Here in the Northern hemisphere, the month of February seems to go on for sixty days. At least.

Every February, even as the days grow longer, tempers get shorter and it is the Winter of our Discontent.  “Why am I not happy?” a client will wonder. “There is nothing major wrong, but I could scream when the clerk gives me the wrong change.”

It is brutish and harsh this month.

So, give yourself a break. Don’t try to fix it. Don’t try to fix yourself, or get an attitude adjustment.

Let yourself do what the animals have known how to do forever. Hibernate. Rest. Slow down.

Slow down.

Ever since we invented electricity, we imagine that we should run ourselves the way we run our machines. But we have bodies that need variable speeds, and especially in the cold, we need to relax. Slow food, like soup and stew. Slow days, not driving yourself to productivity. Allow space and silence.

Rest.

This may be challenging, if pain keeps you from sleep, and you are working on a sleep schedule, but even so, take time to sit with your feet up. Or lie down for a look at the sky. Watch the squirrels and the birds. Let your imagination out for a stroll. Ignore your technology for periods of time. Rest your mind, not just your body. It is a season for rest, and that will help us know spring is coming.

Breathe.

This is what hibernation is – suspended animation that relies on slow and gentle breath. Breath brings us back to center and bathes our nervous system in calming energy. It soothes and restores when we sit and breathe slowly and consciously.

Try it right now. Sit in a comfortable position and allow your breath to move in and out. After seven breaths, check in and see how you are feeling.

Do some nose work.

A client told me she was taking her dog to do some sessions of nose work. I was baffled. Nose work?

She explained it to me. A dog’s most powerful way of experiencing the world is through its nose – and most domesticated dogs don’t get to work out this place of pleasure and adventure. A way to increase their satisfaction and enjoyment of life is to take them to a place where they get to use their nose to discover and explore.

What a great metaphor! In winter most of us don’t get much “nose work” either. We aren’t outside much, and things can become hum drum, boring, repetitive. What sense gives you the most enjoyment and pleasure? Eyes? Sense of smell? Hearing? Touch? Allow yourself to do a little “sense work” for pleasure and exploration. Give your senses a gentle workout.

With a few slow gentle practices we may all make it ’til Spring!