How to Have a Gentle Start to The New Year (incl. Grounding Meditation)
Tired of feeling rushed or overwhelmed at the start of the year? Here are some ways you can take January and February gently to live in better alignment with the slow pace of Winter so that you feel refreshed and energised for spring! Plus a Grounding Meditation below...
The seasons and weather as well as the daily amount of daylight effect us. We can't live at the same pace all year long or else we burn out. Below are some ways you can nurture yourself during winter to encourage a more balanced lifestyle!
Just like everything else in nature we too go through cycles. Slow down and take a moment to observe how winter affects you...
Notice how the colder, darker months affect your mood and energy levels, and adjust your lifestyle to better support yourself during this time as an act of self-care.
Some examples are:
Having warm foods and hot drinks to soothe your body, instead of cold meals & iced beverages which can slow down digestion. Anyone else love a chai tea or turmeric latte?
Adding more spices to meals / drinks like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, star anise.
January and February are winter months (in the northern hemisphere) so naturally we may feel the need for deep rest, slow days and more sleep. Set some time aside before bedtime for an evening routine that down-regulates your nervous system, for better quality sleep. And allow yourself to have more sleep and rest, without guilt, if you feel like you need it!
Book a massage to help stiff, achy joints affected by the cold weather.
Remind yourself that you don't have to take lots on or put pressure on yourself just because it's the start of the year. You can start new goals any time in the year. You don't have to have New Years resolutions.
But if you do have New Years resolutions remind yourself that you are good enough, especially on days where you may fall off track - instead of beating yourself up, reevaluate and figure out how to make it easier for yourself and try again so that you don't give up or feel bad. Set yourself up for success by setting smaller, achievable goals. You can also find a buddy to do it with so that you have support and encouragement, and accountability, but make sure it always feels fun and achievable for both of you :)
Do things that soothe your nervous system and make life easier
If you find yourself with lots to do at the start of the year remember to prioritise, ask for help if you need it and delegate where you can.
Soothe your nervous system by taking time for yourself every day, even just 5 minutes to breathe deeply or have a moment to mindfully drink a herbal tea (chamomile and lavender are great options for relaxation). It's important to have daily check-ins with yourself in order to know what your mind and body requires. It's very simple; if you don't ask yourself how you're doing then how will you know what you need in order to live with more ease? And anyway, a more relaxed and happier you is a more productive and motivated you.
Other ways to soothe your nervous system are committing to a regular movement or calming practice, like yoga, meditation or breath-work.
Be kind and gentle with yourself, and notice how you talk to yourself. It's natural to want to go slow and do less during winter, this doesn't mean that you're 'lazy', 'unproductive' or 'weak' for opting for an easier start to the year.
If you're craving change in January but feel a lack of energy use this time to get clear on your direction for the year ahead and wait until Spring to action it out. Spring is all about new beginnings and we often start to find a natural boost of energy and motivation during this time.
Remember that Jan and Feb don't have to just be about improving fitness, work productivity or financial gain, they can be if you want but they can also be about inviting in more fun, joy, calm, love or anything else. So, remember to also schedule in weekly fun, relaxation, me-time etc.
Since we tend to spend more time indoors during winter we can use this time to tend to our home life. Make it a nice environment to be in and refresh your space by having a deep clean, fixing the broken things that have been craving your attention, selling old clothes, and reviving your dying plants.
Are you ready to gently start improving your physical, mental and emotional well-being whilst aligning with nature's cycles? Let's create a holistic lifestyle that best supports you!
Some of the tips mentioned above like honoring the night by creating the perfect evening routine, the importance of holding space for yourself with daily check-ins, regulating your nervous system and living in alignment with the seasons, are all topics I dive into in my 8-week online course Embodied Practices for Holistic Living.
If you'd like to learn how to live with more inner stability, emotional resilience, grounded presence, stronger intuition, a centered nervous system, yoga for overall balance, as well as how to live in tune with nature's rhythms for a better connection with Mother Nature (even if you live in the city and never spend time outdoors) click here to read the full course breakdown. We start on 23rd Jan and this might be the only time I run it in 2023. Early bird price ends 16th Jan and there's only 6 spaces available so get in touch if you're keen and ready to live more holistically!
Grounding Meditation if you're feeling overwhelmed and need to regulate your nervous system:
Stop what you're doing and find a safe, quiet environment to meditate in.
Let yourself get comfortable (sit or lie down). Relax and notice the weight of your body.
Relax a bit more.
Become aware of surface beneath you - feel the ground under your feet or the chair underneath you or your back being supported.
Allow yourself to relax into the surface supporting you a little bit more.
As your body becomes more relaxed you can start to notice your breath… Allow yourself to breathe a little deeper…
After a few deep breaths return your awareness back to the support underneath you and to the parts of your body that are in contact with this support…..
Know that you are grounded, stable, safe and held at this present moment in time... Stay for as long as you need. You can repeat steps 4 - 8 again if your mind becomes distracted (which is normal), as many times as you want.
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Sara Benitez is a yoga & meditation teacher, and holistic life-coach, from a family of mindfulness practitioners, who has 7 years of teaching experience and many more years of holistic living. She teaches private and public classes, courses, workshops, retreats and monthly Moon Circles. To find out more about Sara visit www.yoga-with-sara.com