Once upon a time…when I was around the age of seven, I was totally confused by the discovery of the concept of Daylight Savings Time. I rose early on a Sunday morning, knowing that while the rest of the house was sleeping, my job was to keep quiet. I had books, could sneak into the kitchen for cereal, and had a television in my room.
The Children’s Hour (a local kids program) should have been starting, but instead, my seven year old self was stuck with television evangelists and political recourse. I remember quietly wandering around the house, not understanding why none of the clocks matched what the TV said the “official” time was.
That was the year I requested a calendar for Christmas. After marking my birthday, the next notations I made on my calendar were the dates for “Spring Forward, Fall Back.”
As I’ve progressed beyond single-digit numbers for my age, the bi-annual changing of the clocks used to leave me feeling conflicted. Sure, “gaining” an hour of sleep in the fall is delightful, but what used to prove challenging was the earlier darkness.
A few years ago, I realized that I was rolling with the seasonal changes more gracefully, and without the old dread I’d so often felt. The obsessive need to note the dates on my calendar to shore myself up has transformed into opportunities to notice other things – the turning of the leaves, the lengthening or shrinking of shadows, and the angle of the light at any given moment of the day. More importantly, the concept that time has stopped becoming so rigid and has become a framework, a guideline, a structure around which we build our lives.
What caused the change? It was around that time that I learned to create rituals in my days.
I came to understand that seasons, after all, show us what our lives are meant to be: dark times, light times, expansion, contraction, and of course… change! I also came to understand that I didn’t have to give into the winter blues as the days got shorter. Instead, I found ways to look at the earlier evenings as a way to see the mystery and magic of this beautiful season.
Darling, here are ten ways that you can can celebrate and embrace the change of seasons. Look at it as an invitation to loving your life more!
One – Light Up the Night
The great thing about darker evenings is that they allow for the warmth of candles. Create a sacred space in your home and light candles at dusk or when you get home from work. Have dinner by candlelight.
You know I’m not a big fan of clutter, but I do stock up on candles when I find them on sale. Tapers, tea lights, votives and jar candles create unique opportunities of reflect your personal style.
Two – Begin a Written Gratitude Practice
It’s the season of Thanksgiving, so why not begin the habit of gratitude now, rather than waiting til the end of the month? Get a beautiful journal and commit to completing your day with gratitude. Start with a list of five things. Write in as much detail as you can.
We live in such lavish abundance, yet it’s so easy to speed through the days without noticing. A gratitude journal will change your life!
Three – Create a Grand Romance
The shorter nights are the perfect time to reconnect with your partner – and yourself!
Create a regular game night and drag out that old Monopoly or Scrabble game. Start a fire in the fireplace. Cuddle on the couch under a blanket. Pick up a new piece of sexy lingerie and wear it to kindle a spark.
Even if you don’t have a partner, it’s a great time to romance yourself! Bubble baths by candle light. A new nightgown that makes you feel sexy.
There is always room for more love in your life!
Four – Take It Outside
Winter is a fabulous time to play outside. When the sun is shining, you’ll be energized. It’s cold and crisp, but layering all you have to do to enjoy the unique treasures of the season is to bundle up in layers of polar fleece.
Make it a point to find some trails or paths near your home, then commit to spending some time outside on a regular basis. Even a short jaunt in the great outdoors will feed your spirit.
Five – Entertain Yourself
This is the perfect time to catch up on all of those things you’ve been wanting to watch and read. Curious about Mad Men or Downton Abbey? What about that new JK Rowling book, The Casual Vacancy? Winter is a great time to catch up on those movies you missed in the theaters – or begin a favorite TV series from episode one.
Every time I see someone mention a book, movie, or television series they’ve enjoyed, I make note of it. I keep a running list in a Word Document – or put them on my request list at the library.
The early darkness – and cold – are also great reasons to grab a cup of cocoa, a blanket and a good book – or a little screen time!
Six – Take to Ben Franklin’s Advice
What if you listened to your body instead of forcing yourself to stay up to go to bed at the “right” time? Take advantage of your body’s natural rhythms to get some extra shut-eye. Listening to your body when it needs rest is about listening to your inner wisdom.
And if you’re worried that going to bed at 9 PM means your body will wake up at 5 AM, so what? Go ahead and listen to your body then as well. Get up earlier than usual and embrace some extreme self-care. Need some ideas? Sit down to breakfast, create a new morning ritual, or a spend that time working on that novel you’ve been telling yourself you were going to write!
After all: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
Seven- Create a Mediation Practice
During the summer, we spend more time outside and tend to work on our outer selves. In contrast, the holiday season and shorter days makes the perfect time to go inward. Creating a meditation or prayer practice is the perfect way to listen to – or rediscover – your inner voice.
Eight – Morning Work-Outs
When the clocks turn back, the mornings get lighter. Why not take advantage and wake up earlier to hit the gym? Start a fitness ritual. Exercise has been proven – over and over again! – to remedy everything from disease to depression. The fitness habit will lift your mood like nothing else!
Nine – Harness Your Creativity
Remember that idea you had for a scrapbook? Or that language learning series you’ve been meaning to plunge into? Well, now’s the time!
Winter is a perfect time to learn a new craft, create something meaningful, and get lost in the joy of a new project. Winter is also the time to go inward and lose yourself in creating. What have you been meaning to create?
Ten – Rediscover Your Kitchen
Cooking isn’t just for Thanksgiving. When the nights are dark and the air is cool, It’s the perfect opportunity to experiment with new recipes. Make double batches of your favorite recipes and freeze the extras for nights when time is short – or share the extras with a friend or neighbor. Though summertime baking heats up the house, there’s nothing like the warmth and scents of baking.
I know the shorter days and longer hours of darkness can feel challenging, but they can be eased by cultivating personal rituals and creating special routines for your days.
It’s just another opportunity to fall in life with your life more!
What about you? What ideas can you add to the list to chase away those wintertime blues?