Thriving during the Winter Months
The New Year is traditionally a time to make resolutions and intentions for the year ahead. Part of me is ready to leap into 2015 with newfound energy and enthusiasm. This part is partial to calendars, sticky notes, and to do lists. We have passed the winter solstice and the days are getting longer – another reason to quicken my step.
In New England, the New Year also ushers in the deep winter months. Animals and plants hibernate accordingly. Most of us, though, have obligations that require us to be productive before the sun rises and after the sun sets.
I love a snow storm when I can stay home and enjoy it. But the same type of weather that can provide a nice atmospheric backdrop when I am at home in front of a fire or that can be pleasurable for winter fun can be a royal pain when I have an obligation. Then, the beautiful white snow becomes a burden that has to be shoveled, salted, or somehow tamed so I can get from point A to point B.
This year I will strive to find a middle ground between the hubris of assuming I can conquer or overcome the impediments of nature, on the one hand, and between feeling “done to” by winter. It is probably realistic to set expectations for productivity lower in January. But even if we are less productive on paper, the winter months can be a rich time in other ways.
Our indoor spaces take on a special significance during the coldest months. I recently read an article in Vogue magazine entitled What We Can Learn from Norwegians About Surviving Winter. According to this piece, the Norwegians have a concept of “koselig,” which is a term that roughly translates into “cozy.” Although the landscape of winter is more desolate, it doesn’t have to leave us feeling cold inside. This is where our creativity comes in, our mindfully and lovingly attending to our hearth and home…… building a toasty fire, lighting candles, a soft and inviting throw on the sofa, a home-cooked meal, and the company of loved ones, for example. And, of course, winter is also a season to cultivate our inner lives.