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How to Enjoy the Seasonal Rhythms of Nature for a Healthier Happier You!
The seasons are part of the rhythm of nature. However in our modern lives we often try our best to ignore or resist these wonderful changes that are happening around us.
I also have a confession… I struggle with the British seasons. I am a sun lover at heart and the short unreliable British summers are always a bit of a disappointment. I also find the long, cold and wet winters can make me feel depressed. I am not alone though as this is well recognised by medical professionals as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). However unless you can easily relocate you have to make the best of what you have!
Our reliance on the seasons
In the past the cycle of the changing of the seasons was deeply respected and understood and relied upon by most cultures. The changing of the seasons had a massive impact on our food supplies and survival. In farming communities this impacted what food we could grow, when we should plant, how much we could store for winter. Or going back to hunter – gathering societies, the seasons would dictate when there would be a natural abundance. This could have been the fruiting of certain trees, or the migration of animals through your homelands.
The reliance and impact of the seasons was life and death. In many parts of the world this is still the case, however for many of you reading this our modern societies have become divorced from these natural rhythms, both from a food perspective, as we can go to the shops and buy unseasonal produce from around the world, but also in the way we lead our lives.
So why do we get seasons?
Good question. I must admit I needed to do a little research of my own for this one!
The seasons are the outcome of one of the many quirks of our amazing planet. The seasons are caused by the fact that the earth is actually tilted a little compared to the sun, so in summer in the northern hemisphere the earth is tilted more towards the sun – getting more direct sunlight and in the winter less. The further you live from the equator the more pronounced the seasons are.
This in turn impacts our day lengths and weather patterns. Wherever you are in the world I am sure you are pretty familiar with this rhythm, but do you actively enjoy it?
Enjoying the seasons
Here are some of my ideas on how to make the best of your seasons and attune yourself more to the earth’s natural rhythms:
Read up about the seasons, understand why they happen
A little bit of understanding will start to make them more interesting.
Recognise the impact they have on your feelings
If you are like me then winter can be a challenge. Read up about SAD and some strategies you could use to help you through. On the flip side use that spring energy to make big changes that will need all your energy!
Don’t resist what your body is telling you
In the winter if you are feeling a little more tired, then it’s ok to stay in bed a little longer (not till midday!). Try to maintain a regular routine but adjust it to the seasons.
Get out in nature every day and observe what is happening around you
Watch the birds, closely inspect plants and trees. I mean actually get hold of a branch and look at what is going on. Go back to the same tree in different seasons and watch the amazing changes. From winter dormancy, through to spring budding & blooming, to summer abundance and then autumnal release.
Find activities that you can enjoy
For me this winter I have refound the joy of splashing in muddy puddles in my boots! Alternatively this could be things like gardening, hiking, wild swimming or just sitting outside somewhere and taking it all in.
Find food that is in season
Seek out food that is in season in your local area and cook accordingly. But more on this another time!