How are you feeling? To be completely honest, I am feeling a little stressed. With the beginning of the new year, I find myself feeling pressure to achieve, to be better than I was last year right off the bat.
If you relate, this blog post is for you.
If you have been following me for a little while, you'll know Daron Hope, the founder & formulator of my favorite skincare brand, Earthtonics Skincare (you can shop my favorite products here!) We first met when I moved to Ojai and I started going to her facial studio. As she pampered my skin with her potent plant potions, we would chat about a whole range of subjects, from the power of botanical skincare to the meaning of life. We found that we had a lot in common, including our inclination to live a life intertwined with the natural world.
With all the talk of new year's resolutions and the stress that it brings, I found myself thinking about Daron and our philosophical chats where we would lambaste this societal mindset. So this week, I asked Daron to share some of her wisdom with all of us. I hope this inspires you to take some pressure off yourself. You're doing great.
WISHING YOU A RESTFUL NEW YEAR
by Daron Hope
I've never been good at New Year's resolutions. Call me crazy, but the dead of Winter is not typically when I’ve felt most inspired to gather my energy and channel it into new habits, especially after a busy holiday season. Perhaps you can relate?
The truth is, it's not our fault... our modern lifestyles are built around a faulty Gregorian calendar. What is December 31st, anyway? An arbitrary day that means nothing in relation to the stars or seasons. Sure, these dates can be great for party planning, but to our animal nature they tend to lead us astray.
Luckily, there is a truer “felt” calendar by which we can create new habits, that honors the full, complete cycle of forward motion and rest. This natural rhythm lives deep in our bones, in the pulsing of our veins and the secretions of our hormonal glands. It flows in tandem with the seasons and the waxing and waning of the moon. When we live in sync with these cycles of Mother Earth, we free ourselves from the lie that rest has no value. On the contrary! Rest is, in fact, the birthplace of empowered, aligned action. It's where we gain clarity, find stability and gather strength.
Winter is the season for rest. A time for gentle introspection, joyful home-tending, and cultivating warmth and nourishment in whatever ways feel good. As I write this, at the tail end of 2022, Winter has just begun! Are you resting? I hope so.
This time of year, rather than intellectualizing, planning and initiating new ways of being, I love to spend time resting and practicing mindfulness with slow, body-focused rituals that nourish my skin, down-regulate my nervous system, and bolster my immunity. Supporting my body and tending to my soul in this way lays a foundation for wellness and regeneration in the seasons to come. There will be seasons for growth and change, but for now? Let us rest and allow our heart's desires to really percolate. Let us work with the energy of stillness and tap into the potent intuition available to us in this season.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO HONOR THE POTENCY OF WINTERTIME & CENTER YOURSELF:
Massage your face, neck and décolleté with a nourishing facial oil. (The face and neck are maps of your entire system. Tending to these areas have profound effects throughout the body.)
Eat Easy-to-Digest Warm Soups, Stews & Broths
Despite what you may have heard, now is not the best time for a juice cleanse (raw, cold foods and beverages in the Winter can dampen your digestive fires and be counter-productive to health goals). Wait 'til Spring!
Dry brush your whole body from your extremities toward your heart, to stimulate lymphatic flow and support your immune system.
In lieu of resolutions, create a list of things you are grateful for!
Take a Warm Bath
Before climbing into bed early, allow yourself some time to decompress in the bath. Apply your favorite body butter after to help relieve winter dryness.
If you’re like me, and not feeling quite ready to “tackle the New Year,” consider this your invitation to take it easy and rest your way into this new cycle. After all, we are each a garden… and nothing grows all year.
About the Author: Daron Hope
Daron Hope is an herbalist, writer, wholistic facialist and the founder/formulator of EarthTonics Botanical Skincare. Read more from her skincare journal here, and connect on Instagram @earthtonics.