Embracing the Moody Winter Season


Photo Courtesy of Richard Savoie

Sam Tandy, Staff Writer

As humans, the seasons really do have an affect on both our bodies and our minds. And being in tune with ourselves requires us to also be in tune with what’s happening in the world. Each season symbolizes something different about life- things that are actually meant to be physically embraced in order to truly feel alive. For example, the spring is for coming back to life- fresh starts and new beginnings. The summer is for freedom- transforming into the best version of ourselves. Being bold. Trying new things. Fall is for contentment- Seeing who we’ve become this year. Sitting in that. Taking in the wonder. And then there’s the winter.

It goes against our very nature to be pushing and stretching ourselves beyond our limits- especially during these winter months. This is the season for slowing down. For rest. For reflection. For hibernation, and a reset of sorts. The winter is about renewal- deciding what things we want to carry with us into the new year and what things we want to leave behind. It’s about looking back and feeling grateful for the opportunities that were had and the memories that were
made. And it is about breathing deep. Gaining our energy back so that we really can spring to life in a few months. So that we can actually have the new beginnings we’ve been dreaming up during the rest period.

Each season is necessary. They are nature’s way of reminding us what it means to be balanced- to embody courage, freedom, contentment, and stillness. Going against the flow of the season is draining and often results in things like
burnout, depression, or anxiety. One term that is used a lot during the months of December-March is seasonal depression. It often comes with ignoring that need for our bodies to be stiller, calmer, and more grounded, and by overworking ourselves past our breaking point until we’ve snapped- all motivation and energy lost.

“I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything if I take a second to relax,” Allie Crawford stated. “Even if I’m exhausted, I will go do more and more and more.” Because we have been taught that what we do defines who we are. But what is easily forgotten is that rest is productive. Taking care of yourself is productive. You will still become the person you were meant to be- even if you don’t pass the test or get into that college. So take the time to prioritize you.

Seasonal depression can also come from just feeling gloomy in general- when the sunshine feels so far away and the endless, dull, gray makes the days feel long and drab. Too much embracing of the cold and the dark and you’ve walled yourself up until you’re not doing anything to keep you feeling alive. So what’s the perfect point between doing too much and doing too little?

It’s all about continuing to challenge yourself in healthy ways, in ways that don’t bend or break you, and about doing things to add some color to your space and to your life. It’s about embracing the beauty of the season- about going on
chilly walks, taking a ski trip, buying a sunset lamp, reading a book, dying your hair, buying some prints for your room, watching a movie. “I tend to just go for a drive by myself,” Crawford said, as a way to help her de-stress and be with herself. The activities where stillness can still be cultivated while participating in them are the ones that add the perfect amount of joy to the gloom. There is a Danish and Norwegian concept, hygge, “or coziness and social togetherness” Ms. Frisby explained, that is all about “simply embracing the winter cold and dark and re-framing it as a cozy season to spend quality time with loved ones indoors.” Even a slight shift in perspective can hugely impact our outlook on life and on this season we find ourselves in. There are so many lovely experiences to be had in the resting phase. Adventures are still possible. Relationships can most certainly still bloom. And we can still continue to grow.

So breathe deep. Take it slow. Give yourself grace. Take time to listen to yourself- like, really listen. Eat when you’re hungry. Rest when you’re tired. Work when you get those random boosts of motivation. Learn what you can handle and
what you can’t handle. And trust your intuition. Balance is possible, even if it doesn’t feel like it. You are allowed to not feel stressed. Not being stressed does NOT mean that you are not trying hard. You cannot be expected to carry everything on your shoulders. Try your best, but then let that weight go. Celebrate the small things. And prioritize yourself. You are allowed to live a little- to have your own life outside of school.

And maybe, by being people who embrace the rest this winter season, we can reconnect with the parts of ourselves that we have lost and we can have more empathy for ourselves and for one another as we go about our lives.