How do you follow your natural rhythms in the quiet months of winter?
In this season of frenzy, stress, and constant strive to make it all perfect, I’ve been finding that more and more people are becoming physically sick, exhausted, and simply unwilling to go along with the expectations of the season.
Roll back hundreds of years ago and think about what our ancestors were doing this time of year. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is our winter season. Merriam-Webster has among its key definitions for winter, “a period of inactivity or decay”. Yet, during this time of year we have been culturally programmed by society to be in a state of non-stop shopping, parties, decorating, baking, eating, consuming at a level of gluttony not seen just mere decades ago.
So, it is no wonder that our bodies are shutting down and saying, ENOUGH! We are not meant to be in a state of high bustle at this time of year. The natural rhythms ask us to be quiet, reflective, and honor that period of inactivity. Even many of the animals know this – they hibernate to replenish and restore themselves for the new life brought on by Spring. They get quiet, they stop, they rest, they are in a state of just being.
When we ignore these natural rhythms, we end up being forced to stop in a way where we can’t ignore what’s being called for. We get sick. Our bodies shut down and we have no choice but to rest. Makes you wonder why this time of year is rife with flu, colds, and other illnesses. It’s because we don’t listen to the rhythms. And notice that many of these illnesses are respiratory in nature?! It’s because we don’t stop to breathe. We have been on a rollercoaster of constant activity and consuming in order to “keep up with the Joneses”. If we don’t have more, do more, consume more, we are trained to believe that we are less than. And no more so than the period from November until January.
After having been hit recently with my own body’s demand to stop and just be, I began to reflect on this. How did we get here? Why do we allow ourselves to become rundown, depressed, disillusioned, and ridden with debt? And the bigger question, how do we break this cycle?
I think the answer is simple to know but difficult to execute. The answer is to start saying, “no more.” No more frenzy. No more stress. No more complexity. No more buying of things we honestly don’t need. No more cooking and baking as if we’re preparing for an army. No. More.
The words are easy, but wherein lies the difficulty is the belief that we have to worry about what others think when we make this decision to say no more. “What will they think of me if I don’t have my house all decked out for the holidays? What will happen if I don’t send Christmas cards to all of the people who’ve sent them to me but instead pick up the phone and give them a call? Will I be ostracized for not going on a shopping spree to match everyone dollar for dollar, choosing instead to give the gift of time spent together?”
We have been set up by advertising, marketing, and now social media to see ourselves as failures if we don’t meet the demand of the ostentatious holiday. We’re horrible parents if we don’t buy our kids the latest craze on the market. We’re awful friends if we don’t exchange in quid pro quo fashion. We’re “that neighbor” if we don’t run around to all of the surrounding houses with baskets laden with dozens and dozens of cookies and candies. So, we comply out of fear. We push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion for weeks and weeks to make the storybook tale come true for mere hours on one day a year. We put on the brave face when all many of us would rather do is curl up with those close to us and just be together without all the hoopla.
I know it’s a bit late in the game now being just a few days away from the holiday weekend, but I challenge you even now to exercise those words, “no more.” Even if it’s just a little here and a little there. Choose instead to honor your natural rhythms of quiet, rest, and spending quality time with people rather than spending down your personal and material reserves. Say, “no more” to trying to measure up to the expectations of others and instead give of your heart. And I will venture a guess that you will find yourself going into the new year healthier, happier, and more content when you honor your own natural tempo of winter rest.
If you struggle to make these changes, yet it is your best hope to learn how to manage your personal rhythms, I’d be happy to have a conversation with you. Contact me at Your Best Hopes Wellness Coaching where we can look at solutions, your personal star map, or how to move stuck energy through Reiki. All of my services and contact information can be found at www.yourbesthopeswc.com.
Wishing you all a restful holiday season and replenished energies for the New Year!