If you live in a part of the world with different seasons, you know that winter can be a tricky one with more people hibernating, less social time, less daylight, and colder temperatures. Even if you don't, chances are that you do know what it's like to have to support yourself during a metaphorically challenging season.
When it comes to supporting yourself during this season *your* way, I invite you to zoom in on two life areas:
1. Self-discovery & Community-building: how we relate to ourselves and each other
2. Health & Self-advocacy: how we relate to our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health*
(*For a Yogic perspective on multifaceted wellbeing, check out The Heart of Yoga by T.K.V. Desikachar. For an Indigenous understanding of wellbeing through the Medicine Wheel, learn more here and here. It's with deep gratitude for my teachers who shared these learnings with me that I now share them with you.)
1. Self-discovery and Community-building:
When we talk about community-building, we're also talking about nervous system co-regulation. Yes, relationships between people are also relationships between nervous systems. Safe relationships are then those where our nervous systems experience a real and perceived physiological safety. During any season, staying connected to our community is vital. During the winter season, it's particularly challenging to do and especially important to try.
These relationships help us self-regulate when our nervous systems have become activated into fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. On the one hand, from an emotional body perspective, leaning into this sense of safety allows us to feel seen, heard, and understood. On the other, from a spiritual body and connection to others perspective, these allow us to show up for others in ways that make them feel seen, heard, and understood.
When deciding how to nurture existing relationships and/or create new ones *your* way, here are 6 questions to consider:
1. Who helps me make peace with life's dreadful and wonderful in any season?
2. How might I nourish these relationships or how might I create them throughout the season?
3. How am I showing up for the people I care about and is this how I want to continue to do so?
4. What might make it easier to show up or continue showing up the way I actually want to?
5. What do I need to explicitly ask for to feel seen, heard, and understood?
6. When and how might I check in with others explicitly as to what makes them feel seen, heard, and understood?
From a mental body and planning perspective, I invite you to create a gentle plan based on your answers to these questions. The key is to focus on small, incremental changes that make this type of community-building nourishing, growth-promoting, and sustainable over the long-term. Less is more as long it means that you don't have to stop nourishing and creating neurobiologically safe relationships. The myth of going at it alone is harmful and unsustainable. Let's not fall for it.
2. Health and Self-advocacy:
What's powerful about healthy co-regulation is that it can also positively impact our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. How? By making it easier to show up as our full selves without fear and ask for what we need without shame while making others feel just as safe and respected to do the same.
When we isolate, which we risk doing more of during harsh seasons, we lose the opportunity to co-regulate. Safe co-regulation is integral to developing nervous system flexibility because our nervous systems need outside confirmation that it's physiologically safe to adapt to change. One of the key factors in our capacity to adapt to change is connection to others.
At the same time, from a physical body perspective, our nervous systems also requires a few basics: enough sleep, movement, water, and nutrient-dense food. Again, the invitation here is to focus on small, incremental changes over time. For example, going to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual, going for a walk around the block, carrying a water bottle with you, and/or having a protein-dense breakfast.
To come up with a gentle plan *your* way, I invite you to consider 2 key questions:
1. How might I reframe these efforts as something nourishing instead of something imposing "I have to do"?
2. How might I practice self-attuning instead of self-monitoring?
For coaching support on developing the nervous system flexibility that allows you to live into your purpose, passion, and potential, book a Discovery Call with me here