Slowing Down with Nature
In a few days, we will have reached the shortest day of the year: The Winter Solstice. Until then, the days of the Northern hemisphere rapidly grow shorter and darker, and the world seems to slow down.
I too, feel like I’m moving in slow motion. I wrote about winter blues a few weeks ago, and though I’ve accepted that this is my slower, quieter time of year, it’s still difficult to deal with low moods, fatigue, and carb cravings. My body also seems to want to eat higher on the hunger scale, meaning that I start to eat when I’m less hungry and stop when I’m fuller than usual. I’ve taken on a few pounds of “winter padding”, which doesn’t really bother me because my clothes fit and I know they’ll go away in the spring.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like she’s slowing down. Creative people in particular seem to be very sensitive to the seasons and the cycles of nature. Many great creators throughout history worked seasonally. I honestly can’t remember who at the moment, but maybe that’ll be a fun post for later 🙂
A few days ago, I wrote about how I felt overwhelmed by my to-do lists, especially related to art. I was going to post two new paintings last week, but I haven’t quite finished them. I was going to create a painting about the solstice and actually have it finished by the solstice (which would take several full days of painting) but I haven’t even started it. I was going to do so many things, but I just can’t.
At first, I felt guilty. Sometimes I’m still stuck in that modern American mindset that my worth is determined by my productivity and how much I work, which is not true at all. Then I remembered that in these darkest days of the year, I need to respect my need to slow down. I can’t chug out one or two paintings a week like I did in early fall. I can’t power through a mile-long to-do list each morning before work. It’s not laziness. It’s just respecting my limits, which is an essential part of self-care.
Right now, I accept that it may take me two or even three weeks to finish a painting. I accept that what I need right now is the time to read, journal, do yoga to keep my body healthy. I need to think, prepare healthy and warming foods, and slowly work through the things I have to do. I have to go to work to pay my rent. I have to buy groceries and wash my dishes and do laundry. Sometimes, that’s the best I can do.
I’m not taking time “off”, I’m just allowing myself to move slower during these darkest days of the year. This feeling is temporary, and it’s ok. It’s ok if you need to slow down as well. The holidays are a time when most of us feel like we should be rushing around, even though it goes against our natural instincts. Do what you can to take this week slow. You’ll thank yourself later, and think how energetic and awesome you’ll feel in six months during the summer solstice!