I can’t believe that Thanksgiving has already come and gone!

I hope you found a way to celebrate the holiday despite some of the ongoing crises we’re dealing with in Alberta and across Canada. That roller coaster we’ve been on keeps putting a lot of strain on independent businesses like ours. Add to that autumn’s shorter days and longer nights, a little bit of ‘cabin fever,’ and it’s easy to understand why many people feel sad, stressed, frustrated, or just plain stuck-in-a-rut.

There are days when I want to do nothing but hide! Me, the one who insists that positivity always wins! And while I still believe that’s true, it sometimes takes a hard fight for positivity to win out. 

But how can I feel down when I have so much to be thankful for? I am blessed with a loving husband, amazing children, great health, a beautiful home, and food on the table (thank you bees!).  I also have  a fulfilling role in a well-respected beekeeping enterprise that allows my family to maintain a strong connection with our ancestors, to be active stewards of nature, and to support charitable organizations, schools, and sports teams with their fundraising initiatives in communities large and small across Canada.

What could be more rewarding than that?

The bottom line is, it’s okay to feel grateful as well as sad, stressed, or frustrated, all at the same time. 

But if you’re feeling that way too, maybe we should take this opportunity to support one another (even if only virtually) by sharing sources of inspiration, ideas for staying grounded, and self-care tips?

I’ll go first…

Finding inspiration among bees and nature

I find that being out in nature is key for both self-care, and for finding inspiration. 

I love watching nature’s ebb and flow, it reminds me to trust in the unseen. The golden colours of early fall make me think I’m living in an oil painting, a work in progress that the creator has touched with His very own brush. What a masterpiece!

Simply put, being active in nature makes me feel alive, and hints that I am but a small part in a grand design. Feeling connected to the world around me puts me in a good mood, and motivates me to do good things, to get involved in my community and help whoever I can.    

Watching the life cycle and production cycle of honey bees has a similar effect on me (we really should make our own educational video someday, shouldn’t we?). It fills me with wonder, makes me marvel at all the magic that surrounds us. There is beauty in the flight of bees, in the dancing movements they use to communicate with one another, in the artful honeycomb hives they construct. 

Check out the infographic featuring fun facts about honey bees, below. Can you look me in the eye and tell me honestly that bees aren’t amazing?

I am privileged to have such magic in my life, and I think that kind of reflection is key to finding inspiration in day-to-day life. Knowing that my life is directly tied to the bounty provided by bees – and that my family are the stewards of such wonderful creatures – always renews my sense of purpose when I’m feeling down.

What about you? Are you able to find beauty and inspiration even in the more mundane aspects of your life, of your work? Does spending time outside make you feel better when you’re down? I challenge you to try!

Self-care time for honey bees… and humans too!

The turning of the seasons also reminds me that after a summer full of hard work, I’m not the only one who’s tired and ready to slow down. 

Rest is important for honey bees (and beekeepers) too – it’s one of the most important parts of self-care, one that too many people sacrifice!

As the seasons shift, bees and beekeepers find themselves with winter preparation on the brain. As natural floral sources diminish in the colder temperatures, we will begin to feed the bees in preparation for hibernation. Without adequate care during the fall the bees would easily die off,  so our job right now is to make sure they are well kept.

Knowing that the bees are nearing their season of rest somehow also makes me feel better, less guilty about my own desire to slow down… A hot tea with a serving of raw honey is my restorative go-to, especially since I can’t enjoy hibernation so to speak. The warmth it spreads through my body and soul tells me that even when shadows have crept inside me, I need to realize that the sun will rise again tomorrow… and that shadows can indeed be lifted. 

For me, that acknowledgement is essential to avoid becoming overwhelmed by life’s challenges. For staying grounded. And when I’m grounded and my mind is clear, finding inspiration to do anything is much easier.

Almost forgot… In autumn and winter, I light beeswax candles to brighten my spirits. I find that they make the living room especially cosy and uplifting on those overcast days and dark nights.

Goodbye, shadows… 

Beyond honey bees: 3 more self-care techniques that keep me grounded

Sure I manage a multi-generational beekeeping enterprise, but even I’m not so obsessed with bees that I would limit my self-care techniques to things directly inspired by them!

Here are 3 more self-care techniques I rely on every day for staying grounded:

  1. Intentional breaths: Every morning when I wake up, I take 7 intentional breaths. While I may not be able to control everything in my life (looking at you, COVID), I can take control of my breathing, and that stops frantic thoughts from racing through my mind. With a clear mind, it’s much easier to grab the day’s challenges by the horns. Another great thing about intentional breathing is that you can do it anytime, anywhere.  Why do I take 7 breaths? Because it’s the one thing I feel I can control! And who doesn’t like a little sense of control anyway?
  2. Reading scripture and journaling my thoughts: Yes, I am a deeply spiritual person with a strong faith. I appreciate the wisdom found in the Bible, and when I’m struggling, I read scripture in search of inspiration and guidance. It has never disappointed me. Afterward, I journal my thoughts, which helps me identify my own behavioural patterns, reflect on challenges I have resolved, and view things in a much broader context. All of that helps me overcome my anxieties so I can get on with doing whatever needs doing. Whatever your beliefs are I assure you that journaling and reading inspiring text will brighten its effect in your life.   
  3. Moving my body: You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before, because it’s true: exercise is key to a healthy mind and body. Even better if you can do it outside, where you can enhance nature’s positive effects with physical activity. Just a 30-minute walk in a green space everyday can do wonders for you! So rise, my friend, and move that amazing body!

One last thing… when people tell me that I’ve inspired them to do something, I find myself inspired to achieve even greater things. So if you found this post useful, inspiring, or motivational, would you be so kind as to let me know? You can always shoot me an email at info@paradisvalleyhoney.com or tag us on social media – I would love to hear from you; and hear more about how you are doing.

Also; please feel free to share any self-care tips, methods for finding inspiration, and strategies for staying grounded that you may have – more tips are always better! Tag us in your uplifting posts so we don’t miss them!

Looking for raw honey to put in your tea or beeswax candles to dispel the autumn shadows? They’re available here.