Happy New Year!! I hope that 2023 started off happy and healthy for you and that you had the chance to take some time off over the holidays. Hard to believe it is already the middle of January!
I am always fascinated by what gets my attention; what resonates with me. I’ve learned to recognize that my attention is drawn to what my inner voice has not quite had a chance to tell me yet. Where my attention goes is quite a reliable barometer of what my subconscious is mulling over.
What I’ve been drawn to lately has been a lot about quiet. Slowing down. Decelerating. And I know that I’m not alone in this either! Everyone I know has felt that the pace of work for has accelerated over the past 3 years beyond almost all recognition. What was a murmur of fatigue has more recently become a groundswell of need for balance, calm, grounding, refocusing, and recharging.
So it is no wonder that I was drawn to the concept of Wintering for this week’s newsletter! Interestingly, this came to me via multiple channels – a colleague’s post on LinkedIn, a book recommendation from a friend, a video link from someone else. Clearly we are all in the mood to do a bit of hibernating this winter! 😉
Let’s dive into it then, shall we?
WHERE IT STARTED…
The concept and idea of Wintering was introduced to me through a close friend. She had heard of this book called Wintering, and being a huge fan of the season herself, thought it would be something we would both like. The book is both about winter and hibernation, as well as about the concept of having fallow times in one’s life – a season of life rather than a season of the year.
Even the subtitle grabbed me: “The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times.”
I loved this quote from the book:
“Sleep is not a dead space, but a doorway to a different kind of consciousness – one that is reflective and restorative, full of tangential thought and unexpected insights. In winter, we are invited into a particular mode of sleep; not a regimented eight hours, but a slow, ambulatory process in which waking thoughts merge with dreams, and space is made in the blackest hours to repair the fragmented narratives of our days.”
I confess that the busier I am, the more “optional” sleep seems to be. It should be a non-negotiable pillar of health and self-care, but instead seems more of a “nice-to-have”. So I loved this idea of sleep being both reflective and restorative, and full of insights. Maybe this perspective will put sleep a bit higher up on my priority list!
Shortly after my friend recommended the book, a colleague shared her thoughts on the topic, and I recognized that it wasn’t just my friend and me who were feeling that urge to rest and recharge. The post also included a video of Katherine May (the author of Wintering) reading an excerpt from her book that really grabbed me. Worth a watch!
REST VS RECHARGE…
It isn’t just rest that we need, however. I read a quote recently that rest and recharging are not synonymous. The metaphor used was really impactful for me in bringing home the message: When you stop using your phone, you are no longer draining the battery. This is rest. But not using the phone doesn’t mean the battery gets recharged. For that to happen, you need to plug the phone in. That’s recharging. We need to do both!
Science backs this up as well. There are ebbs and flows in every facet of life and that includes our energy and productivity levels as well. There is scientific evidence to show that “People would be healthier and more productive by working less in winter.”
And as this article so beautifully stated:
“A hundred years ago, people used to demonstrate their status and wellbeing by enjoying a lot of leisure time, but it seems that those days are behind us. Now we strongly value work, productivity, and being busy. When we’re not busy, we not only fear that we’ll lose our credibility, but we often also feel like we’re missing out on life or like we’re not living it to the fullest. But why do we do this? How have we come to value productivity so highly, that for some of us it has turned into a tyranny?”
Perhaps we need to re-evaluate what we need in order to be productive? When it comes to machines, they need outages in order to continue to perform long-term. Humans do as well! And wintering might be the outage that we humans need!
AND A BIT OF HUMOUR…
This was just too funny not to include. 😉 Enjoy this fabulous video from “motivational speaker and life coach Self-Help Singh” on doing nothing!
WHAT I’M READING…
My cousin recommended The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern to me several months ago, and I finally had time to read it over the holidays! I wasn’t initially drawn to the book – it is fantasy, which is not my usual genre – but my cousin’s recommendations have always been spot on, and this one was no exception. The Night Circus is a beautifully-written story about a magical circus at the turn of the last century. It captures the awe and wonder of the unknown at a time when most people were only aware of what was taking place in their own village. Beautiful, compelling imagery. A story to really whisk you away into another world.
Did you read anything wonderful over the holidays? I’d love to hear!
I hope you have the chance to do some Wintering over the next few weeks: time to rest, recharge, and replenish. I am dreaming of some days snuggled up reading a good book and letting the world pass me by a bit. I wish that for you too! ♥
Be emotional. Stay healthy!