Taking a Seasonal Review.
As we head into November, December and the deepest part of winter, it’s a phase of losing and letting go. In the northern hemisphere anyway, it’s the time when the light fades, the clocks go back and leaves on many plants are surrendered to the ground as the temperatures drop. For some people it’s time to rejoice about the return of their warm winter fluffy slippers, hats, scarves and boots. But for others, it’s a time when Seasonal Affective Disorder starts to creep in with a general sense of doom towards the failing light and the cold.
Which are you more likely to be?
Whatever the transition into Autumn and Winter means to you, one thing is for certain, we can’t escape the many visual and sensory changes taking place all around us in this temperate part of the world. A shift in season gives us a chance to notice what is ending, dying and in turn what will be again in the next one.
In my coaching work, I find this a really useful metaphor, to reflect on these seasonal changes and find comparisons to what’s happening in our own lives. Asking ourselves what we have to let go of, what we choose to surrender and then what we hope for. By being led with the seasons in this way we are able to consider the balance of our life roles, goals and habits on a regular basis. The natural changes around us can be used as a visual guide to remind us when we need to make another review.
Here in nature, Autumn is about storing up the good stuff, letting go and waiting in the warm for things to start up again. Take a deciduous tree, in Autumn saving vital nutrients for survival, shedding unwanted material by way of leaves and closing up shop for the winter by going dormant. Or a squirrel gathering nuts, bolstering it’s drey to maximise warmth and only coming out when the weather allows it during the coldest weeks.
In our way many of us humans do the same as the squirrel by running around like crazy getting things ready for the festive period, gathering stuff to eat and then hunkering down for a bit whilst living off those provisions. But how does it feel doing things the way you do them now? If you’re loving the winter, the scurrying, Christmas time and the hunkering down, then there may not be any need to change a thing. And may I wish you a very happy festive season indeed.
But many of us know we don’t really enjoy aspects of this time of year. If that’s how things are for you, how about considering what you can do differently this year in a way that’ll serve you better and do so before January the 1st. Doing the review now as we go down into the depths of winter will enable you to minimise the potential stress leading up to Christmas and the New Year.
Try this review exercise with pen and paper:
Ask yourself and write down:
What is it I need to let go of right now?
What is it I need to say no to?
What can I do differently this year?
What are my values and how can I stick to them?
What do I need more of to sustain me?
What am I looking forward to?
What can I do to make sure I stick with these changes?
By taking a review now in Autumn/Winter we can avoid the potential pitfalls of the commonly set January the 1st resolutions. I would argue the abrupt and overnight nature of these promises being made at a time which is still in the depths of winter, make them harder to sustain. We race ahead with forced rather than natural energy on the 1st and we often haven’t even run out of Christmas cake by then!
I invite you to slow down, follow the seasons, be more gentle on yourself and await the slow arrival of the next season before making your resolutions and taking your next review.
Wait until spring and the fresh faces of new flowers are gracing us with their presence.
Written on 30/11/2018. Article written by Anna Rae-Jones, life coach, mentor, group facilitator, speaker and creative in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK.
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