Happy New (Lunar) Year
Today, Tuesday 1st February, is a significant day.
New moons always signify new beginnings and the freshness of new opportunities.
New Lunar Year (aka "Chinese New Year")
This year we enter the Year of the Tiger, representing enthusiasm, courage, and confidence.
This is a day, celebrated in ancient Celtic traditions and by modern day Pagans, marking the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. It is an important point in Nature’s yearly cycle, signifying a shift to new beginnings and slow awakening from the deep sleep and hibernation of winter. Even if we only see a few snowdrops showing the first hints of life above ground, things are beginning to stir below the surface and there is a new feeling of energy in the air.
So, if you reflect on the past month and found it difficult, remember that our January “New Year, New You” culture is out of synch with the natural rhythms and energy of nature.
CREATING A NEW VISION
Let’s create a vision of what we want – not materially, but energetically – for this new year and start with compassion and care towards ourselves.
Remember: when we care for ourselves, we can better help others.
Self-care is not about luxury spa breaks (although they are great) but can take many forms, such as:
Improving sleep quality.
By creating a nightly routine and actively focusing on relaxing, we can allow the body to rest completely and improve the quality of our sleep, so we wake feeling refreshed.
Yes, appropriately. This is different for all of us and something that is only possible when you actively tune into how you really feel on every level: physically, energetically, mentally and emotionally.
This is not about diets or losing weight – something that our culture seems to be obsessed with (and is also big business) – but by eating a balanced diet full of nutrients to fuel the body appropriately. Again, what this means varies from individual to individual and depends on work, lifestyle and many other factors.
If you are able, getting outside every day, especially in nature is good for body, mind and soul. Alternatively, if this is not possible, try to get to a window to see the outside world or take time tending for a plant.
Taking time to notice the felt sense of your breath helps to connect to the self. Start with focus on your exhalation by drawing in the abdomen and feeling the breath leave abdomen to chest, then releasing and feeling the breath come in again chest to abdomen as you allow the abdomen to release, creating space for the diaphragm to lower. By taking a few breaths, comfortably slowing and lengthening the exhalation, we can “hit the reset button” on our energy levels, our though processes and emotions.
Just before Christmas I shared on social media a short video of this breathing technique, which you can see here:
Taking regular breaks away from screens.
Regular breaks to move the body and look into the distance away from the narrow focus demanded by computers, tablets and phones, helps to regulate our nervous system.
Establishing boundaries with those around you.
This can be really hard at first but not feeling obligated to be at everyone’s beck and call is an essential part of reducing anxiety, improving confidence and helps to avoid burnout.
Getting organised can help to reduce stress levels. By reducing the number of last-minute panics, we feel calmer and more in control and confident.
Whether you have set clear intentions or are just noticing the shifts in energy around you, take time to check in with yourself. Take time to appreciate yourself as we move from the hibernation of winter – not to mention the hibernation of the past couple of years – into a new beginning.