In my recent newsletter I mentioned that I was just finished my Winter hibernation and I got a few questions/comments/giggles about it so here a post about Hibernation: Why I believe it’s not just for Bears, but for People as well. And why I recommend that you hibernate this winter too!
How on earth did you end up Hibernating?
When I began my quest to seriously ‘cure’ my anxiety in 2012 I made one commitment to myself; that I would try absolutely everything, and that no idea was too wacky. Needless to say, courtesy of the internet, there are a lot of wacky options! Most of these ‘cures’, ‘antidotes’, ‘techniques’ are basically just different self care routines. I love the whole digital age, but I do feel we got something wrong along the way, and I believe self-care and self-awareness are key.You can read about some of my other experiences throughout the blog such as my ‘Me-treat‘ and my Floating Experience.
So in my continued efforts to have the PERFECT work-life balance and the best emotional health I can possibly achieve, I check out all sorts of theories I find along the way.
The Seasons Principle
I can’t tell you exactly how I came across it but I eventually came across the concept of ‘Seasons’. In hindsight it’s the worst kept secret in the world, I had just never thought of it.
Similarly to how women have a monthly cycle, Seasons simply means that you have an annual cycle too. And that you take note of, and work with that cycle.
Before we had electricity, and a working-week and money, humans would have lived with the seasons. We would have eaten whatever was in season, got up with the sun and gone to sleep with the dark. This means we would have more energetic summers and longer, cosier winters. We might work 60 hours a week during the autumn to collect a harvest, but only 5 hours a week in the winter to do the minimum.
S.A.D The Winter Disease
I think most of us feel less energy over the Winter months. I know for me it is always the time I have to really keep an eye on my self-care and my emotional health. As I thought more about the concept of Seasons, I wondered if there was some way that I could use Winter differently and see it as a more positive event rather than something to just ‘get-through’. So I decided to hibernate.
Animals do it, plants do it, bears do it… like, why not me?!
How to Hibernate this Winter!
It wasn’t a total lifestyle change in one go. I started by getting into bed the minute the boss was down. I would get my jobs done before I brought her up and switch off the lights before I came upstairs. This way I wasn’t tempted to come back down and just ‘pop Netflix on’. Then the rest;
- There were no rules for what I did in bed, even if it was Social Media, I figured I was going to look at social media anyway so I might as well start earlier and finish earlier. Sometimes it was Netflix, sometimes reading. No rules
- I started to like hitting bed earlier so I thought I’d flesh it out a bit. I worked on getting the PERFECT room conditions. (I seek perfection a lot!). Turns out its low radiator heat and a hot water bottle. Pure Bliss!
- Candles, cushions, nice room smells I hygge-d up my room. I made it that I loved coming up to bed in the evening. I also went out of my way to keep my room tidy so I’d be legging it to bed in the evening.
- Seeing as I was dedicating myself to them more, I bought smashing new, fancy PJ’s, #valueformoney
- I’m pretty awful at fruit and veg, especially in the winter, so I got some Greens Supplements. I also ate nice food because its good to bulk up in the winter. Keeps you warm. #fatspo
- I started turning down late-night social engagements. The truth is I don’t like going out in Winter, I never did. Its dark and cold, and I just need all my good juju for staying healthy. I explained to my friends that I was hibernating and we just planned stuff for during the day, and early evening. It was weird at the start but after a while people just got into it.
- Any non-essential projects I didn’t have to do, I dropped. I had some DIY projects and blogging projects I really wanted to do, but I just rescheduled them until Spring and then didn’t beat myself up about not doing things. I’m a bit of a doer in real life, so giving myself permission to not-do was key here. #not-DIYing
- Last thing I did was avoided sad stories. I didn’t watch any weepies, read the news, click on click baits, engage with trolls etc. I’m an extrovert so I absorb emotions, I made it my purpose to avoid as many bad ones as I could
And did it work?
In the first year I definitely felt, just better. This year when I properly committed to it I really felt so good. My anxiety was the best its been in the 7 years since I began consciously self-caring and that’s a huge win.
And as a bonus I actually had the best Christmas budget ever because I didn’t waste time going to things I didn’t want to go to. I also spoke with a lot of the people close to me and agreed no presents. Instead we would plan an activity or quality time together and that was a great move. More love less spending is my idea of Christmas Spirit.
I’m sold how can I hibernate!
Welcome to the club, you’ll like it here, we have cake… 😉
Here would be my top tips for if you would like to Hibernate Winter 2019:
- Pick your dates. Ultimately if you stop doing stuff in October and have no end date that’s not hibernating, that’s just stopping. I set February 1st as my start date which coincides nicely with the first day of Spring and Imbolc in the celtic calendar. Once I had a re-start date I wasn’t avoiding things, I was just rescheduling
- Choose your hibernation space and make it gorgeous. Whether it’s a living room or a bedroom, doesn’t matter, just make it yours. Smelly candles, cushions, throws, puppies, mars bars…whatever you’re into.
- TELL PEOPLE that you are hibernating. At the start, before I even realised I was hibernating properly, I was turning down social requests and I realised people were probably starting to think I was just being rude. I took the time to tell my friends and loved ones what was going on, and explained it was part of my own self-care regime and most of them were very cool with it. Some of them joined in.
- Keep a list of things to do while you’re hibernating, books and articles you want to read, podcasts you want to listen to etc… Then keep a list of the stuff you’re going to do when you’re back to life, like the DIY projects or the additional work projects etc.
Still Not Convinced?
Hibernating is one of those things you probably already half do, but try committing to it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results!
Details of my bizarre reading material if you’re interested!
In 2017 I stumbled across the concept of the ‘Divine Feminine’. There is a lady in Australia called Julie Parker who is really into this and does a lot of really funky stuff like Shamanic retreats and ‘Re-Wilding’. (check out her blog there is some amazing stuff in there).
Anyway that lead me down the rabbit hole of ‘Womanhood’, which if you are on the internet is a whole wide world I never heard of. Everything from Menstrual Coaches to Honour your Cycle, (Claire Baker ), to authors like Jean Shnoda Bolen, ‘Goddess Theory’, which is a psychological explanation for ways women behave but told through Greek Goddess’ stories. And not to mention good old basic feminism like the ‘Me Too’ movement. It was never ending. But then I hit the motherload: Female pun intended!
And as always if you have any ideas or comments please pop them in the comments below!