Seasonal Self-Care Ideas: How to Align Your Self-Care with the Seasons

What is Seasonal Self-Care?

Seasonal self-care is a way of living that maintains personal health and balance in alignment with the changing of the seasons. It involves listening to the wisdom of your body and allowing its rhythms to sync with nature.

Let’s take a look at the four seasons and how you can align your self-care with each one. I’ll refer to the Six Dimensions of Wellness and mindfulness to help you get the most out of each season! 

How to Align Your Self-Care with the Seasons

Spring

At last, new buds on trees, tiny sprouts peeking out of the ground, and the grass is finally turning green. You guessed it, it’s spring! Celebrate this season by getting outside. Wake up your winterized body to the spring sunshine and start moving again. 

Spring is the time of new beginnings. It’s a great time to take a look at the Wellness Wheel, and take stock of the Dimensions of Wellness: physical, social, environmental, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. Rate your level of satisfaction with each dimension of wellness  0-10: 0 being not satisfied at all, and 10 being very satisfied. 

First, look at what areas are going well in your life and congratulate yourself. Next, take notice of the areas that are going okay, and then zero in on the areas that you rated the lowest. To get started on a wellness goal, ask yourself these questions:

  • Which goal is most pressing in my life at this moment?
  • Which goal would be the easiest for me to get started on?
  • What are my past successes with this goal?
  • What kind of support do I need with this goal?
  • What would be the benefits of obtaining this goal?

Spend some time journaling with these questions until you have decided which one to start with. I recommend focusing on one goal at a time. Once you are making some progress, then you can add something else.

6 Dimensions of Wellness

 

Finally, we usually use mindfulness to focus on activities that we enjoy, making the most of the present moment, but did you know that mindfulness can also be used during tasks that we might deem unpleasant? 

If you need to get some spring cleaning done, don’t distract yourself with podcasts. Focus on the job with all your senses and pour your love into the task. You might just enjoy yourself and the high of achieving a difficult task will be even sweeter!

Summer

For most of us, summer means a break from our routines. This could be time at the lake, family reunions, campouts, barbeques and beach vacations. Summer is probably the most social of all the seasons. Set an intention to greet everyone you meet with a smile and open heart. 

Make the most of summer family time by bringing mindfulness into the equation. Encourage your family to have some electronic-free spaces, so that you can all be present for that special time with your loved ones. It’s a good idea to agree on these boundaries before you leave on vacation, to avoid any conflicts in the moment. 

Hot weather means time in the water! There’s no better way to cleanse your chakras, revitalize your energy and get some great exercise by swimming in natural bodies of water such as oceans, rivers and lakes. Connecting with these divine pools decreases stress and gives you a natural high that will increase feel good hormones such as dopamine. 

Summer is the peak season for fresh fruit and vegetables. Enjoy cool, fresh foods such as salads and in-season fruits. Keeping hydrated is crucial if you are out in hot weather. Stick to water and tasty herbal iced teas. Remember that alcohol, sugary and caffeinated drinks are diuretics and will dehydrate your body. 

 

Woman Fall Leaves

Fall

What’s not to love about fall? The hot weather is finally cooling down and nature puts on its own gorgeous color show. Take advantage of this picturesque season and enjoy walks through the fallen leaves. 

I know you’ve heard of mindfulness, but have you heard of mindful walks? Mindful walking is when you intentionally focus on your breath and the feel of your feet hitting the ground. Don’t get stuck inside your head. Let worries and thoughts come and go without grabbing onto them. Look around your habitual walking path with new eyes, taking time to notice things you usually miss. 

Besides the beautiful fall visuals, take note of the sound of the leaves crackling under your feet. I love to pick up a handful of leaves and take a huge sniff. And don’t forget, raking leaves may seem like a pain, but it’s great exercise. You might even be tempted to dive into your pile of leaves!

In addition to crisp air and cooler temperatures, it’s harvest time. Gather up those pumpkins, squashes, gourds and organic apples and pears. Use them to decorate your home and make your favorite recipes of the season. One of my favorites is pumpkin soup which I first became acquainted with when my sister brought the recipe home from Australia. Here’s a pumpkin soup recipe that I enjoy. 

Finally, start to shift your exercise routine inside. It’s time to start slowing down after a busy summer.  Search your area for a yoga, pilates or Qigong class. Yoga with Adriene is a lovely online yoga class (it’s free!) for mixed levels. 

Winter

Winter arrives, and depending where you live, it could be slightly cooler, or just plain frigid. Give yourself permission to slow down, conserve energy and even hibernate to a degree. I love the book Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May. “Doing these deeply unfashionable things — slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting — is a radical act now, but it is essential,” she writes.

Now that it’s cold out, you will probably have to move inside for your self-care time. This is a great excuse to convert an area in your home into your personal space. Whether it’s a corner of your living room or a special nook, claim it as your spot. 

Fill your special place with things that make you happy: your books, journals, comfy pillows and throws and your favorite plants. Use it daily for your self-care time, which is a time devoted entirely to YOU. Check out my blog post Self-Care Sunday: 50 Ideas for a Guilt Free Recharge for ideas on how to devote a whole day to your self-care.

The slow pace of winter is the perfect time for inner reflection. Take some time to check in with yourself, holistically. How are you feeling, body, mind and spirit? What’s going well for you, and what are some changes you’d like to make? Get out your journal and do some soul searching. 

An ayurveda practice that I learned about recently is abhyanga, which is the ritual of daily oiling the entire body. It is believed that this practice restores balance and enhances well-being and longevity.  Basically, you follow certain guidelines on how to massage oil onto your entire body, lavishing yourself with love and attention while doing so. Who doesn’t need more of that? 

Finally, keep your eye out for seasonal affective disorder. The reduction of light, gray skies and possible lack of social interactions can drastically affect your mood. Symptoms can include feeling listless or low energy, losing interest in your normal activities or overeating. 

Bringing Mindfulness into the Four Seasons

How can you bring mindfulness into the four seasons? By experiencing each season with full attention and awareness. Spend time outside with your family and friends and marvel at each season’s miracles.

Start by accepting temperature and seasonal changes with an open heart, even if they cause slight discomfort. For example, do the earth a favor and set your thermostat a couple degrees lower in winter. Grab a wool sweater and socks and a hot beverage. Let your body actually feel and adapt to the cooler weather. 

Another way is to tune into the local produce of each season. The best way to do this is to visit your local farmer’s market. The produce being sold at these markets is what is fresh and available now. Making seasonal favorites with local harvests cuts down on the carbon footprint of shipping, and allows your family to support the farmers in your area. Win-win!

Conclusion

In conclusion, seasonal self-care is a way of living that maintains personal health and balance in alignment with the changing of the seasons. Keeping this in mind, we can look forward to the gifts of each season and adjust our self-care to make the most of the bounties that nature offers us! 

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