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  • Marcy Kocher

Working WITH Winter

There was a time when humans, like nature, lived according to the seasons. 


In nature, winter is a season of rest and profound creation. 


Deep beneath the brown, lifeless ground, roots are nourished in preparation to burst forth with abundant, beautiful life. 


Shorter days and less light force nature to rest so it can bloom abundantly in the spring. 


Where I live, there are a few months that are cold, dark, and a little gloomy, but necessary to produce the lush spring, summer, and autumn we enjoy so much. 


Every spring, I’m surprised and delighted by the explosion of color that would not be possible without the dark and dreary season of brown. 

Before the Industrial Revolution, people aligned their lives and work with the seasons. 


They worked by hunting, gathering, farming, building, and repairing to prepare for a long winter’s rest. 


Our bodies and minds, just like the rest of nature, respond to the darkness of winter by requiring more rest. 


However, today, we experience year-round work and education. 


Our work and school schedules don’t allow us to do what our bodies and minds are naturally drawn to. 


And so, we resist the call to rest and expect ourselves to function at the same capacity we do in the seasons of more light and energy.


We push and force and expect the energy to stay the same and get frustrated and discouraged when it isn’t. 


But what if we could do both? 


If goals and resolutions feel hard right now, it might be because it is. 


Because of the lack of light, your body and mind require rest and rejuvenation, just like the trees. 


And so, it’s fascinating to me that we choose January 1st to set goals.


Our motivation is naturally low due to the dark winter months.


Why not set goals in April when we have more sun, more energy, and more motivation?


If setting and achieving goals at the beginning of the year works for you, great! 


But if not, know that it’s made up.


If it doesn't work for you, don’t feel bad about yourself just find what does.


You get to decide. 


You have a brilliant brain that can help you accomplish your dreams and desires, but you must learn to work with it and ask the right questions. 


Instead of asking, what’s wrong with me? How about, what would work better for me? 


Doing both looks like;


Being responsible with work AND giving yourself permission to rest more. 


Adjusting your expectations and not making it mean anything is wrong. 


Finding solutions to do what needs to be done from peace and ease. 


Saying no to extracurriculars that you don’t want to do.


Going to bed earlier or taking naps if possible.


Use a sunlamp for light therapy in the morning.


Take your vitamin D and B complex - both help with energy.


Find ways to move your body that feel nourishing rather than punishing.  


And most importantly, teach your brain to work for you by changing your story about winter.


There is still beauty all around; it’s just different, and you will find it if you direct your brain to look for it. 


It’s okay to slow down, be present, savor, and rest. 


Just like nature, we accomplish so much more when we do. 


Let’s honor the purpose of winter and work WITH it.


“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” — John Steinbeck

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