I’m taking a personal retreat right now and have been diving into my practice. I’ve wanted to take a short sabbatical during the holidays for a long time. I feel very blessed to have this gift of uninterrupted time. My practice always aligns me with my inner rhythms which gives me the feeling of abundant energy.
Winter is a time for hibernation.
This is a time when the solar energy of the sun is in short supply. Energetically, winter is the season of apana. Apana (the downward current of subtle energy) is the force that governs elimination in the body (excretion, urination, menstruation). Psychologically, it’s best described as a state of introversion. In nature, apana is the force that draws sap into the tree’s roots.
The holiday season presents an interesting counterbalance, as it typically requires a great deal of output – emotionally, socially, financially, and physically. Being extroverted at this time of year doesn’t necessarily align with the laws of nature. And this can make us feel disconnected from our natural rhythms.
With so much emphasis on externalization it’s easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking that we are not enough.
Some people power through the holiday season like a marathon runner but overexertion might result in sickness. Eating foods that we don’t typically eat, drinking excess amounts of alcohol, and cold exposure can take a significant toll on our physical health. And the holiday season can lead to a number of mental health issues.
While it is possible to cultivate energy through the holidays, it’s very important that we have enough gas in our tanks. And we might not have the space in our schedules for taking a personal retreat. So what else can we do? Here are some simple suggestions of ways to practice refilling your “cup.”
- Stay well-hydrated: drink plenty of room temperature, filtered water.
- Eat the most beautiful food.
- Be mindful of CATS (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar).
- Turn off your television.
- Avoid violent movies and fear-induced media hype.
- Go outside and spend time in nature.
- Don’t read the news when you’re eating.
- Go to bed when you’re tired or take a nap.
- Slow down.
- Meditate. Light a candle or sit by a fireplace (the ultimate television).
- Exercise: move in ways that your body enjoys.
- Breathe. A lot.
- Relax in the sunshine.
- Play, laugh, love.
- Drink tea.
- Sing your songs.
What are some other ways to take a personal retreat during this time of year? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.
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How to Plan a Winter Solstice Retreat