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Welcoming the Darkness
Happy “time-change adjustment period” and “transitioning from autumn to the holiday season stage”!
I’ve been looking forward to the time change for a little while now, mostly because I find it difficult to wake up, leave my house, and arrive at work while it’s still dark and dim outside. Now that the time change has actually taken place, I’m remembering that there is a specific heaviness that comes when the daylight departs earlier in the day.
The heaviness is not all bad.
It’s just there.
It carries me back to the November at-home Sunday afternoons of my childhood and youth. You know the feeling of a November Sunday afternoon nap? Falling asleep in the soft gray light and then waking up to even softer and grayer light? The certain sound and smell of the furnace kicking in, warming a quiet house? And of course, the anticipation of snow and Christmas lingering kindly around the edges of all these other things…
The other side of the heaviness is that I know this is the beginning of more darkness and more cold, and there’s a small something inside me wondering whether or not I can handle this.
Of course I can do it.
But can I do it well?
I really, really want to.
I made a list of a few simple ways that I can prepare to embrace the upcoming winter and decided to share them here, even if they feel obvious.
Ways to Begin Embracing Winter
1. Read Wintering, by Katherine May. I’ve read this book before, and it nurtured in me a willingness to set aside some of the fears that come with winter for me and embrace the darkness and chilliness. You should also watch this video about the beginning of the Polar Night season in the North Pole region. The idea of ongoing darkness (four months of it!) is fascinating and a little terrifying. I enjoy seeing how this Youtuber faces the beauty of the long night.
2. Make sure that you have the proper cold-weather gear. I now spend a significant amount of time each day outside with children and in preparation for winter temperatures, I replaced my old winter coat with a new one that is longer and warmer. I’m excited to test it out!
3. Make a list of things that you are excited to do/experience in this season. I’m excited for the activities of the Christmas season, exercising at the Y, going skating and skiing and walking, earlier bedtimes, more time for reading, drinking lots of hot chocolate, and eating lots of soup. I love scrolling social media, but this winter I do want to be creative with how I spend my time instead of just resorting to scrolling.
4. Consider choosing something new to try this winter season. Coziness and comfort are lovely, but I find that they’re most rewarding when paired with a little bit of stretching and learning. (Meanwhile, I’m too afraid of the new thing I’m considering trying to even talk about it here. :D)
5. Reflect on what makes winter feel difficult for you. The weather? Fewer social activities? Less motivation to eat fruits and vegetables? Sickness? Seasonal Affective Disorder? Try considering whether there is anything you can do to face these challenges proactively rather than reactively.
These things are super simple, but somehow, I think they might be able to make a difference for me this winter.
Questions for You
What do you feel as we approach this colder, darker season?
What about this holiday/winter season do you look forward to?
Do you have any tips about how to increase the enjoyability of the season and/or decrease the difficulty of it?