Spring is coming—no more hibernating. It’s time to get ready for summer.
Last week, I was looking at the mirror and said to myself, “Dude, that was a long winter; you look messed up, time to wake up.”
But not in the way of being woke, getting ripped, dancing at a festival, or tanning at the beach—more in the sense of feeling good.
Every spring, we get bombarded with advice on how to lose weight or which festival to go to, but I am talking about the mindful part.
My lifestyle basically consists of two extremes: hibernating and being out there. Of course, it would be nice to find a healthy balance between the two, but I also try to accept myself and see the positive parts.
To me, winter is a time of turning inward to me. I literally grow a beard and try to stay away from people, even without COVID-19.
It is a time of realigning myself, reflecting on life, and, unfortunately, often experiencing episodes of depression. It hurts along the way but feels like an inner cleanse of my soul that builds up new energy for spring—just like a spring.
Unfortunately, while focussing on all the internal chatter, I tend to prove that a too strong practice of letting go can take things too far at times.
After years of hibernating and growing a beard in winter, I established a routine that helps me to crawl out of my darkness.
Here are five steps to get ready for summer:
1. Quick fixes
Most of us love them, and after a long winter, there might be a few opportunities to improve quickly. In my case, it is shaving my beard, but it could also be getting a new hairstyle, checking our wardrobe, or anything else we can use as a jump start to making ourselves feel a bit “prettier”—the emphasis is on ourselves; this is not about fulfilling beauty standards or pleasing others.
2. Spring cleaning
After we took care of ourselves, we are ready to take the next step: our immediate environment. Crank up the volume of your stereo and start cleaning all those dirty corners, cupboards, and windows. Personally, I am not a big fan of these tasks, but I have to admit I like the results. Once we got started, we can also think about rearranging a few things or maybe donating some stuff we don’t need anymore.
3. Get moving
Now that we set ourselves and our home up for summer, it is time to take a look at our physical body. After hibernating for months, we might have gained a few extra pounds, but that’s totally fine. What I am talking about is how we actually feel in our bodies. Once we start moving again, we immediately feel better.
If you were a couch potato for months like me, here is the good news: it won’t take long until your well-being drastically improves. Take a walk, try a gentle yoga practice, or dance like nobody is watching—just get moving.
4. Change routines
Winter is a good time to have an excuse for extended times in front of our screens. Binge-watching our favorite shows, arguing with strangers on the internet, or finally checking what our high school friends are posting on social media can be a fun waste of time, but it doesn’t really improve our well-being in the long run. Let’s get out there instead—and maybe even set a limit for screen time (or before that, find out how much time you actually spend on that every day).
5. Go out
And I obviously don’t mean go out and get wasted—I am talking about outdoor activity. Fresh air and some sunlight lift our mood immediately. After a long winter, our body almost forgot how nice it is to be outdoors for several hours. If we can replace the majority of our screen time with outdoor time, we will thank ourselves later.
Once a student came to me after his first yoga class and said, “I had no idea how stiff my body was.” I just laughed and replied, “That’s awesome; the lower your starting point, the faster you will rise.”
It’s not much different with this mindful spring cleanse; the more we let go in winter, the quicker we see improvement in summer.
This is not an encouragement to grow a beard next winter; it is more an uplifting message to all the hibernating folks out there like me.
Let’s get out of our cocoon and welcome the next season.