Updated: Jan 18
During the wintertime I often hear clients feeling concerned that they’re sleeping more than usual, or spending more time on recreational activities than on accomplishing their goals.
That’s not only normal, that’s to be expected. Evolution made sure that we wouldn’t use a lot of energy this time of year, in our human-style version of hibernation. For thousands and thousands of years, there usually wasn’t a lot of food in the winter months, and we had to survive until the Spring brought new growth, so our bodies adapted. As a result, we tend to be a little more sluggish, we sleep more, and it’s harder to motivate to get big tasks done.
Meanwhile for all the reasons I outlined in my free Jumpstart Your Life masterclass, feeling ashamed or guilty for the ways your body naturally functions will actually make it harder to get things done rather than easier.
So here are some tips on how to get through this season without taking on all those problematic feels:
1. Be selective about which tasks you commit to.
You don’t have to do all the things. I promise. You can do many of the things and be proud of what you’ve accomplished! And if you leave some dishes in the sink, or don’t send that one last email, or whatever else is on your to-do list, it’s OK. It will be there tomorrow. Meanwhile take some deep breaths and let your body get the rest it needs so you can show up tomorrow.
2. Find the joy in stillness.
Nestle into your snuggliest blanket, use your favorite mug to make a delicious cozy beverage, and spend time doing whatever brings you peace of mind. January is a great time for puzzles and art projects, the simple joys we rarely find (or make) time for. If you choose TV for your entertainment, let it be something pleasant that doesn’t give you a jolt of adrenaline. Give your body a real break.
3. Reflect on the past.
For those of us who have committed to the path of personal growth, we’re always on the lookout for lessons that can help us improve. The turning of the year gives us a built-in opportunity to look back at the choices we made, the things we accomplished, and the areas in which we still have some more growing to do.
4. Prepare for the future.
For centuries farmers have used this time to decide what they’re going to plant come Spring. We can do that too—decide what goals we want to set for the year, and how we’re going to set about accomplishing them. These dark months are a great opportunity for imagining and brainstorming!
Resting is a form of activism. An active choice to reject our societal drive to be productive at all times, and to choose instead to support our physical and mental wellness.
However if a lack of financial privilege means you can’t afford to rest (I’m trying to refrain from climbing up on my soapbox here) and you need a way to boost your energy levels in a natural/healthy way, check out this meditation that may help.
And if Seasonal Affective Disorder—or just general disappointment—has left you feeling hopeless, consider enrolling in Reclaiming Hope to help you get back to a positive outlook.
Remember this season will soon pass. The sun will return. Let’s make the most of this time!