There was a time when people lived wholly in tune with nature. The only foods available were fresh and in season. In the winter, there were less hours of light so they simply went to bed earlier.
These days, however, our connection with the seasons is much more tenuous.
Grocery stores import produce from all over the world, so you can add blueberries to winter meals and eat squash in the middle of summer. Electricity means we can stay up as late as we want, reading into the wee hours of the night.
And the result? We eat and act exactly as we wish, year-round.
While there are some advantages to the modern world (no one’s asking you to give up indoor plumbing!), there’s also a disconnect with nature. We’re less in tune with seasonal cycles, and, in turn, with our truest selves.
How do we balance modern lifestyles with a deeply rooted desire to connect to universal cycles?
The answer is seasonal living, and in this article we’ll tell you everything you need to know to integrate it into your daily rhythm.
What Is Seasonal Living?
Seasonal living is making the conscious decision to let the subtle, delicate changes in your natural environment guide your lifestyle. It’s allowing your daily habits to bring you into harmony with the world around you.
Because when you honor the cycles of the calendar, you return to a more balanced and intuitive lifestyle, one that comes naturally to animals, including humans.
And you can tune into more than just the four seasons (fall, winter, spring, and summer). You can also tune in to lunar phases, solstices, and other cyclical changes.
Let’s look at some ways that you can begin living a more seasonal life.
Ways to Start Living Seasonally
Are you ready to start living in sync with the seasons, reconnecting to the cycles of nature?
Here are some simple yet effective ways to adopt a more seasonal rhythm to your lifestyle.
1. Observe the Changing Seasons
Slow down and notice the gentle changes around you as the seasons change.
Go outside at around the same time every day and pay attention to the world around you. What are you seeing, hearing, feeling? You can even keep a journal to track the subtle changes that occur over time.
As new seasons begin, take time to think about what it means to you and how you can honor it. It can be something as simple as planting flowers in the spring or setting a bowl of gourds on your autumn table.
2. Eat Seasonally
Eating seasonally is one of the best things you can do for your body—and the environment.
Like everything else in nature, the foods we eat have their own particular cycles. And it’s surprisingly easy: simply eat the food that’s in season in your local area.
Depending on where you’re located, seasonal eating could include butternut squash in the fall, citrus fruits in the winter, strawberries in the spring, and watermelon in the summer.
Fruits and vegetables are harvested at specific times of the year. This is when they’re at their ripest, which also means that they’re packed with nutrients and flavor.
Local, seasonal produce is also much more environmentally-friendly. The carbon footprint of fresh apples that were picked in a nearby orchard is much lower than that of out-of-season produce flown in from across the country.
Not sure what’s in season? Head to your nearest farmer’s market to see what they’re offering.
As a bonus, buying fruits and vegetables that are locally grown supports farmers and other businesses in your area.
Once you start eating seasonally, you can also incorporate seasonal supplements into your routine. In the summer, for example, you might not have access to fresh, local citrus, so you might want to supplement your diet with vitamin C. (We love this vitamin C supplement by Purality Health.) Or, if spinach is your main iron source, you might need extra iron when it’s not in season.
You can also take a year-round supplement such as this one from Just Thrive, which is packed with key minerals, herbs, and polyphenols (a powerful antioxidant). It boosts your immune system, keeping you healthy all year, regardless of what’s in season. And, it supports a healthy gut, making it easier for your body to absorb and benefit from those nutritious seasonal fruits and veggies.
Locavorism: The Practice of Eating Local Foods
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3. Spend Time in Nature
How to best connect with nature? Spending time in it, of course!
Head outside, take a deep breath, and reconnect with nature. You can meditate, practice yoga, read, take a walk, or just sit and observe.
Use all five senses to take in the natural world that surrounds you. What do you see and hear? More importantly, what do you feel? Over time, you’ll notice the seasonal changes around you, such as animals that are less active in winter or streams that burble during the rainy season.
If the weather doesn’t allow for being outdoors, spend some time by a large window. Let the natural light envelop you, and simply let yourself be.
