Have you been noticing insects creeping into the house lately, maybe you’ve remarked how the mornings are significantly darker now and even the winds temperament has changed. These are all the subtle environmental changes occurring to remind us that autumn is approaching.
Have you noticed how your moods or body might naturally be preparing for these changes also? Are you feeling slightly more tired, slower and needing to refuel more? Maybe even becoming prone to the odd sniffle?
Well, now is the exact time to notice these subtle changes, acknowledge and contemplate the need to adapt to them. Naturally when there is less light in the day and the temperature is colder we want to stick closer to home, stay warm and sleep more. Our diet changes also as we eat more hot meals as opposed to salads, in line with the seasonal produce that’s readily available.
So why do we feel that our personal and professional expectations should be consistent?
Human beings are made to be flexible, changeable – in accordance to our environment. In our digitally dependant 24/7 world we forget that our standards and goals are not always easily consistent to achieve and that we need to allow for cycles.
This is crucial in successful planning especially in business, although oftentimes the focus is solely on calendar events and not necessarily on the environmental and seasonal impacts on staff productivity, sickness and motivation.
The good news is that now you are starting to notice these changes, you can plan to adapt accordingly. Here’s my 3 step process to enable a smooth transition to the winter months while still feeling and being productive!
1. Notice and Acknowledge
The first step in adapting here is to notice what is occurring to you mentally and physically? Where are you at, are you seeing or feeling any subtle changes or are your preferences changing. And acknowledge what of these differences are related to the change in season.
Bringing your awareness to, by noticing and acknowledging the shifts you may be undergoing naturally allows you space to choose how you want to respond. This gives you a greater sense of control by enabling you to realise you have an array of available options to you in regards making any necessary adjustments. Choices open up.
2. Priority Review and Impact Assessment
Now that you have acknowledged there are natural subtle shifts occurring for you, this is a great time to review your personal and professional routines and reassess your priorities. Then you can assess the impact of switching up priorities and what effect that this may have on your routine, your habits and your productivity. For example;
Review your exercise routine, is it still highly important to you to maintain your fitness level and current routine as it stands? Maybe, if honest with yourself you will have to call more on your willpower to keep up with your classes that seemed so easy when it was light at 6am, but may be harder to go to in the dark. Once you have reviewed the importance of exercise in your life it maybe that you review the impact of doing less exercise would actually mean for a less satisfied you and so you assess your alternative options and decide that maybe you adjust from an outdoor activity to an indoor one.
Re-prioritising is such a key factor in giving your mind and body the permission to adapt as we naturally want to, without the guilt associated from not being 100% motivated, productive and alert. You are entitled to rest, reprioritise and renew!
3. Allow and Plan
Allow yourself to slow down and be in pace with the changing season, prepare for the darker days mentally and physically. Readdress your long term goals, for this upcoming time as you have now processed that you may not naturally be able to keep up the pace that you once were, nor may you feel inclined to. It is the natural order of things that autumn sets in to make way for the new and you too need the down time to do the same.
Get creative, reassess your progress on your personal and professional plans, where are you heading, have you made progress or procrastinated. Take stock and plan for the future once more. This mental workout and dedicated time to planning increases your motivation and desire to get stuck into making changes, and you will be surprised how little steps during this time and reserving energy will set you up to make bigger impacts later on to get you closer to your longer term goals.
Use this time to purposefully readjust, allow what is to be, get kind with yourself and curious about your changing needs as opposed to judging. Be adaptive, considerate of yourself and allow and nurture change. Some additional things to consider before the winter snap takes hold:
- Consider supplements to ward off ills, having some vitamins on standby, echinacea or naturopathic or homeopathic remedies, maybe even some lemon, honey and ginger.
- New decor or a change in your rooms layout of furniture, physically showing a change in environment, reminding you of the shift that has occurred.
- Consider your heating options, get firewood delivered, buy a new heater or dig out the hot water bottle to get ready for the chill that may come – take your time doing it. While acknowledging that you are prepping ahead of time to take care of all aspects in your life.
- Dig out the slow cooker and readdress your kitchen essentials, tins and herbs so you’re all stocked up and ready for good old batch cooking!
The time you put into noticing and preparing for these subtle changes to take hold will help you get mentally ready for the onset of the winter, and the natural change to come as a result. Give yourself this time to be quiet, to slow down and recharge ready for the Spring, when you will naturally want to spring into action and put all your good ideas and plans into play.
I would love to hear what you notice during this time of transition and what changes you put in place to prepare for it, let me know in the comments.
Alison Callan is a Mindfulness Consultant, Career and Business Coach. Committed to creating positive and lasting change for individuals, teams and organisations through Mindfulness.