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It is no big surprise that many of us may hibernate during the COVID-19 pandemic even more than usual. Between health anxiety, climate change, planetary alignments, cosmic shifts, hormonal fluctuations, Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), and global social-economic-political issues, it is no wonder that many of us start to shut down socially and may even gather our supplies to plan to hibernate this winter season.
Rather than being lonely, we can embrace and enjoy our solitude. Hibernate this winter? Count me in!
What it means to hibernate
Hibernation refers to plants and animals that go into a stage of being dormant for the winter. They find or build themselves a home, get comfortable, prep for the long haul, and stay there until the weather gets warm again.
The purpose of animal and plant hibernation is to be safe and secure so that they can survive to live another day. This is also the purpose of staying home for your hibernation: safety and security. And more than surviving, you can thrive by creating a lovely environment for self-development.
Hibernation gives you a chance to make your home your haven.
I don’t judge anybody who wants to escape and be comfy-cozy in the cocoon of their home environment. Over the last year especially, I made a lot of effort to make sure my space is healthy, creative, and energizing. My home reflects who I am, where I am going, and who I want to be. So, if I am going to take a timeout anywhere, home is the best place to be.
Unlike plants and animals, human hibernation during the winter is a personal choice.
You make the decision to tuck yourself away and you make up the rules, which can change as you need them to. Plus, we don’t have to lower our body temperature, reduce our activities and metabolic rate to live throughout the dormancy. You are in charge of whether or not to do it, when to do it, what to do while you are doing it, and when to stop.
How hibernating can help
As a natural introvert, I like people and I generally go out regularly. Yet, I enjoy my solitude a lot. I’ve enjoyed working from home for decades.
My nights out with friends for dinner, drinks, lunch, and such seem like such distant memories after COVID. That is alright. Instead of simply relying on my cat and plants for companionship (they are lovely but yikes!), I still strive to maintain human contact and interaction to maintain my healthy relationships. This is important!
Being in hibernation does not mean nothing is going on.
Similar to the deep ocean, there can be a lot going on under the surface. You just can’t see everything that is happening. The activities happening in hibernation are more localized and private, out of sight.
Personally, hibernating allows me to focus on myself. I can breathe without the stress of busy behavior and just be me. More introspection, self-development, and personal transformation can occur during these times.
Like a metamorphosis, you can start to hibernate being one way and emerge completely transformed and wonderful after.
It is ironic that times of hibernation can also help you improve your family and social relationships. The strengths and weaknesses inherent in your relationships will be highlighted, so glaringly obvious that you wonder how you missed all of these red flags before.
You can become more aware of the value of the relationships in your life and act in ways that are consistent with that value. For example, you may recognize which relationships are really important and can now be fully present to participate in the reciprocity of that relationship. Conversely, you will be in a better position to recognize which relationships have been draining your resources and are no longer worth your energy.
Without distraction, I can relax, heal, contemplate, and express my creativity during these times.
10 tips on how to keep your sanity
- Be prepared and stock up. Make sure you have a well-stocked supply of food, vitamins, any medication or supplements, a reliable supply of clean water, excellent air filtration systems, adequate lighting, work-related items, access to the internet, and any items to help you stay comfortable such as blankets and heating systems. Don’t be afraid to use online shopping to fulfill your needs.
- Make your health the priority. A holistic approach to health includes physical, mental, spiritual health, and emotional well-being. Use soft throws, big pillows, and warm blankets to nurture yourself during this time. Take soothing baths and pamper yourself in your self-care routine.
- Maintain a regular schedule of activities. This include work and play. If you are unemployed or under-employed, that includes job searches and exploring new sources for personal income. You may even start that new business now! Don’t overlook social opportunities for expanding friendships.
- Include opportunities to dress nicely and dine well. Even if your dates are virtual and your socialization is limited to the small number of folks in your COVID bubble, most of us need this.
- Take time to relax. Take walks and dedicate day specifically as mental health days, just for you. For example, you can play music and dance. It may sound strange, but music and dance are two proven stress relievers, plus they just make you feel really good.
- Keep a journal. Honor your thoughts and feelings. We are in a historical moment. You and others around you may want to look back at these times to reflect.
- Focus on survival. Honestly, this might be the best time to be still. Know that it’s okay and we are all experiencing the weight of what is happening in the world. Pay attention to each day, not long-term progress, and focus on “making it.” While some people can actually thrive during times of chaos, it is fine to just be doing okay under the circumstances.
- Express gratitude. While things are not perfect, think of how much worse everything can be and smile! If you don’t think that it can get worse, trust and know that yes, it can, and be grateful for what you have going for you right now.
- Surround yourself with plants. You can become a plant parent! By bringing the outside in, you are surrounding yourself with life, joy, and positive change.
- Try a happy light. “A what?” you ask. Happy lights help bring in more UV light to prevent seasonal mood disorders like SAD and depression resulting from fewer hours of daylight in the wintertime. Make it bright!
P.S. Don’t forget to get fresh air through your window, balcony, and/or backyard. You can still go out, even when you (mostly) hibernate.
After you hibernate, you can emerge free, renewed, filled with joy and enthusiasm for a new season. Let me know what you think.
Enjoy this article? Feel free to post your comments below.
I am available to chat, if you want to explore these ideas further confidentially. Until next time, thank you for putting Sisterhood on your Agenda!
Feature image: Pexels, Aria Shevtsova