Updated: Feb 12, 2020
“The winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this is a period of descent and rest, of going within our homes, within ourselves and taking in all that we have been through, all that has passed in this full year which is coming to a close... like nature and the animal kingdom around us, this time of hibernation is so necessary for our tired limbs, our burdened minds."
-Brigit Anna McNeill
December is a challenging month for me. I quickly grow tired of the cold and the snow. The darkness that slowly eats away at each day feels like it’s eating away at me personally, and I knew this even before photography entered my life and I literally needed the light in order to work.
This December has been better. I’ve been encouraged at every turn to embrace the darkness (like in the above Facebook post that came my way), and I’ve found the cold and darkness a little easier this year. There are a few factors that have helped, and if you’ll indulge me, I’ll share some here:
Find a doctor you trust and get blood work done. See what you may be lacking. Our food does not have all the nutrients our bodies need, and each body is different. Get the vitamins and supplements your doctor recommends and take them. Every day.
Make time to exercise. This will take different forms depending on your phase of life. Have babies at home? Get workout DVDs from the library, get 5-10 lb weights, and get committed to 30 minutes a day during nap time. Don’t love dancing in front of your TV? Talk to your spouse and make a schedule so you can go to the gym or get outside for a run. Or if you live in the Golden area, the Rec Center has awesome daycare at an affordable rate so your kids are safe and happy while you workout.
Listen to the season. I say, commit to 30 minutes a day of exercise, but also, take winter into account. This is new for me, but I’m learning to hold my commitment to exercise gently. If there is snow and ice outside your door, take it as a sign to seek a more restful routine. Find a yoga instructor you love and don’t feel guilty for replacing a high impact workout with yoga. I am learning our bodies need the seasons, a time for rest, a time for restoration. Winter offers us that opportunity, we have only to say yes.
Find a tribe. The days are getting shorter, but somehow—with young children—they can seem impossibly long. It helps to find others who are in the same boat and share the space together. Find a local MOPS group or another moms club in your area and commit to going. Community is possible, it will take some effort, but it may help your spirit survive this winter.
Read. If you find yourself with time to read and aren’t sure where to turn, consider a book I came across called The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose For an Age of Distraction by Justin Whitmel Earley. This is a super practical guide for helping you be intentional with your time and fight against habits that can lead to anxiety and exhaustion. Check it out. Literally, it’s at the library.
I’ll leave you with another quote from Brigit Anna McNeil:
"Winter takes away the distractions, the buzz, and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire & light to our hearth... and then, just around the corner the new year will begin again, and like a seed planted deep in the earth, we will all rise with renewed energy once again to dance in the sunlight.”