Rest in self compassion and your natural energy, motivation and capacity will return. You will be able to harness the power of the seasons.
There’ll be times when you’ll be as productive as hell. Honour that, by knowing that it won’t last all month long.
Don’t set goals with deadlines based on your most productive days.
Because when the pull to rest arrives, and it will, you need the space to deeply rest. Rest restores. And when you rest when you need it, you’re rewarded with more capacity when the productivity urge arrives again.
It truely is magic!
We really need a framework for living our lives – something that gives us context, structure and a moral code. What better way to do that than one that is at its core, a methodology that allows for self compassion and nurturance.
One that allows us to parent gently, find internal motivation and fulfilment, connection to nature and each other and not be hurried by the external pressures of modern life.
A framework that allows us to consume less and be more present. Imagine that!
Because we have to ask ourselves that if we’re feeling like our attention is scattered and we cant figure out what IS important – who or what system is benefiting from us being this way and who or what system is being negatively impacted from it?
A slow, simple seasonal life is one that might not look all that flashy on the outside but from the inside, you’ll feel like you finally found a place to call home.