This time of year I find myself wanting to go inward and hibernate, gravitating toward warm nourishing foods, nesting, reflecting, and relishing the solitude. Fortunately, I take comfort in the cold snowy days, but do find that if the gray gloomy skies stick around for too long I become a bit melancholy.  Many people find this time of year to be a struggle, stuck in a cycle of anxiety and depression, not only from the weather but the emotional turmoil the holidays can stir up. 

Another stress for pet parents may be their aging pet. It’s that time of year, as a veterinarian, I tend to perform more humane euthanasia. I’ve often wondered why that is but can only speculate. I can’t think of a scientific reason but reflect on a spiritual level. It’s the end of the calendar year, the Winter season, a time of death so that new life may be birthed in the Spring. It’s a part of the cycle of life, the 5 elements in Chinese Medicine (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood). I believe animals are more innately in tune with this cycle and with Nature, Herself. Maybe on some level the aged declining pet that transitions during this time instinctively knows it’s the completion of a lifetime. Their counterparts, us humans, have become more and more detached from our connection with Mother Earth which can leave us feeling empty, longing, or as if something is missing in our lives. And rather than welcome or honor death, most of us resist and fear it. 

Perhaps we can learn from our furry friends. This Winter Season, take time to slow down, go inward, and reflect on your life – what’s going well, what you’d like to do differently moving forward, what gives you meaning and purpose. Take a walk in nature, sit by the creek, hug a tree – in silence. Being in tune with nature can intimately reconnect us to our Source. What could you allow to die this season so that something beautiful can be created in it’s place?

I’ve done a lot of inner work over the last 15 years which has been very challenging, at times, with more bumps and bruises than I care to count. By allowing our wounds to heal organically, old layers sloughing, new growth takes its place.  Every moment is an opportunity to learn and evolve – this has been an extremely humbling process. There’s not “a one size fits all” – what works for one may not work for another. So, keep this in mind as you navigate through this journey called life.  I encourage you to stay the course – it can be easy to get discouraged and want to throw in the towel when we’re not getting results we’d hoped for. 

There are many ways in which you can support your mind, body, and spirit through the process:

Young Living Essential Oils. Some of my favorite calming oils are Lavender, Stress Away, Peace & Calming, Frankincense, or Vetiver. Place a dab behind your ears or on the back of your wrists, mixed with a carrier oil, or diffuse them to help create a soothing environment. Oils I find uplifting and invigorating are Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary. These are a nice “pick-me-up” if you’re feeling a bit sluggish. Avoid Rosemary essential oil if you have an animal that has neurological disorders such as seizures. And remember to diffuse only high quality therapeutic grade oils, from a reputable source, in an open space where your animal can leave if they choose. More to come on essential oils for pets in another blog. 

I’m also a big fan of medicinal mushrooms for many reasons, including their ability to help sooth and calm the nervous system. My brand of choice is Real Mushrooms with Lion’s Mane and Reishi being my top two faves. Keep in mind Reishi is very bitter so I would suggest it in capsule form. You can also check out their pet line for your animal’s version of these amazing super-foods! Mushrooms like Turkey Tail and Lion’s Mane make a delicious earthy tasting hot tea – a dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, and almond milk add a flavorful touch! 

During these crazy chaotic times it’s essential to find ways to manage our stress levels. You know what it’s like to be around someone who’s anxious, angry, and stressed to the max – it can be very uncomfortable and leave you feeling like you’ve been energetically slimed. Our animals are much more sensitive, so imagine what they feel like when they’re around the stress of their guardian day in and day out.  This is certainly not meant to place blame on anyone, but rather to offer some insight so that we may take the necessary steps to help ourselves and our pets.  

If you sense your animal is out of sorts, in addition to the suggestions mentioned above, consider  Acupuncture for your pet. This could help clear energy blocks and regulate their nervous system while you do your part to regulate yours. 

If you’re finding yourself struggling and would like some support, please reach out to schedule a 20-minute Discovery Call to find out more about my Coaching service or Qigong lessons, or to schedule an acupuncture session for your pet. Wishing you all the best this holiday season! 

May the Warm Winds of Heaven

Blow softly upon your house.

May the Great Spirit 

Bless all who enter there.

May your Moccasins

Make happy tracks

in many snows, 

and may the Rainbow

Always touch your shoulder.

-Cherokee Prayer Blessing 

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