Usually about this time of year I secretly look forward to the colder weather and the darker afternoons and evenings. Sure, summer is my favorite season, but winter is the time when I get to recharge my batteries and have a little time to myself without feeling the least bit guilty about it. Winter is for reading books, binging on tv series or just curling up on the couch with hot chocolate or a glass of wine and watching it snow through the window. No one wonders where you are because they are all home doing just the same thing.
We have already been hunkered down and away from friends and family members for nine long months. At first there was some novelty to working from home and having more time for ourselves. We tidied up, started new hobbies, watched too much tv and found ways to make the best out of being home all the time. We’ve zoomed for work and then again for a cocktail hour after and we’ve even been creative about outdoor gatherings, when it was safe to do so. Now, nine months later, the pandemic fatigue we hear about on the news is setting in just as the cold, short, dark days of winter are upon us. All anyone wants to do is to be together, to connect with other humans – in the flesh.
But it doesn’t look like that is going to be happening any time soon, at least not safely. So I think we need to take a long, slow, deep breath and welcome the winter; welcome in the cold and the dark, the time and space where we will continue to stay home and do our own, very human and probably very needed, version of hibernation.
Winter is such a natural time to slow down. The trees and plants shed their leaves and sit dormant. The foxes and bears find a cozy hole or cave to nestle in for their long winter nap. The entire Northern hemisphere darkens and the cold encourages a slower pace. But us humans, we keep moving, and this time of year, it’s faster than ever. The excitement of the holidays, parties, events and other obligations often get in the way of us taking any such time for rest. While we race from place to place, we miss the opportunity to look within and reflect. We miss out on time to just simply be.
“Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.”
This year, if you are lucky enough to be in good health, and have the luxury of a cozy place to call home, I want to encourage you to stop and welcome in these winter months. Instead of focusing your energy on what you can’t do because of the global pandemic, open your eyes to what your life could look like if you truly took a step back and slowed down. Be present in the moment. Be where your feet are.
I believe that the way we grow and improve is through honest self-reflection. Whether you reflect best through meditation, journaling or intimate conversations with others, here are some questions and ideas to chew on as you settle in for your long winter nap. May you find rest in this time of turmoil and may your reflection and commitment to you and your family bring with it renewed hope and energy to jump into spring and begin writing your next chapter.
What is it that I need to ponder, reflect and wonder about?
How can time in the quiet of my own home restore me for what is to come?
What can I change, learn or do to grow?
What change might occur in me if I commit to meditating, or reading or ______________ for 20 minutes a day?
What can I be intentional about preparing or planning for?
What can I do to spend more time in nature each day?
What part of me is broken and needs healing?
How can I develop my gifts and talents to make a difference in the lives of others?