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Mindful Practices for the Winter Months

As I sit and write this, the hours of daylight are getting shorter. Entering and enduring the winter months can be difficult in many ways for some of us. Especially this year, as we emerge from the cocoon of the pandemic, many of us are re-entering the world and socializing more than we have in two years.

Let’s be honest, re-entering can bring anxious thoughts and feelings. We may not know why, whether its just being of practice”people-ing”, or whether we have truly changed where and how we wish to extend our energy. Regardless of the reason, entering a new season or perhaps picking up new activities that have been set aside for a period of time, we can feel added stress.

I am reminded of some of my basic mindfulness practices that help me when I will be socializing with people I have not seen in a long time, or perhaps trying something new. I invite myself to enter the situation with openness and curiosity. Perhaps seeing family members that I have not seen in a long time, perhaps greeting people that I may not always agree with, I approach them as if it is the first time I am meeting them. With a beginners mind, I seek to put aside any pre-conceived opinions or judgements and invite in an opening to see the good in every person, in every situation.

Getting caught up in the trap of perfection can also influence our enjoyment of life. My mindful practices, including conscious use of social media, has helped me maintain a healthy perspective. Reflecting through a gratitude journal of what really matters to me, has helped me connect with what really matters to me, where meaning really lies. Showing up authentically, living a life of integrity and balance, maybe a few examples of how this looks for you.

These months where we are not outside as much, or prefer to stay indoors for longer periods of time, we can also find ourselves lonely, and missing others. Accept that these are natural and normal feelings! When I feel these emotions rising, I pause and explore how I am feeling with self compassion and graceWhether with the mail delivery or UPS person, or a family member, or a co-worker, I seek to connect in meaningful ways from a place of compassion and generosity of spirit.

Lastly, I approach these months with curiosity! My daily journaling and art practice explore what the darker, colder months can teach me about myself. As the daylight hours extend, I look forward to nature waking up! Mindfully, I notice the changes outside my window and am in awe of how nature survives, thrives as it regenerates during the winter. What can each of us learn from this?

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