Is it just me, or does this winter seem to be dragging on for a particularly long time? It’s been wonderful to see the days getting longer – I’ve been very grateful for those extra few minutes of daylight when I go to see the horses in the morning and evening – but the stormy weather seems to have plunged us back into grey skies and gloomy days.
Here in the UK we’ve been battered by a series of storms, one after the other, that have really taken their toll. Flooding, fallen trees, road closures, and travel chaos. Many people have had to leave their homes as the water has taken over, and now they can only wait to see what damage has been done and when they might be able to get back to some sort of normality.
It’s been challenging to see how our beautiful Earth appears so out of balance. One half is overwhelmed and flooded, the other is experiencing burnout. I was intrigued when I noticed that these words could be applied in a physical sense, but also can be used to describe emotional states…
When looking at things from this perspective, I was struck by how this is a reflection of what many people are feeling. Overwhelm and burnout often seem to be the dis-ease of our time.
Looking at storms outside can also bring up our own feelings of anxiety and insecurity, leaving us feeling on edge, emotional and run-down. We can find ourselves lying in bed at night listening to the wind howling, unable to sleep for worries about what damage we’ll find in the morning.
So, what can we do?
I believe that self-care is essential, particularly at times like this. It’s no coincidence that when the days are dark and storms are raging, we long to find a nice cosy corner to just curl up and hibernate! Rest is so important. It gives us the time and space we need to process, and also for our bodies to enter a state of ‘rest and repair’, allowing us to recharge and refresh ourselves, ready to emerge fit and energised in the Spring.
It’s still good to spend at least some time outside on a regular basis. Since moving to Wales, I have a much more outdoors lifestyle, working in the fields with the horses, surrounded by all the trees, hedges and creatures of this space. I’ve realised that it’s made a big difference to how I feel. I’m fitter and less affected by the shortness of the winter days. Short spells of being out in the wind, and even the rain, can be invigorating! This can quickly turn to draining and exhausting though, particularly when trying to battle against the elements and through deep mud – a fantastic metaphor for life in there I’m sure! – which brings me round again to the importance of rest.
Making sure that we’re eating well, is another great support to our wellbeing. Including fresh vegetables and/or fruit at every meal, in a wide variety of colours, helps to ensure that we’re getting a wide range of vitamins and minerals to support our immune system and keep us healthy.
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Going back to thinking about the balance – or lack of it – that the Earth is experiencing at this time, how can we as individuals hope to make the slightest bit of difference?
Actually, I believe that we have much more power than we think, or than we give ourselves credit for.
In fact, there’s a famous quote from Marianne Williamson:
It’s about understanding that the only thing we can change is ourselves, but that in doing this we send out ripples that impact on those around us, which can spread far and wide.
I once watched a programme in which Professor Brian Cox said that if we rub our hands together, this changes the charge on the electrons on the surface of our skin, and in fact then changes every single electron in the Universe as “no two electrons in an atom can be at the same time in the same state or configuration”. This is known as the Pauli exclusion principle.
This is all a bit scientific for me, but basically I take it as an affirmation that if I change my energy, the energy of everything around me has to readjust.
This is why I believe that self-care is actually a very generous way to share!
We are all connected: to each other, to Nature and to the Earth itself. When I am calm and feeling at ease, others around me will sense this and start to come in line with this feeling. If I am tense and anxious, they will pick up on this too, and start to feel fidgety.
Therefore, when I care for myself, looking after my needs, releasing stress, and coming to a place of greater balance and inner harmony, I share this with those around me. And the ripples continue to spread, further and further out.
This sounds simple, and in many ways it is, but it’s not always easy for us. We often carry beliefs that can hold us stuck in unhelpful patterns of behaviour. When we’ve felt overwhelmed, facing a situation for which we’ve had no coping strategy in that moment, we can fall into coping mechanisms which might get us out of that tricky situation, but which often prove to be unsupportive in the longer term. That’s perfectly normal but it means that it’s a good idea to regularly check in with ourselves to see where things are going well, or where we’re experiencing stress and discomfort, indicating that something isn’t serving us.
This is where reaching out for help can be so valuable. Sometimes we need someone to hold a safe space for us, where we can explore our beliefs and see how they could be adjusted in order to be more aligned with Who We Really Are, that is, our amazing, unique expression of Love. A non-judgemental, objective and supporting hand can assist us greatly in this.
As we enter March now, and – hopefully – the beginnings of Spring, I wish you a fresh new start, with renewed energy and vitality for whatever new adventures lie ahead.
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