Winding down for winter

An autumnal woodland in Kielder, Northumberland with Kali Rowntree - a German Shepherd dog - walking down a path away from the camera.

I don’t know about where you are, but around these parts Winter seems to have hit with a vengeance.

One day I was in a cabin in the woods, appreciating the autumnal colours and the fact it was warm enough not to use the gloves I’d packed for my trip.

Then the next morning I woke up to find a thick layer of frost on the car window and had to accept defeat and put the central heating on at 11am; a surefire sign of winter!

More than all of that though, I’ve noticed that physically and mentally I’m finding myself more and more in that Winter mindset. And I’m sharing this because I want to remind you that it’s OK if you are too.

We’re all seasonal beings and that’s OK

A cream square with green and pink flowers in opposite corners and the words "How do we slow down and turn inwards with the seasons in a world that is forever telling us to do the opposite? Winding down for winter" in black text.

Nowadays that indoor heating I mentioned means it’s easy to escape the cold temperatures that winter brings, while the wonder of electric lighting and our 24 hour culture means we barely bat an eyelid when the darkness draws in earlier and earlier with each passing day.

But of course that wasn’t always the way.

A few centuries ago these winter months we’re experiencing in the Northern hemisphere would have meant a great big change of pace in everything that we did.

All work would’ve stopped when the night arrived, farmers would’ve tucked their animals away somewhere warm, and families everywhere would’ve drawn their people inside too – lighting the families and making the most of the Autumn harvests to see them through the colder months.

It was a time for rest, togetherness, turning inwards, getting quiet and nourishing ourselves wherever we could through what might potentially be a difficult time.

And despite all of the technological “advances” and changes our world has seen in the years since we humans? We’re still very much attuned to that natural calendar and those old ways of being.

I’m sharing this because nowadays that pull to be less busy and focus more on rest and nourishment is something that’s all too often frowned upon. In a world that tells us to go go go, stay busy and never show the kind of “weakness” that suggests we need rest of nourishment, those winter pulls can seem like an inconvenience at best, and something to be downright ashamed of at worst.

So I wanted to talk to you about them and remind you that it’s not only OK to feel this way, but I’d argue it’s bloody beautiful, and powerful.

The gifts of being in tune with Winter

A lit stone fireplace inside a wooden house.

Because for all winter might seem cold, dark and a little bit sluggish to many people (although I should probably say that as a winter baby with a Libra ascendant I kind of love this time of year, and find myself with all of the ideas and inspiration, so if you’re in that camp too then please remember to ride the wave that’s meant for you!), there is a great deal of beauty and power to be found in surrendering to those winter gifts.

Just like the bulbs that wait underground, waiting to be re-born in the springtime, winter is a great time for us to slow down, rest as much as we can and prepare for the new beginnings that inevitably lie ahead.

Just like those old communities that would make the most of their annual harvest over the winter months, this is a great time for us to take stock too of everything that’s been over the year that’s passed. That means stopping and thinking about all of the good things that have happened over the past year – celebrating them where you can or even just taking a little time out to get super grateful for them and everything they’ve brought you.

And with the less than positive experiences you’ve had? Well winter offers the opportunity to step out of the light, get quiet and really process what those means for you now and in future; whether there’s anything you need to change or let go of, and how you can move on from what might’ve been a really tough experience.

In fact, these colder darker times are perfect for turning inwards more generally; for getting familiar with the darker and quieter corners within your own self and doing the inner work that will help you to step into the springtime, into the new year when it comes, with greater self awareness and more clarity over the road ahead, wherever that might lead.

How to do that?

I know what you’re thinking: “Yeah this all sounds great. But do you know how much I have to do? Work and childcare aren’t just going to stop because it’s winter, and no matter how much I might want to turn inwards, I’ve got a stack of Christmas shopping to do and a diary full of social stuff that will be keeping me pretty damned busy over the next few months!”

Yup, I hear you. The fact is that although our bodies and emotions might still be tuned in with the glorious cycles of nature, the outer world has completely disconnected itself from any of those rhythms, and will drag us along in that constant stream of busyness for a long as it possibly can.

So how do we manage to slow down and turn inwards in a world that is forever telling us to do exactly the opposite?

My advice is to take the opportunities where you can… Get as much rest as you can – even if that means going to bed earlier than usual or swapping planned days out for afternoons snuggled up with the people you love on the sofa; book in time for yourself alongside all of those busy social engagements and spend it conserving your energy or tuning in to ask yourself what you really need.

Remember to treat yourself even as you’re rushing around the shops buying everyone else the best possible gifts (even if that treat is just a cup of hot chocolate or a slice of cake – or both – at the end of a busy trip to the mall!), don’t worry about starting anything new but just gently start the prep work for those new beginnings while you focus on tying up the old; and be sure to do what feels right to you – even if that goes against what everyone else wants you to do.

That can still be tough. Reconnecting with yourself and taking time to be still in a world that wants you to do anything but can be a real challenge, even when the energies of the natural world are in your favour!

So if shutting out those voices and demands of the outer world in order to do just that is something you’re struggling with then give me a shout – Soul-Led Therapy offers the perfect safe space to help you do that.

And if you’re wondering about those new beginnings that lie ahead once this quiet time is over, then have a look at my Soul Journey Insight Packs, which offer great insight into the next steps on your soul’s journey.

#rest #connection #soulwork #selflove #therapy #wisdom #thepresent #change