Living According to the Seasons

Living in rhythm with the season means adapting ourselves and our lifestyles to the Earth’s natural cycles. Taking the seasons into account and listening to our body’s needs supports our health and allows us to make use of our energies to the fullest. In former times, it was natural to live in rhythm with nature. People were more active and worked longer hours in the summer, and slowed down more in winter. They used the long dark winter months for rest and more sleep in order to regain energy for the coming spring and summer. In our modern world, it is easy to lose the connection to these natural rhythms. We have moved away from sensing that we are part of a natural cycle. Yet playing our part in it wisely benefits our health and vitality.

In modern society, it is almost expected to have the energy of an ongoing summer: Showing up brightly, fulfilling our daily activities effectively and quickly, getting as much done as possible, staying up until late. We value achievement and success. Our busy lives don’t seem to slow down much. We think we can stay active and upbeat throughout the whole year – with no downtime. No surprise that so many of us are low energy and feel ‘burned out’.  We don’t give ourselves enough time to nourish our body and mind – to recover, rest and rejuvenate during the fall and winter months.

How to let the seasons be our guide and teacher? What does each season teach us?

In spring nature awakens and uses its accumulated energy for new growth. Similarly for us, spring is a good time to face challenges, start something new and make changes. Many people are “spring feverish” and have lot of energy for activity. Spring is the time get more exercise and bring more movement in our body with yoga or stretching, be more outdoors and let the fresh air revive our energies. Eat lighter meals in the spring and use this time to detox and cleanse your body.

Summer is the time of joy and lightness. We can be carefree and relaxed. In summer, it is easy to fulfill our daily tasks and have enough energy to get together and celebrate! Summer is the time to connect with friends and family and enjoy the long days. In summer, we need lighter meals, fresh fruit, salads and less fat. It is beneficial to exercise and move a lot in the fresh air. Challenge yourself!

In the fall, it benefits us to move away from the external quality of summer. By slowly paying more attention to our internal lives, we can learn and grow. Days are getting shorter, leaves are falling … Again nature shows us the way: Is there anything we can let go of? Fall is also the time of harvest and celebrate abundance – in nature and in life. Strengthen your immune system. Sleep a little longer. Keep warm. Reduce cooling foods like raw vegetables and salads. Go for long walks in the beautiful fall colours!

Then the darkest season of the year begins. Winter is the time to slow down, rest and take stock of what we have accomplished. In the cold winter months, it is wise to go inwards and use the time for reflection, making plans, meditation and regeneration. Just as the plants die back and descend their energy into the roots, it is the time to nourish our own roots and welcome the stillness of winter. To keep our energy, it may be best to reduce vigorous exercise and nourish ourselves with warm soups and stews. Take warm foot bath in the evening. Make lots of time for rest and rejuvenation.

Winter may be the most challenging time for us – as our modern world devalues rest and non-activity. However, if we take time to restore our energies in winter, we are much better off in spring and summer. That way, we can face challenges in the summer such as hiking up big mountains or dancing through a hot summer night. Let’s make wise choices and live our lives to the fullest in each season!