4. Grow a Seasonal Garden
Another great way to ensure you spend more time connecting with nature is maintaining a seasonal garden.
Reach into the earth, get your hands dirty, and plant with intention. Let the changing seasons inspire your gardening. In the fall, for example, plant bulbs that will sleep through the winter and bloom brightly in the spring. You can also use your seasonal garden to grow fruits and veggies, harvesting them when the time is right for a double win: time in nature plus seasonal eating.
If you live somewhere with limited outdoor space, you can grow a container garden. There are plenty of plants, including some fruits and veggies, that can also be grown indoors.
5. Bring Seasonal Living Indoors
It’s not just the outdoors that adjusts to seasonal changes. You can adapt your indoor decor, too.
One big way that many people do this is by putting up a Christmas tree and other holiday decorations. But in what other ways can you incorporate natural cycles into your home?
- Hang heavier drapes for insulation in the winter. Switch them with light, airy curtains in the spring and summer.
- Decorate with colorful leaves, pine cones, and interesting twigs in the fall.
- Practice aromatherapy with essential oils. Cinnamon is lovely in winter; lemon is bright and fresh in the summer. We love Amrita Aromatherapy’s essential oils. They are USDA Certified Organic and grown in the optimum climatic and soil conditions while being properly harvested and extracted.
- Open the windows whenever possible to let fresh air flow.
- Do a deep spring cleaning, decluttering while you’re at it.
- Collect and display seashells in the summer.
- Bring in local, seasonal flowers.
6. Tune In to Moon Cycles
The moon goes through a full cycle almost every four weeks (roughly 29.5 days), transforming from the beauty of a full moon to the darkness of a new moon, and back again.
The distinctive phases of the moon are clearly visible to the naked eye unless you live somewhere with heavy light pollution. If that’s the case, you can track lunar cycles through apps, online, or—our favorite method—heading someplace less populated where you can peacefully observe the moon.
Observing the moon’s changes can help inspire and guide you in establishing rituals that bring more balance and harmony to your month.
New Moon: This is the moon’s darkest phase, but it’s also the beginning of the lunar cycle. This is a wonderful time for initiating new, healthy habits and routines. The new moon is also the ideal time for setting goals and intentions for the lunar cycle ahead.
Waxing Moon: The moon is in its expansion phase, and so are you. Pour your energy into your goals and plans. Harness the moon’s growth cycle by allowing your projects to grow, too.
Full Moon: Taking place about two weeks after the new moon, the full moon shines its light onto your aspirations, illuminating what is or isn’t working. You’re halfway through the lunar cycle; it’s time to decide which actions you’ll take for the next couple of weeks in order to reach your goals.
Waning Moon: The waning moon completes the lunar cycle. Reflect upon the last month, lovingly release what is no longer needed in your life, and prepare to plant new seeds of inspiration with the upcoming new moon.
7. Embrace Seasonal Rituals
The changing seasons are marked by four traditional observances. The fall and spring equinoxes are days marked with equal hours of day and night. The winter solstice is the shortest day/longest night of the year, while the summer solstice is the longest day/shortest night of the year.
Fall Equinox: Autumn is all about the harvest and being grateful for that harvest. One of the most natural ways to celebrate the fall equinox is to keep a gratitude journal.
Winter Solstice: Since ancient times, people have observed the winter solstice. Traditionally, this included staying up all through the dark, cold night and celebrating when the sun rose once more.
Spring Equinox: Spring is a time of renewal and energy. This is the perfect time to plant seeds, and not just in the ground. Seek inspiration as the earth reawakens.
Summer Solstice: Also know as the estival solstice or midsummer, the summer solstice marks the first day of summer and is celebrated in many cultures throughout the world with everything from sunrise gatherings to midsummer festivals.
Is seasonal living for you? Absolutely!
Living a slower, more intentional life and reconnecting with nature is good for everyone. And because it’s so customizable, you can easily incorporate as much or as little of it into your current lifestyle.
With these changes, you can start living a slower, more intentional life that is better for your mental, physical, and emotional health.
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