......I like to split into the cycle of the year into 2 main seasons here in the depths of the Dales... 'summer' - May - mid October the grass grows, the grazing animals can meet their nutritional needs from the plants growing in the ground and ...'Winter' - Mid Oct - end of April, when then animals need feeding daily........and during winter I spend the majority of day light hours outside feeding/ caring for animals, and in rain, hail, snow, ice, storms.....it can be challenging, and its easy to start feeling a sense of dread and gloom at the thought of the months ahead at this time of year...and in 2012 I am consciously aware that these negative outlooks may be even more amplified this year, after very little sun and warm weather over the summer....
...I am pleased not to have full blown SAD (seasonal affective disorder), like so many folks, but I do recognise that my mind and body slow down lots as the days get shorter (as do most mammals!).....and its easy to let unhealthy lifestyle patterns creep in....and finish the winter feeling unfit in mind and body...
...so, this year, I've decided to to proactive in taking care of my emotional and physical health through the winter (and hopefully beyond), and the following plan is being implemented as I type
* i've stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine
* trying to eat more varied, healthy foods
* admitting to myself I need to sleep more in the winter, and doing so
* gentle activities for after dark....reading, watching TV, writing, drawing....
and more specifically to outside working
* wearing good quality wind/warmth/waterproof clothing and boots, this is an element of consumerism that is a priority for me, it makes a massive difference to my experience of difficult weather conditions
* taking a flask of tea outside with me...most things can be made little bit better with a cuppa!
* daily deep observing and self awareness of my surroundings... Living in the moment...what can I feel, see, smell feel, touch, hear, sense? ...feeling gratitude and thanks for my health, abilities and freedom that I can immerse myself in the magical landscapes and their changes around me
* Using meditations I have learnt from Starhawks, 'Earth Magic' audiobook as I work
* understanding and being thankful for my relationship with Floss, my collie....she is by my side throughout the day, everyday..., keeping me warm, making me smile and (usually) making things much easier with my sheep
* reminding myself that although bad weather episodes are becoming more frequent globally, the UK weather is challenging and difficult, but rarely threatening to life, health, housing etc
* gratitude and awareness of my warm house and the wood/fuel we have to keep it a safe and welcoming place to be .........