The Pull of Hibernation and What Winter Can Offer Us?
Updated: Dec 1, 2021
As we head into December what I am noticing is that there seems to be inner conflict around how we feel. On the one hand we are gearing up for Christmas, there is lots of excitement especially as last year for many of us we couldn't have the Christmas that we hoped for. Coupled with that what I am hearing is that many people are tired and overwhelmed and have this urge to go inwards, to quieten and rest but there is a conflict because they feel that Christmas is coming and as we didn't have it last year there is this pressure for it to be extra special.
And there lies the conflict between the pull of ramping up for Christmas and all that goes with it, to the pull of hibernation, to rest, to slow down and to quieten. So why is there this conflict and what can we do?
If we look to the natural world perhaps we can start to understand why this might be.
It's winter and if we look at what is going on in the natural world everything is slowing down, and quietening. The trees have lost all their leaves, they are bare, they are putting down roots, they are pausing and restoring, The trees are resting but will come back in the Spring, to unfurl their leaves and produce beautiful blossom, Yet unless those trees have time to rest and to be still they won't have the energy to grow and bloom.
As humans we encompass the same world that nature does, we are a part of the natural world, its rhythms and cycles and yet we are gearing up for Christmas in complete conflict with the natural world. We are trying to ramp up at the same time the natural world is slowing down.
Also if we go back to a time when there was no electric light or heated homes at a switch of a button we wouldn't be ramping up at this time, our frantic energetic time would have been summer and autumn when we would have been gathering food, preparing our homes and getting ready to see out the harsh winter season. We would be up and about when the light was up and heading to bed when the sun went down and in this 21st century living we are often up many many hours after the sun has gone down. So again there is a natural conflict and why in turn we feel tired and overwhelmed because if we harked back to our ancestral times we would be doing things very differently.
"No Winter Lasts Forever and No Spring Skips its Turn."
This quote I found by Hal Borland can be really useful as it reminds us that Winter doesn't last for ever and that Spring will return. The energy levels that we have are cyclical, we can't always be full of energy and achieving everything that we want to all of the time, there will be times when we need to rest, to go at a slower pace so that we have the energy to grow, bloom and blossom when the time is right for us.
So what can we do?
On the podcast that Frank and I recoded on this topic he talks about what we can do from a fitness perspective. It's about doing what we can at this time of year, so that it fits in with what you need now. If you can't exercise to the same extent that you would normally do, what can you do in order to still feel good?
With everything else in our busy lives its looking at our priorities, Many of us have young children or parents who depend upon us, as well as work and homes to manage, so its looking at what you have to do and then asking yourself what can you leave and come back to at another time?
Take time to look after yourself, what can you do to top up your energy levels? Where can you build in micro pockets of rest? This doesn't always equate to sleep, it could be anything that quietens your mind and allows you to recharge. Yoga, reading, meditation, naps, even exercise, the list is endless but you know what gives you energy and where you can build this into your busy life?
Finally the question I would like you to reflect upon is what do you need to plant now so that you can bloom in the Spring?
So if you are feeling the pull of hibernation I hope this has given you a possible fresh perspective of where that inner conflict is possibly coming from, if you are interested in exploring this further I can recommend the book called Wintering by Katherine May or you can listen to the podcast I recorded with Fit With Frank on this very topic https://www.fitwithfrank.com/post/hibernation-mode
Tunbridge Wells Women's Coach
"Supporting Women to Live Confident Fulfilled Lives"