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It’s winter, and everyone close to me (including my best faraway friends) is feeling sort of stuck. The feeling of “stuck-ness” hit me around Thanksgiving, and I’m still in the thick of it. So much so, in fact, that it took me a while to recognize it for what it is: a winter slump.
So, I thought it might be a good time to share my best tip for beating the winter (or anytime) doldrums, in case you too are feeling mired in quicksand right about now.
Slump into it.
It’s sort of like the homeopathic principle that like cures like: Slumping into a slump is the only cure. Just embrace it for now.
Fighting a slump is like trying to struggle out of the quicksand in an old-timey western. The harder you fight it, the faster you sink. I have no experience with quicksand in real life, but I do have tons of experience with winter slumps. And in my expert opinion, trying to resist a winter slump is just an invitation to feel bad about yourself for not getting stuff done. If you choose to resist it, once you finally stop struggling, you’ll still be in a slump. But you’ll be so frustrated and disappointed in yourself, you won’t even be able to relax and enjoy it.
It’s Useless to Resist a Slump
Now is the time of year to give yourself the grace to put big projects on hold if you don’t have the energy for them. Get more sleep. Eat well and take care of your body. All the plants and animals are doing it; why should humans ignore nature’s cues?
Give yourself permission to hibernate, like the cute, cuddly creature or beautiful flowering tree you are. Bears don’t make New Year’s resolutions. They have enough sense to know there’s nothing going on in January. Except, perhaps, for the Grammy Awards, but you don’t have to leave the house to watch those. See, I had to find a way to bring up the Grammys because The Secret Sisters‘ album, You Don’t Own Me Anymore, was nominated for Best Folk Album, and if you haven’t already heard it, I think you will LOVE it. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen!
Ideas for the Restless Slump-er
If you’re too restless to relax, try one of these low-effort yet comforting activities:
- Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read (right now I’m listening to Martha Beck’s Steering By Starlight, and I can’t recommend it enough).
- Shake the dust off a forgotten knitting project or pick up a new one (visit Tiny Owl Knits for inspiration).
- Sew a few stray buttons back on, fix a hole or remove a stain from a favorite article of clothing, or hem something.
- Doodle, with no intention that your doodle should be anything but a doodle.
- Stare out the window until you either notice something you’ve never seen before, or completely lose yourself in thought. Doesn’t this almost feel like a foreign concept in the age of smartphones?
- Rearrange something in your living space.
- Daydream about the kind of garden you want to have (right now I am fascinated by the Garden Tower – I’m not an affiliate or anything, I just think it’s the coolest thing ever).
- Write down a few thoughts about how you feel, whether it’s in a journal or on a piece of paper you will then turn into a paper airplane.
Activities like these will make you feel just a little bit better in the present moment, which will make you feel just a little bit better about everything in general. When I finally got around to writing down a few notes about my feeling of stuck-ness, it turned into this blog post, which allowed me to feel better and, at least for the moment, less stuck.
The Slump Solution
Your brain, your body, your soul and your spirit all need a real break sometimes. If that’s the message you’re getting from your self, don’t fight it; join it. Embracing that slump for a little while is the best way to get it out of your system. It’s not being lazy; it’s trusting your intuition to steer you.
You’ll probably start feeling more motivated and inspired soon, as the days start to get longer and the weather warms up. Because the only thing that’s certain in this life is change, you can bet that it’s around the corner. For now, just focus on taking extra special care of you!
This was grand, thank you! I’m particularly happy you pointed out window-staring. I’ve recently re-discovered the application of this grand activity during phone conversations, but am excited to appreciate it without accoutrement. Such versatility! I’ve also allowed myself a binge-watch here and there and also VERY long walks while listening to audiobooks or what have you.
Cheers to the slump!