Am I the kind of friend I’d want to travel with? Dependable Support is a theme for me at the Winter Solstice (Yule). When fluffy leaves have dropped and it’s back to bare bones…
We are half way there – on June the 21st we reach the tipping point of the longest night. Even though our nights get shorter and our days invisibly stretch out now, the cold seems compressed and harder in the second half of winter, especially living in the Blue Mountains.
It’s often at this time I reassess how I can ‘travel light’ through the hardest part of the year. Just being a better friend to myself seems to make sense this time around.
How do I support myself?
Looking at how people support one another is a good place to start. Some people take the risk and support you when plans are still gestating and things are not yet going your way. These are the friends who don’t measure their support against the likelihood of your success.
Others show up to celebrate when the risk of ‘failure’ has passed – they miss the leap of faith with you, the scary not-sure-where-I’ll-land courage. They focus on difficulty, instead of assuming you’ll rise to meet the challenge. I’m spending more and more of my time now with the supportive type, and learning to be that kind of friend to myself.
I also notice how generous we can be to others, but somehow treating ourselves like crap is valued. This is particularly notable in women, who are so use to being everything to everyone, and somewhere along the way just stop being nice to themselves. When did putting yourself last become an act of strength?
I’m surrounded by strong beautiful women who treat themselves with love and respect, and so teach those around them to do the same.
Sometimes energy just drips away through the same familiar channels – situations, conversations and thoughts. The solstice is a good time to notice these leaks and save your spare change for something that matters more. I only care about the opinions of supportive people, and less about those who aren’t… until they become delightful white noise in the background.
Real supportive friends make time for you, which makes me wonder how available I am to myself. I’ve learned saying ‘No’ can be an act of self-love, and am really embracing it the older I get! As someone who loves being busy, I’m still learning the value in doing less (my husband is my best teacher in just doing nothing).
Being self-supportive means knowing how to give yourself what you need. With the traditional Winter Magic drizzle outside, I’ve made a little list of ‘what fills my heart’. I’ll pull it out when the winter wet sets in soon;
- Be physical – yoga, pole dancing, running. My personal feel good trifecta. As winter presses, I need to continue these sanity-maintaining activities, but in a finer balance with rest.
- Good food – slow cooked meals, veggie soups, spicy chai. Seems obvious, but easy to neglect. I support myself by marinating in minimum effort cooking in winter.
- Get to bed earlier – I like to sit by the fire before bed (unplugged). The last thing I want to see before sleep are my puppies faces, not random brunch pics on Facebook.
- Poetry & tea – Sitting in bed writing with the rain outside and a cup of thyme & honey tea is my own brand of bliss. Rain is a good cue to stop and sip tea. Luckily there’s plenty of both at my house.
- Get out – a night out is medicine. I’ve recently really enjoyed live music on Friday nights with family, a good way to get warm and switch off.
- Flowers – live pretty prana in every room. Sounds lame but it’s my trademark. Best collected from a local walk, but cheap and cheerful Aldi roses work too.
- Being centered – yoga and meditation. I like bringing my own signature flavour to my yoga mat. Sometimes it’s stripped back and silent, sometimes a crystal festival with music and essential oils. Whatever I need.
Happy Winter Solstice, and may you be a better traveling companion to yourself.