Last Monday (21st June) marked the Summer Solstice with the longest day and shortest night. Traditionally, a time where people come together to celebrate the sun’s power at its peak and nature at its fullest by staying up all night to watch the rising of the sun on the longest day. This is perhaps not the most practical option for many of us! So, how can we mark this special time in our own way?
The Summer Solstice is a time to celebrate the light within ourselves. A time to pause and reflect, this time of year is a wonderful opportunity to review our health, our goals and to think about any areas that are not shining brightly in our own lives.
On a deeper level, the Summer Solstice also marks the transition from action to nourishment, as we head into shorter days and longer nights. I absolutely love this idea and believe that we can all benefit from reflecting on our lives.
Not sure where to begin? Ask yourself, “How am I shining my brightness in the world?”
This may not be a question you ask yourself very often, but I urge you to use this time for reflection, especially as we are now moving into a time of nourishment and turning inwards.
I am all about improving our health one tiny step at a time. Trying to do too much all at once can feel very overwhelming and make us feel that we can’t get started.
So, at this Summer Solstice, I have been reflecting on where in my life I have been trying to improve my health and I wanted to share a couple of the small steps I have taken over the past few months.
The biggest step is that I am currently taking a break from alcohol. Now, before everyone runs for the hills screaming ‘NO!’ about giving up the booze, hear me out here! I have never considered myself to be a big drinker, but I realised at the end of last year that I was drinking a lot. How much is a lot? At least a bottle of wine on three nights a week. This, I calculated, was about 30 units of alcohol a week (over double the recommended amount).
Looking back, I am not quite sure when this happened. But the mindset of opening a bottle at the end of the day, seeing it as a way to relax and de-stress from the day (which it wasn’t, as I can now see that it was actually making me feel anxious and interfering with my sleep) had crept in in a big way.
So, I decided that I would just stop for a week, which turned into a couple of weeks, then a month. Now a month has turned into six, and I am still happy to be taking a break. That’s not to say that I won’t ever have another glass of wine, but for now I am curious about where it will take me and my health. My sleep is better, as are my anxiety levels and I’ve even lost a few pounds to boot (result!).
But, best of all, as a knock-on effect, taking a break from alcohol has given me my morning back. Having two young children, the only time to carve out for myself is before they wake up. This was never an option when I was drinking. But over the last few months, I have been getting up before them to have time for movement, stillness and reflection.
At first it was half an hour earlier and now, it is at least an hour and a half of time for myself. And, if I can just get to bed a little bit earlier (this is still a work in progress!), my eventual aim is to have two hours to myself in the morning.
What could you do with two hours to yourself every day? Get fit? Take up a new hobby? Or even write a novel? The possibilities are endless…
With this time, I have brought back into my life a daily yoga practice again. Some days it is an hour’s practice while others it is only 15 minutes. I am far from perfect, but I have come a long way in the past few months. And do you know what? Consistency really is the key to success.
After a nearly two-year break from my yoga mat, the first few sessions were challenging to say the least! Many hours each day sitting in front of a computer and carrying small children around doesn’t lend itself to being open and flexible but, bit by bit, my body has started to unfurl and feel stronger.
As the mighty Tony Robbins said, “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”
So, as we mark the Summer Solstice and a change in our energy, now is a perfect time to determine what small changes you would like to bring into your life. Do this consistently and watch your health moving forwards, whether that be trying for a baby, or simply wanting to feel better and have more energy to do the things that help you to shine from the inside out.
There is no better time than now to start making changes in your life. Start small, be consistent and who knows where it might take you…