Leave Me Be. I Am Wintering

I am tired.  I am hungry.  I am unmotivated.

Even as I type this, my fingers feel as if invisible weights are taped to each sluggish knuckle.  My hair sits in a messy, unbrushed, balled-up twist; a “messy bun” if you will, which is slowly becoming my creepy, new “signature style.”  As I slouch in my chair, I sense the vague beginnings of a muffin top middle beginning to fold ever-so-slightly over the top of my faded, fraying, baggy jeans.

I wiggle my toes under the desk and hear the faint pop of stiff joints in my threadbare socks.  Shoes have been kicked to the side.  Even the Birkenstocks-and-socks fashion I’ve adopted for the season (if we can call that fashion) feels too constricting. 

“But, Jen,” you say…  “What about New Year’s resolutions?  Where’s your DRIVE??”  

This pervasive heaviness has had me asking myself the same question.  I have confidently ruled out things such as pregnancy (nnnope!), vitamin deficiency, depression, age related issues, or illness of any kind.  What’s my DEAL?!?

Mindfully observing my thoughts and feelings, however, and applying what I know about the wheel of the year and its effects on ALL life, it’s as plain as day.  Spring is for planning and new beginnings, summer is for action and activity, fall is for reaping the benefits of a year’s work and letting go of dead weight.  Therefore, right now…

I am “wintering.”

My daily walk which has dwindled down to a four-mornings-a-week walk, and one mile instead of two, has confirmed all I need to know.  My world is resting.  Hibernating.  Rabbits, squirrels, and groundhogs, which usually bop and skitter along my path are nowhere to be seen.  The silence is profound.  The myriad, resident songbirds have flown south.  The only noise is the occasional flock of Canadian Geese from up north making their frantic flight to fairer fields.

Doesn’t it make sense then, if all of the flora and fauna have decided to curl up and rest, humans should too?  New Year’s resolutions are a human construct, and a highly unnatural one at that.  As the days remain short, and the climate, less than hospitable, it is our natural instincts telling us that we too should retreat indoors and rest.  The cravings for starchy and sweet comfort foods is a residual inclination passed down from ancestors who benefited from a little extra meat on their bones as it provided needed insulation against the cold.

We need to recognize that experiencing these types of feelings simply indicates that we are in sync with the natural world.  Rather than beat ourselves up for being lazy or unmotivated, the solution is to embrace the changes and to embrace wintering by observing that magnificent Scandinavian concept;  HYGGE.

Hygge, loosely translated to “cozy,” is a term with no English equivalent.  It is a turning inward, with gratitude, to appreciate the simple things that bring us warmth, comfort, and peace with the ones we love.  

Winters on Long Island, New York are exceedingly damp and gray, so after a day of necessary hustle and bustle, I will allow myself to ENJOY an evening curled up on the sofa with my chubby, sleepy cats as inspiration.  The heavy, old quilt I rarely use because it’s tough to clean will be my burrow under which I will shelter without worrying about spilling the occasional drop of tea or hot chocolate on it.

From my couch/nest, eliminating the pressure of an expensive outing, I will ring up my girls to pass an hour of simple, mindless, “Seinfeld-esque” chit chat about nothing, or I will binge-watch a Netflix series that colleagues have been buzzing about, but I could never justify spending (wasting) the time watching.

Let’s not forget that other guilty indulgence that is difficult to truly enjoy when the weather is warm and the many hours of sun each day lure us to active, outdoor pursuits…  READING.  What better way to pass the time, snowed in than with a cozy book in hand, with warm light from candles (battery powered, ok) or a fireplace illuminating the pages.

Formal meditation practice requires minimal physical exertion.  It is a profoundly healing and purposeful way to fill this time.  You will be working the mental muscle by cultivating calm, clarity, self-awareness, compassion, and more.  During the “busy months” it can be challenging to carve out the time, but when your natural inclination is to be still, meditate away! 

Clearly, it’s important to keep moving in order to maintain health, but substituting vigorous Vinyasa Yoga for a restorative or Yin Yoga session from time to time will keep you flexible and moving on days when it isn’t in you to push. No schlepping your weary bones out the gym required!

All of these actions, from giving yourself the space and grace to relax and recharge, connecting with old friends, settling into the coziness of home with gratitude, reading, and meditating, all facilitate that deep, DEEP dive inward.  This slowing-down creates the mental and emotional space for REFLECTION on what has and hasn’t worked for you this past year in preparation for the longer days ahead.

So watch for the cues from nature such as breaks in the clouds, budding trees, the return of birdsong, and the first sightings of baby animals poking through brush, prompting you to move into a period of action and rebirth.  But in the meantime, be gentle with yourself.  Listen to your body and take cues from the natural world.  Allow yourself the rest and rejuvenation you are due during post-holiday wintery months and embrace all things “hyggelig.”  

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely post! Thank you ❤Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device


    1. Thank you for reading! Be well. 😊🙏❤


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