Have you heard yet that spring is here? I’d be quite surprised if you haven’t. As I’m becoming more mindful – and as I study seasonal yoga – I find myself noticing patterns in what’s happening in the world around me. So, much like I noticed the onset of the festive season or that love was in the air in February (one would have to be on another planet not to notice those things), I have been conscious of the announcements that spring has arrived. Whether this is in the clothes shops flogging all their bright cotton goods or grocery shops getting us all ready for a chocolate-filled Easter, it’s clear that spring is something for us to get excited about. And yet for some reason, I’m not yet feeling overly excited by this. You’ll not see me out there jumping about like a little, lovely and too cute gambling lamb so commonly seen just now in the fields.
I’m writing about this now because I’m curious as to why I’m not meeting spring with such enthusiasm this year. And a piece of me is wondering if it's just me. So this has been on my mind quite a bit lately as I’ve been trying to suss out where my excitement for spring is and when it might come. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
First, and maybe most obviously, it actually still feels like winter. Though where I’m living we did have one week in March when the sun came out and there was a bit of warmth in the air, I think it can be hard to welcome spring with joy when it’s still snowing, which it was a couple of weeks back. Though that week in March brought with it the first buds and pink colour of spring on the cherry trees outside the building in which I work, I just noticed today that those buds are long gone and the trees have gone back to their winter look – brown and bare.
And let me be clear here. I’m not saying this to complain about the Scottish weather (for once!). I’m not sure I’m craving the warmth as such (though I admit it would be nice). I mean, if that were the case, I’m quite sure I’d be dreaming of holidays in the sun or contemplating visits to my family. Each week, I catch up with my parents, who are an ocean and massive landmass away. I get the full weather report from them and for weeks now, it’s been as expected: perfect. Not too hot and not too cold. Here, however, it seems anything goes when it comes to the weather just now. But that doesn’t make me despair. If anything, it has me contemplating duvets.
Which leads me to the other thing I’ve thought might be causing my lack of excitement around spring’s arrival: I’m tired. Most of the time. I’m just not feeling ready to come out of hibernation. I’ve really enjoyed this winter, staying in lots, resting and just generally staying cozy. I feel a bit like a bear at this present moment in time and somehow, instead of feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, it feels more like spring is poking me, saying “Hello! I’m here! Get up!” And you know what they say about how dangerous it is to poke a bear. I would have assumed with the clocks springing forward at the end of March and the daylight hours stretching out into the evenings (something I normally love) that I’d be feeling that spring energy rising by now. But no, not yet. Maybe I’m tired because I’m still feeling that bite in the air? That bite does drain my energy and definitely makes me want to curl up beside a fire.
Usually, in the past, I explain my tiredness as a result of how busy I am. As I've said before, I'm a doing and I tend towards filling up my diary to its fullest capacity. But recently I’ve been much better about that; I make sure that there are spaces in my diary, spaces that will allow me even the briefest of moments to myself. So, this tiredness – for once – is not necessarily about being too busy. Even though I find myself quite tired in the evenings, I notice myself prioritising chilling out over going to bed. For me that generally means playing on my phone or watching tv. And both of these activities are known to disturb sleep – or disturb our ability to drop off to sleep. So perhaps if I got just a wee bit more sleep, I’d find that I’m more motivated and excited about spring’s arrival?
Finally, I notice that last year at this time, I was contemplating doing vs being. This has made me wonder if I’m just generally not very good with transitions. That would be another way to explain how I’m feeling just now about spring’s arrival. Though I haven’t been writing about it very much recently, I am still working on finding that balance between doing and being – both on and off the yoga mat. I think this will be a long-term project for me and I’m ok with that. Especially because I do see my own progress. Right now, the tricky bit in getting the balance right for me is dealing with motivation. The combination of cold and tired – for me anyway – kills my motivation. Or I suppose another way of looking at it is that being cold and tired motivates me to curl up and be cozy. Which, in my mind, is the opposite of what one does in spring when it starts to brighten up.
So if any or all of these are reasons that I’m not ready to prance about on the Scottish hills like a wee lamb, what can I do? The obvious answers are to get myself warmer or get myself more sleep. And maybe these aren’t bad ideas. Who (besides my husband of course) wouldn’t enjoy going shopping for cardigans, coats or jumpers – or even for more blankets to have around the house? Or maybe if I went to bed earlier I’d be both warmer and less tired. There is plenty of research that suggests too little sleep can affect anything from our emotions to our weight. So I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself feeling motivated and excited about spring’s arrival if I got just a little bit more sleep. However, if it was as easy as that, I would have done it already to reap the benefits. It’s far more tricky though, and that’s likely because I have my nightly habits that I must not be very motivated to change just yet.
While these are realistic changes I can consider – and very likely will consider in more depth as the days go on – for now I’m actually just going to let it be. I can say with a pretty high degree of certainty that this inclination for one more wee nap is not a sign of anything sinister, like depression, excessive stress or feeling disempowered. I know this because I can actually see forward movement. If there are things that need done, I do them, no matter how tired I feel. And I’m also finding that much of the time, I enjoy what it is I’m doing. I might just need to take an extended “breather” once the task is complete. For me, signs that these feelings were more sinister would be taking the breather before I even started the task – and then worrying about why I was not doing something and probably berating myself for not doing it. If that was happening, I would seriously consider talking to someone. For me, that would be a clear sign I am in need of help.
In my current circumstances, however, it feels more like I’m taking the ‘slowly-slowly’ route into spring. I’m taking my time to welcome in the rising energy of spring and all the delights it can bring. In allowing myself to just be as I am, to honour these feelings and plod on regardless, I’m quite sure that soon enough I’ll live my way into feeling the spring. Meantime, I’ll revisit what I learned last year when I was contemplating doing versus being; I’ll keep noticing, keep accepting and keep choosing balance. I may even practice my tree pose - to honour the fact that spring is here and hopefully to inspire me to draw in that energy rising.
How are you finding the transition into spring? Feel free to leave a comment to share what's going on for you.