What did I learn from Winter hibernation?
May seems like such a long time ago now that September is just a few days away. Back in May, I decided to see what would happen if I truly listened to the call to slow down and rest for Winter.
It’s called cyclical living and it has huge benefits.
Women particularly hold a lot of cyclical wisdom in our bodies. Our hormonal cycles match the cycle of the seasons and the phases of the moon.
❄️ Winter = menstruation = new moon = a time of rest and reflection
🌱 Spring = folicular = waxing moon = emerging renewed, taking action
☀️ Summer = ovulation = full moon = enjoying the fruits of effort, socialising
🍂 Autumn = luteal = waning moon = completing cycles, preparing to rest
So you can see that Winter, the resting time, is actually the start of each new cycle. I think that’s pretty telling as to where we should start when we aren’t sure what to do! You can apply this to any aspect of your life. How you manage your home life, work life and social life can all benefit from honouring your shifting energy.
This Winter I;
🌸 Scaled back my podcast from weekly to fortnightly and have posted much less on social media
🌸 Spent time reflecting, decluttering, gardening, walking, reading, resting
🌸 Worked behind the scenes on new ideas and planning for How To Live Slow
🌸 Spent time with my kids playing, adventuring and connecting
🌸 Honoured my need for less socialising
🌸 Gave myself permission to be creative, say no, ask for help, let go, be present
🌸 Took 2 full weeks on Norfolk Island with limited wifi, bliss!
Taking time to shift gears instead of always being in doing, selling, action mode feels uncomfortable because it’s so programmed into us that our value is in how productive we are. BUT choosing a more cyclical way of living ultimately means achieving more and enjoying the view on the way.
Nervous system supported ✅
Energy levels activated ✅
Work-life flow achieved ✅
Relationships improved ✅
Satisfaction guaranteed ⭐️⭐️⭐️
What Came Up To Be Shifted
Roly and I ended up having a few life-shifting stresses come up during Winter. A lot of it was to do with our contracting business and ultimately it pushed us in exciting new directions.
It’s interesting how things came up to be shifted once I’d created space for that to happen.
I also found that I had a surge of PTSD symptoms come up. Do you know what though, I felt strong enough to sit in the feelings, work through them and shift some of the things that have held me back emotionally.
I’ve noticed I find it much easier to connect and be present with my kids, Roly and I are much more on the same wavelength and I’m less reactive. Our family dynamic has improved significantly, everyone is much more peaceful and cooperative. We want to be together most of the time!
So the hibernation mode really did do it’s trick!
I also found I slept a lot more and more deeply. The boys are no longer babies who need me all throughout the night. Sure, they wake me up when they climb in for a cuddle but that’s nothing! So I feel that the sleep deprivation of the last 6+ years of motherhood has begun to heal. If I had been charging on with the same pace of life, I might have missed that opportunity to restore.
I also learned that rest is about so much more than just sleep!
Rest is the ultimate self-care and it can take many forms.
It can be physical rest, emotional rest, social rest, mental rest, restorative exercise, social media breaks, sensory rest, giving yourself permission to do nothing and simply taking a moment to enjoy your food or a hot cup of tea. I took some time for all of those things and encouraged the kids to do the same.
We live by the philosophy that “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should” so we choose nourishing activities and keep it pretty flexible.
I read more books
I spent a lot more time giving myself permission to read more books. I went to bed early at 8pm and read for an hour or two most nights, spent Sunday afternoons reading or listened to audible books while walking through the forest.
I stopped reading for learning and started reading for entertainment
I can get caught up in learning mode which feels like being productive but is actually very well disguised procrastination. So I stopped reading books that placed self-help authors on a guru pedestal and started reading books for the pure joy of getting lost in a good story. Some fiction and some non-fiction memoir style.
It feels different.
📚 Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – a historical fiction and classic of its genre. It’s a huge book that took me all of June to finish. It was an excellent book.
📚 Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell – another historical fiction, based on the story of Shakespeare’s life. It won the Waterstones book of the year for 2020 and well deserved it.
📚 The Road To Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson – a travel memoir and follow up to Notes from a Small Island. It was just what I needed to soothe my travel aching soul.
📚 Walking Home by Sonia Choquette – her story about walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. It’s a lifelong goal of mine so I’ve read a few books to keep the dream alive until the time comes.
📚 The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell – it’s no sacret that I love the cultures of the world and Danish culture, especially the way they approach families and children, really appeals to me.
We also did some of our own travel
And took a slow approach to that too.
We flew to Norfolk Island in June for 11 days. Most people we told thought it would be too long and we’d run out of things to do. Roly was really worried after the third person told him that.
Norfolk Island is generally marketed to retirees which I think is a shame as it’s a great place to take kids. There’s no water parks or cinemas or bright light activities to do but you don’t need those things to create memories.
If you want to spend your days climbing Banyan trees, hiking down to remote beaches or stepping back in time to the rich history of a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, it might be your kind of holiday.
What will Spring bring?
My intention for Spring is to nurture the metaphorical seeds I’ve planted during the Winter.
Rest is an important part of the process of living and because we did that, I’m feeling the call to emerge from the metaphorical cave once again.
Spring is about emerging from rest and beginning new growth cycles.
🌸 a campervan trip (Longreach or Agnes Waters?)
🌸 a big office/warehouse move for our contracting business
🌸 to blog weekly on slow living and motherhood
🌸 to bring a brand new take on my program Martyr To Matriarch!
🌸 some new family rituals that are more outdoor focussed
What I won’t be doing is allowing myself to be caught back up in the hustle.
I’m staying in my own lane, working to my own schedule and achieving my own goals. They’re big goals but they fill me with joy, excitement and a sense of fulfilment just thinking about them. I’m taking it at a pace that suits me because I want to enjoy the process. In fact, it’s the process that’s MOST enjoyable for me in the game of life!
Living cyclically really has helped me to feel more internally motivated and filled with the zest of life.
I’m here for it all – the good, the bad, the hard and the amazing.
This is an invitation to try this way of living too
I’ve created a downloadable journal for you to take a look at what happened in Winter
and set some Spring intentions for yourself and your family.
CLICK BELOW to get instant access. No email required.