I have a broody love-hate relationship with Winter. ❄️
In the past few emotional weeks since I wrote Why I Am Loving Winter Walks (holistichikes.com) a grey cloud loomed overhead and I felt short of breath, overwhelmed, and negated of the warmth and contentment of the author. Sure, life has been a ride with big birthdays and emotions around that but I feel it a little deeper this year. I guess getting older has made me so much more introspective and curious.
In my curious inquiry, the following words flowed from my fingers, tapping diligently on the keyboard from an unguarded moment in thought. It is my hope that these words help you to redefine your relationship with Winter in order to learn to love the challenge - the secret sauce to personal growth.
Spoiler - It's about Winter Hiking.
I'm outdoors more than most. Both with my work and walks with the dog. But there are moments when I snub the cold, windy conditions for a spot on the couch among the plethora of cushions that I own.
On the days when I shy away from the elements and seek comfort, is when the black cloud looms overhead and rain comes from within. I know better than to ignore mother nature but when I think and act small, she reminds me that I need to push through the challenge to make meaning of it all.
Honestly, I've been riding more waves of emotion than at the beach on my new custom board lately, and I'm tired. I want to stretch out on the metaphorical sand and rest. Sure, the waves are a lot smaller these days. No longer riding the emotional 'ocean waves' where you feel like you're drowning and never going to come up for air, but even these small waves remind you to keep balance.
Winter has that effect on us. The season of introspection highlights any unrest in our minds or exacerbating events happening in our life. I know this to be true for me. Many suffer from SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder aka the lethargy and blah feelings of cold days and low mood regardless of life circumstances.
How Hiking Can Help To Redefine Your Approach To Winter
HIKING has pulled me from under many black clouds, hormonal moody funks, and anxious narratives. Partly because nature makes us feel amazing, alive, and awake but also partly due to the effect on our psyche.
Hiking activates both hemispheres of our brain, resulting in creative thinking.
Hiking reminds us of the symbiotic nature we share with the Earth, we feel connected.
When we are in nature, the vastness of Earth shows us how small we are in the bigger picture of life and the universe, our problems suddenly seem much smaller.
Hiking is so much more than walking outdoors. It is a portal to another dimension where we have a unique perspective to look at the bigger picture.
Nature has the ability to dispel sadness, promote happiness and balanced well-being
Winter is a water element and cathartic to our nervous system in this season. A walk in the rain might just be the most invigorating experience to shake you from your doldrums.
More than a walk outdoors, when I take a hike, I know that Im physically pushing my body to function better, Im mentally pushing past challenges, building strength and resilience to keep those waves smaller and more manageable. Spiritually Im connected to the source of all life - nature.
🚶🏻♀️We can choose to take an easy route and mindfully anchor through our senses for a gentle approach to clearing our mind and balanced well-being.
🌄We can choose a little more challenging hike. A day in nature, push our limits a little and improve our confidence, health, and well-being substantially.
🏕️Taking a trip for a few days, camping in nature is one of the simplest resets that have long-term, profound effects on our holistic health.
If you're wrestling with a muddled mind, consider taking a hike.
Redefining my relationship with Winter is about bringing awareness to what rises with kind and curious inquiry. See the truth at the source and consider new ways to approach the cooler, icy conditions we are met with both physically and emotionally.
This LOVE-HATE pull that resides within no longer sits well with me.
Hate is a strong word. Challenging is more fitting.
I both LOVE & am CHALLENGED by Winter:
In digging deeper through the mud, the mess of life
for a clearer sense of who I am and what I offer.
In processing the emotions that rise and fall,
ebbing tides on the shoreline leave reminder they were there,
washed-up debris to pick over, discard and keep.
I love the shorter days to spend more nights in slumber,
a rest that is welcomed with heavy eyes.
The cool southerly breeze kisses my cheeks pink
and renders me weightless in the waves of cold water.
The brief cold, discomfort that I choose to step into,
where constriction gives way to flow.
I am challenged to love winter,
it's now when most vulnerable and unguarded
that I remind myself I am safe.
Challenged to continue to unpack, unfurl
let go and love all the feelings that arise.
I fall deeper in love with the fact that life we live derives meaning
from the challenges we face and overcome.