We have sprung forward as of March 12th with the changing of the clocks and March 20th marks the first official day of the Spring season. Each year without fail I get ridiculously excited for these seasonal changes, Spring especially.
Spring comes with so many positive connotations: renewal, youth, new life, awakening, and transformation. We might not realize how deeply we are effected by these changes or metaphors, but if we look a little deeper we can see how in small ways the seasons affect us all.
The winter season creates shorter days. Less sunlight naturally affects our energy levels. Growing up in Florida I did not have to worry about cold weather. Winters in the Southeast actually had more of an energizing effect than anything else. Being up North now, my energy levels dramatically dip when the time "falls back" and the sun sets at 4:30pm.
Our energy levels have a direct connection to our mood and lower energy generally means more funky feelings. We may be less inclined to exercise, be social or practice self-care. We may experience a high point when New Year's resolutions are at their peak but then we level out to what may be our winter norm (more on reworking your resolutions to be long-term changes here).
In addition to low energy, the food we eat in the winter time usually falls within the heavier, more comforting category as opposed to the light, fresh foods of summer time. It makes sense due to the seasonal patterns of farming. What is in season during the winter are root vegetables, like squash and potatoes as well as other dense roots. These heavier meals have a tendency to weigh us down both physically and emotionally.
Instead of focusing on what we cannot control, like daylight and the seasons, we have to help ourselves adjust by focusing on what we can control.
Springing Ourselves Forward
Going back to those Spring metaphors of all things new, we can benefit from checking in with the sides of ourselves that have been less than motivated to prepare ourselves for the change. I am not referring to getting "bikini ready," rather mentally prepared for the new possibilities that the year holds.
Reflecting on our year goals can be a powerful check-in point to see what is working and what is not. For instance, my goals to be more consistent in my writing have been subpar due, in part, to the lull that hits with the winter weather. I have had to navigate through the mental fog to get myself to a place of increased motivation.
For me, taking advantage of the seasonal change will mean getting outside as much as possible when the weather begins to change. Longer days mean more energy and brighter spirits with a little more time to feel productive during the day. The resurgence of Spring veggies mean transitioning from nest-mode to something lighter and fresher.
Evaluating our energy holes can be enlightening and can help us be more inclined to make changes rather than letting our low energy dictate everything. Maybe you get a burst of physical energy in the morning or creative energy in the evening. Understanding where your strengths are can be empowering for maximizing productivity and beginning to change the weaker points.
When all else fails, give yourself an energy jumpstart by enacting the "fake it until you make it" rule. Try this with your exercise routine, small changes in your day, adjustments in your eating, or beginning a change that you have not had the energy to make. We can make all the excuses in the world when we are in a funk so sometimes it is best to just take small steps in the direction of what we know is best.