Have you ever noticed how much of your life happens on autopilot? You are kind of here, but really you are just going through the motions. Interestingly, living in Bali’s never-ending summer might be contributing to you defaulting to a checked-out state. Here where seasons are already rather blurred, many wash them out further by escaping to greener (drier) pastures during the pesky rainy season. A happy escapee from the cold Eastern European wintery miseries, I would be the last person to disapprove of endless summers. But inside this happy escapee lives a cautious psychologist, who knows the pitfalls of even the warmest of the rides.
The trouble is absence of seasons gradually desensitizes us. When we do not get to feel the moody breath of fall’s near-death, when the hibernating strength (fat)-building winter bypasses us, when spring’s naive optimism does not come to tickle us, summer itself eventually seems less bright. Since vivid summer colors are abundant throughout the year, they become a given, something that you soon cease to notice. Change of seasons sharpens our senses, makes us more aware of realities of life and allows us to become wiser with our plans and expectations. Riding through the year on warm months only inevitably translates into an expectation of a perpetually upward curve – always progressing, always being in a good mood, always forward. That, of course, is not how things work. Seasonality also brings a web of rituals. Whether you realize it or not rituals have a huge power, which is why we have SO many of them in any culture. Spring cleaning, winter foods, summer wardrobe, fall celebrations… Seasonal ritual aside we have rituals for birthdays, funerals, weddings, re-performance, morning and bedtime rituals. Turns out there is more than the romantic (and commercial) value to them. Research shows that rituals performed after experiencing losses actively reduce grief, while rituals performed before high-pressure tasks (e.g. public speaking) – do in fact reduce anxiety, enhance confidence and motivate for greater effort. Sports psychology demonstrates higher emotional stability and stronger performance among athletes who have pre-game routines. For those who look beyond the rational, rituals are a way to explicitly step out of the day-to-day reality and step into another realm, call for help, wisdom, and protection of something greater than ourselves. Rituals are so powerful because they help to mobilize all our resources, senses and energies. Compare what happens to you when you are merely making a to-do list with saying a prayer. A prayer usually leaves us feeling more uplifted and hopeful.
Believe it or not, something as dull as a rainy season can bring a tremendous uplift. Here are some ideas how you can use it to supercharge the rest of your year:
Create a ritual for rest
So many of us live in a fairy tale of ‘I don’t have time for this’. Learning how to declutter your schedule stripping it down to true essential is your first step towards discovering just how much you are actually able to do with your time. We are yet to learn the art of inspired working. And the first step to inspiration- rather than deadline-driven schedule is learning to really rest. Rainy days are your God-given time for blissful shamelessly self-centered rest. Plan fewer meetings, take less work, ban TV and internet for a prolonged period of time (e.g. a month). Create more space, more unplanned windows of time, even space for boredom. Sleep more at night. Nap in the afternoon (post-breakfast naps are my personal favorite). Embrace doing less. Do everything slower with more intentionality. Spend more time alone. Even if you have no idea how to entertain yourself. Especially if you don’t. Just allow for the calmer softer energy to gradually fill you and notice how your mood changes, how the quality and quantity of your thoughts change. Often this is already rest – switching your attention from obsessing over your goals and problems.
Now that you have more time in your schedule, you can finally attend to all those things you’ve been saving for later. That cookbook you shoved at the back of your bookshelf. That beach you keep meaning to visit. The yoga pose you keep shying away from. Ask yourself, what do I keep postponing? Are there people in whose presence you feel energized and supported? This is your perfect opportunity to connect. Bake a cake (inspired by that new cookbook) and invite some people for tea. Anything that you genuinely enjoy doing – this is what you should be doing more of during these months. This will bring to calm your nervous system and replenish you with enthusiasm and strength.
Clean your mind
The mold takes over not just your shoes and whatever is hiding at the bottom of your wardrobe. Use the rainy months for getting rid of your psychic mold. Start with your to-do lists. All your notes to self, voice memos, doc files, app notifications of things to do, books to read, ideas to develop, places to visit etc etc. Go through them all. Clean out your saved items on social media and your internet browser bookmarks. Discard what’s not needed, notice what keeps coming up over and over. What about your new year resolutions? Go through your plans for the past few years. Is there anything that you keep repeating? Are there any changes that you’ve been longing to introduce into your life year after year? Where are you stuck? Get honest with yourself. See what you are not willing to put up with any longer and use your time to search for new practices, ideas, and connections that can help you bring about the desired change.
And of course, the main trick to this, or any lifehacks on how to improve your life is to actually go out and apply these things. No matter how vigorously you nod your head in agreement that ‘Yes, this is exactly what I need to do!’, not a single thing in your life will change (for the better) until you find it in you to take an action.
For more ideas on how to move from wanting to being and for information about the upcoming course Science of Transformation, get in touch below.
By Dr Anastasia Belikova
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