Learning to rest and reduce in the dark time of the year

Autumn is here. The wind is picking up. The nights are slowly creeping in. As I write these words moody grey clouds are hanging over the gold spotted treetops. And so my thoughts turn to the coming trails of winter.

I love autumn, but I really dislike winter. I suffer Very heavily from SAD, and I find the cold dark, stressful time of year difficult.

This year however there has been something on my mind. Last February I started studying Druidry and have been learning a lot, but one of the biggest changes this has made to my life is the idea of the wheel of the year.

In brief, the Neopagan wheel of the year marks 8 holidays spread out equally over the year, 4 solar events, and 4 agricultural events. And these are not just days of worship, but also are treated as active markers for your progress in projects over the year.

image courtesy of wikimedia

The idea is any new projects should start on Imbolic (start of spring) and finish fully by Halloween/Samhain (start of winter). What hit me was the idea you’re not meant to do anything extra over winter when your time and energy would be naturally limited.

Learning about this hit me like a ton of bricks. It is so obvious when you think about it. In the Winter your body is starved of sunlight and constantly burning through higher calories to fight the cold. Of course you should be reducing your workload and stress. And from that its no wonder I suffer mentally in the winter months. I’m pushing myself to use resources I just don’t have.

Our society seems to be arranged to make winter the most demanding month. Emotionally, physically and financially. Longer work hours, many big social engagements known for heavy drinking and of course, for those that partake in the annual gift giving, the stress and exhaustion of present buying.

That is nuts.

That is nuts and its time for a change. For the sake of my mental health I am putting my foot down.

What this means in real terms is being organized and being firm. Christmas shopping will be done by the end of October. I will also resist going to big parties I know I don’t really enjoy. If I am going to see people it will be in a way that rejuvenates me, not drains me.

Lastly I have been lucky enough to amass quite a bit of leftover holiday time to book at my job. So for much of the really dark seasons I am actually booking off most of the Fridays. I’m going down to a 4 day week essentially. I know this is something I’m lucky to have, and not something most people would have the luxury of doing but I’m going to make the most of it.

I’m hoping these changes will help with my mood and see a change in my life. And I aim to review if this coming winter feels easier on me than previous years.

Follow me on these sites