Nature teaches us wisdom if we observe. The seasons teach us about change. Dawn and dusk teach us about graceful transition. Pick any day of the week and go sit in silence observing a meadow, river, or forest. The location is not as important as all the elements that thrive in that location, teaching us about growth and how to thrive in life.
We can also learn from habits of animals. Animals mimic times to eat and sleep, times to work and times to play, and demonstrate the joy of a good stretch. Lately I’ve been observing rules for winter self-care from my dog.
This is my dog, Blue, in August.
This is Blue in the winter, “hibernating.”
He’s a Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix who we rescued from Players for Pits. Blue is 3 years old now, and still quite a puppy by energy standards. In the summer he yearns to be outside smelling, playing, and laying in the sun. Soaking up every moment of true bliss.
In the winter, he tends to seek hiatus upstairs in the house, where the temperature is warmer when his humans are not home. Blue pursues more cozy cuddles when his humans are home. The minute one of his humans leaves a blanket unoccupied, he darts to receive its warmth. He licks his paws more – likely due to the irritation procured from salt on pavement during walks and the dryness of the cold. He sleeps more. He exerts less energy overall, yet still finds time to roam the backyard and smell the earth. Reserving his energy and patiently waiting for earth to bring back his comfort zone.
I’m reminded of rules for winter self-care from my dog:
- Retreat inwards – seek contemplation, meditation, silence; move more slowly
- Tend to relationships with loved ones
- Cover in warmth
- Massage your feet with oil nightly
- Rest more
- Still get outside for a bit and smell for the earth
- Embrace patience as good things will come soon