The seasons are markers and containers for our lives. They influence weather and crops, but also our moods and vitality. Many people feel happier and more energized during one time of year than another.
The natural ebbs and flows of the year are particularly felt by an estimated 1 in 5 people who are empaths. They are highly sensitive and they feel things first, which is the opposite of how the majority of the population functions in our intellectualized world. Empaths filter the world through their intuition.
Empaths are highly attuned to other people’s moods, good and bad. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme. They take on negativity, such as anger or anxiety, which is exhausting. If they’re around peace and love, their bodies take these on and flourish. As super-responders, being around people can drain an empath so they periodically need alone time to recharge their batteries. Even a brief escape prevents emotional overload.
But empaths don’t have to absorb the negativity in the world and become overwhelmed once they learn how to center themselves. Proactively engaging in replenishing strategies can channel their sensitivities.
An important strategy involves noticing their responses to seasonal changes, which connects them to the rhythms of their bodies and the Earth. Being in touch with this connectedness enlivens us all, allowing us to reclaim our most ancient selves, who were devoted to watching the heavens, the sky and the moon — and who were awed by the wonder of Creation.
Let these seasonal cycles and rhythms center and inspire you.
1. Autumn. The transition from summer to autumn takes place at the Equinox, when day and night are of equal length. This is a perfect time to meditate on balance. As days become colder and darker, leaves stop making chlorophyll, which triggers them to age and decay. Autumn is a time of harvest, of change and of letting go. It’s a time to reap what you have sown and harvest the fruits of your labors.
Through journaling or in meditation, reflect on:
What benefits have resulted from my hard work?
What areas involving success would I like to further expand?
How would I like to deepen my relationships?
How have I grown as an empath?
Be grateful for your progress and open your arms and heart to continuing abundance. Consider how you can conclude unfinished business and enter the last quarter of the year with a fresh mind and optimism.
2. Winter. The winter solstice marks the first day of this season. It’s the darkest point of the year when the Earth tilts furthest from the Sun. As days grow longer again, there is a gradual ascent into light. Winter is exciting because it takes you to your depths. It invites you to heal your shadow side, including fears or self-doubts.
Through journaling or in meditation, reflect on what lessons have you received from the shadow:
Did you find hope during a depression?
Were you kind to yourself when you felt anxious?
Did you say “no” to an abusive relationship?
Affirm your courage in facing your shadow side and the progress that you made. Set your intention to practice self-care by not overcommitting yourself. Commit to relaxing more as the year winds down and leaving some unstructured time for self-reflection and rejuvenation.
3. Spring. With the spring Equinox, again the day and night are of equal length and you can draw on this cosmic balance to enhance your own emotional, spiritual and physical balance.
Spring is associated with rebirth. Sit quietly and try to intuit that the Earth is about to awaken with life. It’s thrilling to welcome the first inklings of fresh growth in the natural world and within yourself.
Through journaling or in meditation, reflect on:
What old layers of yourself that no longer serve you are you ready to shed?
What new possibilities are about to emerge for you?
How will you open to the promise of each new day?
Let yourself open to the coming of spring’s promise and the breathtaking experience of new light emerging.
4. Summer. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year when the light is peaking. Around this period, you can focus on emanating your inner light too. Feel your strength building. Own your power and experience how natural and good it feels.
Through journaling or in meditation, reflect on what this means. It could be:
Speaking your needs.
Being yourself to the fullest.
Saying “no” to energy vampires.
Expressing your creativity.
Going for the project you’ve been passionate about.
Telling your partner how crazy you are about him or her.
Don’t hold back. Open your heart. Feel your fire. Connect with the spiritual and mystical forces and let them wash over and cleanse you.
Tap into the seasonal rhythms to embrace your empathic abilities and intuition. They are gifts to be cherished.
If you find that you’re affected by overwhelm, use these self-care practices from my book, Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People (Sounds True, Oct. 22, 2019) to take charge and keep it in check.
Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.