Your Survival Guide to Winter + Mercury Retrograde

Suzy Olsen

Embracing the Winter Season..

We are now fully in Sagittarius season and we are drawing near to the Winter solstice occurring on December 21st. Winter can feel foreboding to many, especially to those of us living in the Pacific Northwest and other more Northern regions. The days are short and the weather is cold and wet. Vitamin D deficiency and Seasonal depression are very real!

The Winter solstice represents the 'New Moon' of the entire year. It is the epitome of New Moon energies so to speak. Just as the New Moon is all darkness, the Winter Solstice is the longest night. We are called to go within and ignite our own inner flame. In Chinese Medicine, practitioners  refer to the Winter season as the Yin time of year. This is a time of naturally slowing down and taking a much needed rest. During Summer solstice we are filled to the brim with all that we have created, but at Winter solstice we are emptied out. We are empty so that we can begin to fill up again with new and fresh possibilities. 

Humans have naturally evolved this way. We cannot sustain the heightened 'Full Moon' energies of Summer solstice all year long. We would simply burn out. And we often do. Our society puts many pressures on us to do 'everything' around the holiday season. There are parties, deadlines, decorating, baking, holiday travel etc... all piled on at once. We are told that we have to do it all, and then we often feel overwhelmed, sick or at least a tad resentful.

For the past couple years, I have been trying to be more mindful of the natural cycles of my body. Over an entire year, our bodies need different things each season. If we listen, we are likely to feel healthier, happier and be more productive. 

This past weekend Mercury stationed Retrograde. During retrograde cycles, we are often needing to slooooow down. It's as if Mercury is right on schedule in preparation for Winter. Thus far, I've noticed this particular Mercury retrograde cycle has been messing with technology. My iPhone can no longer be trusted! Because this is often a time of several deadlines, Mercury could pose some challenges there as well. It could be that there are more details to be worked out than previous thought, so deadlines have to get pushed out. Often Mercury asks us to review our work multiple times, making sure it is actually ready and finished. Then there is the holiday travel component. If you can wait to travel till later in the month, this will be ideal. Either way, have patience and travel as safely as you can during the holiday season. 

I wanted to take a moment to list some ways we can embrace this meaningful time, and avoid resisting this change in season. Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of this Winter season. These tips will most definitely help you survive this Mercury Retrograde cycle as well!

  1.  Don't jam pack your schedule. Leave room for necessary down time.
  2. Go to bed a little earlier. Our bodies need more sleep this time of year. When it's so dark and cold outside, that bed sounds like the best possible place to be.. am I right?
  3. Take time for journaling, meditation or some other practice for reflection. Winter is the time to take stock in our lives and dream big for the future. Ask yourself, 'What's next?'
  4. It's oh so tempting... but don't fall into the  habit of Netflix binging or drinking alcohol every night. 
  5. Winter is a time of intimacy and connection. Find indoor activities to do with your loved ones, and savor this special quality time together. 
  6. Eat seasonal and high protein foods. Also eat foods and consume drinks that are warming to your body. 
  7. For exercise, try focusing on weight lifting and short sprints rather than extended cardio. 
  8. Stock up on candles and incense. During Winter, we spend so much time indoors. Light some candles and incense, play some music, make  a fire and create a space that is all around cozy and lovely. 
  9. I believe the Scandinavian tradition of 'Hygge'  perfectly sums up what Winter is all about. Scandinavians, after all, know how to survive winter best of all! Here is an article if you are unfamiliar with the term: Hygge 

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to look forward to Winter.
Happy holidays!