If you live in a place where you experience all four seasons, you’ve likely been feeling a change in the air. In the Northern hemisphere, right now you are probably looking out on some version of Winter Wonderland. Maybe it’s snow, maybe it’s ice, or maybe it’s your neighbor’s Christmas lights. One thing is for sure, Winter is here. December 21st marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, in the Northern hemisphere (and the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Southern hemisphere).
I always loved watching the seasons change: the first buds of Spring, the full blown heat of Summer, the falling leaves in Autumn, and the cool, crisp air that brings snow in Winter. In the past several years, I’ve become more interested in not just the external changes brought by the seasons, but the internal changes as well. I find that in Winter, I want to hibernate and be by myself. In Spring, I’m ready to start poking my head out, start new projects and be more social. In Summer, I love being outdoors as much as possible and interacting with others. In the Fall, I find myself increasingly reflective as I contemplate what I want to finish out and what I want to put on the back burner. I find myself wanting to slow down just a little bit more.
The more I started to notice these seasonal patterns, the more I realized that it was more than the four seasons for me. I was affected by the full wheel of the year – the season shifts and the mid-way points between seasons (also called cross quarters). I deeply felt the phase and sign of the moon each month. My moods and productivity were also influenced by where I was in my menstrual cycle. More importantly, the amount of self-care I need is influenced by all three of these. And then I realized that these are all cycles (seasons, moon phases, menstrual cycle) – cycles within cycles, so to speak. We all experience them a little differently and that’s the beauty of being human.
I was talking to a friend about this a few months ago. She remarked that she feels like she should live in the Southern hemisphere because, for her, our Fall and Winter in the Northern hemisphere are her “get up and go” seasons, and thus “feel” more Spring- and Summer-like to her because of her increased energy levels. I, on the other hand, tend to follow Mother Nature’s guidance in that my “get up and go” times are definitely Spring and Summer.
If you’ve never paid attention to how your energy levels fluctuate by these cycles, it might be an interesting self-study. If you want to learn more about how seasonal shifts influence you, I invite you to join us for Woman Unleashed online retreat. I will be talking about (and drawing) the wheel of the year and discussing how you can determine where you are on that wheel and how your self-care needs may differ. I hope you will join us!