It’s late January and here in Baltimore we have finally reached that point in the season where it has become an unhealthy kind of cold. Daily walks are no longer an option thanks to petulant windchill and icy side walks. We’ve had to dig out the sturdier footwear and we spend at least eight minutes layering up for the half-block walk from our building to the car. It’s the season of stew, sofas, and sleep. When we give ourselves permission to slow and settle as we approach the bend…
But slow and settle we do not. Instead we pace or join the gym, anything to keep our heart rate up between December and April. We rage against the unsalted sidewalks, convinced we are stronger than nature. We operate in double-time for fear of getting SAD (…and seasonal affective disorder.) And we renew our membership to the Target Social Club where we pace the aisles and browse the dollar bins twice, instead of our normal once, a day. It’s like we’re trying to accelerate today in order to bring the sun up tomorrow. We must be wearing the crazy hat.
It’s almost counterculture to take a season of time out- to turn in and shut off for a bit- but that is the gift winter has to offer. Not only is this a time to quiet our selves but it’s also a chance to search for the sun in our own minds, bodies, and homes. You ready for a genuine white girl tale? Here it is: the beauty of being an eternally beginner yoga student is that when it comes to a stupidly basic move, like sun salutation, I’m an ace! I could salute the sun all day and I do (!!) during winter because it is what feels best on my cold
and kind of imaginary muscles. There’s warmth in that first AMAZING cup of coffee each morning, in hand-knit shawls that I’ve been instructed to wear as an “embrace across the miles” (thanks Mom), and in real time hug with my permanent hugging partner, aka: husband. Books, baths, that movie I could watch times infinity, and slow dinners are also brimming with sun and glow.
Consider these months to be our continuing ed. credits on introspective self-care, an intensive course on human hibernation. What we practice during these frosty days will serve us in July as we recall what we learned about our unique needs before teetering into burnout. We’ll refer to the invisible, framed CEU certificate hanging on our wall, tend to our tiredness, and won’t go completely berserk mid-slip n’slide.
And to reaffirm your new found “Oh Alright”ness with your inner…um, introvert, check out this take on Seasonal Affective Disorder.