Let’s all learn to love winter.
Spiritual Wellness Coach Emma Halley talks about the impact dark mornings and evenings have on us in the winter months, why we often find ourselves struggling in the winter months and how we can pivot into perceiving winter in a more positive light.
Can we unlearn old habits and remember even older ones?
Despite the twinkling lights and merriment of the Christmas season that has (most of) us happy as a kid at, well, Christmas, the winter months can be especially hard. The short days meaning dark mornings and dark evenings, and the cold, wet, inhospitable weather making it hard to leave the house and the warmth of a cosy sofa. Winter carries an awful lot of negative undertones for so many people and many of us literally dread the frosty season. For years now the terms ‘winter blues’ and ‘SAD’ have been thrown about as a way to help us understand just why hate the winter months so much but there is more to it than just preferring the long hot days of summer.
Let’s go back in time to a time and place where technology doesn’t yet exist, even the humble light bulb hasn’t yet been invented. We live off the land and abide by the sun and the moon for our everyday existence. Our world revolves quite literally around the changing of the seasons, and in order for us to survive, we live in harmony with nature, we prepare for winter when everything becomes still and quiet. We use this time to rest, reflect, talk, commune with loved ones, take care of ourselves and our indoor world, and we stop. We stop simply because we must, there is nothing to do but wait for spring and the return of the sun.
The trees know this cycle all too well, and their growing reflects this throughout the year; in the winter months they reserve their energy and send it down into their root system. They build a firm foundation beneath the ground, so they are strong and prepared to grow taller and blossom fully in the summer. We are not too dissimilar to trees, at least we didn’t used to be.
Our modern world was not built for trees and cyclical beings, and yet you are one. By your very existence you are a natural, cyclical being, and you live in a world that prefers a much more linear perspective. This world wants tasks complete, deadlines met, things done, money earned, it wants to get from here to there and it Doesn’t. Ever. Stop. We have created a 24 hour a day 365 day a year system that pushes us using guilt, consumerism, and greed, through a hamster wheel of productivity until we are spent. Done.
Your Body Knows
When we start to see the world like this it becomes clear why so many people are sick and unhealthy, either physically, mentally, or emotionally. We were not built for this world; and your body remembers the way it used to be.
The world we are living in is wholly unnatural, and while we’ve made many amazing advancements as a civilization, are we pushing so far in the other direction that we’re sacrificing our own health and wellbeing?
We have to understand that our bodies are always trying to communicate with us, in any way they can. When we are in pain, or sad, or sick, our bodies are trying to tell us something. You may have noticed that when the winter comes, you feel poorly, lethargic, run down, and lacking any motivation whatsoever to do what you need to do; your body is asking you to slow down. You may also have noticed that if you don’t listen to that call, if you keep pushing and resisting the cries from your body for rest, you get sick. Could it not be that this is your body’s way of forcing you to rest?
We call it burn out or overwhelm, we regard winter as a time we get sick and struggle. But what if we stop pushing? What if we could unlearn these social habits and remember even older ones? Ancient ones, even?
Remember the Ancient Ways
I hear you; we’d all love to slow down and rest in the winter, but life doesn’t allow it. We get even busier adding Christmas to our ever growing ‘to do list’ and there just isn’t time.
Or is there? I believe I am the master of my own reality. That may sound a bit woo, but bear with me; if I choose to prioritise my rest, if I choose to make time for slowing down and enjoying simpler pleasures, what does that look like? If I were to choose to lean into what I really wanted to do in the winter months, what would the season look like to me?
It’s time to let the pendulum swing back a little in the other direction, to remember a little more about the kind of symbiotic relationship we had with nature and how we are such a large part of it. We are not separate from the turning of the seasons, we are a part of them, and when we remember this and take small steps in the direction of honouring that, we create a snowball of positive change (no pun intended).
It Only Takes a Pivot
I teach my clients to remember to pivot. Over long distances, a tiny pivot can mean the difference between here and a thousand miles away, and this is also true in life. A tiny pivot in a different direction can create enormous change.
So how do we pivot towards loving winter instead of hating it?
We start small. We start by choosing to take some time to slow down and enjoy the stillness. We often forget that spring and summer will come again, and it is ok to just allow the winter months to move through us. Winter is not permanent, but it is necessary for our bodies to have that time to rest. Remember the trees? In order to flourish in summer, they need to winter months to focus on their roots, and so do you. If you’re exhausted by life and feeling all the overwhelm of the season, choose to slow down and enjoy the rest. Send your energy to your roots so that you can flourish when the summer comes.
Sit down. Read a book or magazine. Sip a hot chocolate by candlelight. Go for a walk. Watch a film. Have a hot bubble bath. Prioritise rest and remember you’re not stopping; you’re simply slowing down for a little while. Lean into winter, learn to love the slower pace. Your body will thank you, and you will be even more ready for when the sun returns.
Post written by Spiritual Wellness Coach, Emma Halley.
Find her on Instagram and Facebook at @thecrystalmoonmentor.