The Urge to Hibernate

We all get it this time of year, it may not manifest itself as hiding nuts in trees, – or maybe it does, I am not judging! 😜 – but it is there none-the-less. A primal urge to hunker down for the cold hard months ahead.

This drive to bundle up with junk food, and 8 wool sweaters, eventually turns into cabin fever after a few months, because we turn inwards so much we get stir-crazy.

So what’s a chipmunk to do? Well unless you are into winter sports, there is not a great deal to do, but we can adapt. – If you are, then great strap on some skis and get back to me in 6 months 😛.

How you adapt is going to depend on you, but it will likely consist of a bit more sleep, warm healthy food, and exercise you enjoy. (shovelling snow does’t count!)

For example here is how I am adapting…

  • Wake up an hour later. Just before and during show season I get up at 4:30am, this gives me time to workout, do farm chores, ride, eat and shower before my day starts, but since I don’t have an indoor arena once I am out of daylight, then that schedule doesn’t work anymore. So during fall and winter I shift my horses to a maintenance schedule of training, where I keep them fit, and teach them fun tricks to keep their minds engaged. (and mine as well) If I got up at 4:30 anyway I would have a lot of dead space in my mornings, and would likely get everything I need to get done in a day before 8am, which sounds great in theory, but what do you do for the rest of the day? Cue Cabin Fever. By shortening my days by an hour I allow myself to stay occupied throughout the day, that way I don’t get bored.
  • Feed your cravings with care. We all have the same types of cravings this time of year, fat and sugar, and the holidays make that 10 times worse, I don’t know about you but I manage to convince myself that Christmas is a 3 week event most years. So a simple treat can turn into a whole slew of unhealthy choices that will set you up for some mostly unattainable New Year’s Resolutions! 😉 I am combating this by feeding my cravings with unknowingly healthy-er options, an Almond Milk Hot Chocolate here, and a homemade soup there and I manage to curb most of the major cravings. I also can’t for the life of me eat raw veggies this time of year, they actually turn my stomach, plus they are not very fresh this time of year either, so I stock up on frozen fruits and veggies as well!
  • Move your feet! Like I said shovelling snow doesn’t count really, although it is exercise, it is very hard on the body in the wrong ways. I have been doing a mix of Country Heat (a dance program) and Yoga Retreat combined these two programmes are giving me cardio, stretching and relaxation all in one.
  • Calm your mind. I know it sounds cheesy, and for years I thought meditation was a joke, but it has changed my life totally! I use Simple Habit, a guided meditation app that will actually teach you breathing exercises that can be done in the moment of stress when you need it, and also gives you « on-the-go » short meditations that can be done anywhere. It is not closing your eyes (although you can if you want) and chanting « ooommm » it is just taking time to quiet your mind when it is going out of control with stress, anxiety, fear you name it.

For most of us the days of preparing to survive the winter are over, it is time we start learning how to thrive instead!

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