Darkness is My Friend

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This time of year I always like to reflect upon the shortness of days and slowness of the season. It’s important not to get too stressed with the holiday bustle and to remember that nature is subtly telling us (especially here in Vermont) to slow down, snuggle up, learn, ponder, and plot!

Understandly, short, cold, dark days can bum folks out and make it harder to find motivation or maintain a positive outlook on life. When we notice this shift, it is important to think about that cycle nature passes through year after year. This cycle of renewal and continual flow brings strength, longevity and balance. Ebbs and flows are necessary for maintaining the balance of life. Without the dropping seeds in Fall, certain plants wouldn’t come back the next Spring to grace us with their beauty and wellness. Feeling cold and tired are signs that our bodies are being pulled into this natural current. Too often, we forget or overlook nature’s patterns in our busy schedules and the fast-paced, technologically driven lives we live.

One of my favorite things about winter (besides fluffy snow of course) is the darkness. Please don’t get me wrong— because sunshine is most excellent with its warmth and Vitamin D! But on long nights, you can burn more candles in the dark. Candle light is alluring, warming and inspiring.

Think of darkness as a returning friend who comes to remind us that it is important to slow down, light a candle and reflect on life. To be humble, thankful, and gracious and learn from everything (and one) that crosses your path!

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Bedtime Rituals for Better Sleep

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As children, bedtime rituals are instilled in us from a young age. Our parents teach us brush our teeth, take a bath, get our PJs on, and read a story to us before we go to sleep. As we get older and adolescence sets in, a consistent set of bedtime habits usually falls to the wayside. Sure, as adults we still brush our teeth and shower– but we often stay up late, use our smartphones 24/7, get stressed out, watch TV before bed, and eat at odd hours.

Sleep plays an important role in our health. It strengthens our immune system, cardiovascular health, helps us recuperate from ailments and injuries, keeps our memories sharp, regulates our weight and mood. To stay on point and well rested, I have been updating my bedtime routine. I turn off all my screens at least 30 minutes before bed. This includes not only the TV and laptop, but also my smartphone. I light the Sweet Dreams candle on my bedside table. I practice a sequence of floor stretches/yoga to stretch out my spine, legs and shoulders.  I cuddle up with my favorite book and read until my eyelids grow  heavy and extinguish the candle before I fall asleep. What do you do before bed for a good night’s rest?