In today’s busyness, we rarely make proper time for rest. Even during weekends, there is shopping to be done, social engagements to attend, and it seems that the to-do list just never ends. We have inevitably become human-doings instead of human-beings. We do, do do, instead of just being. And that is exactly why I think we are sometimes forced into seasons of rest, as we will rarely choose this season for ourselves. There is a purpose to winter, and of all the seasons, it is probably the most important one that sets you up to be successful in the others.
When I talk about a winter season, what exactly do I mean? It is a season in your life when your inner being grows cold, you don’t experience growth in any area of your life, you might wonder about your purpose and the road you are on, you might feel alone and lose your faith, and it feels like nothing good is happening.
Here are a few key thoughts that I have held on to during winter seasons in my own life, which I believe will help you too, especially when things get really hard.
A Time for Rest
Just like nature rests in winter, so we also need to rest during our winter season. No growth happens in winter because the cold temperatures slow down metabolism in plants. This allows plants to go into a dormant state and it is a survival mechanism to help them gear up for spring and summer. Instead of resisting a winter season – lean into it. Embrace the time of rest, gather your strength, engage in activities that will revitalise you, eat healthy and start cultivating healthy habits.
A Time for Cultivating Discipline
When there are fewer demands on you, it gives you proper time to start cultivating some discipline in your life. Cultivating discipline is sometimes challenging, but if you can become disciplined in every area of your life, you will be better equipped to handle bigger responsibilities in the future. Cultivating discipline also shapes and develops your character, which is essential for withstanding storms that will come during seasons of growth and harvest. You need to get yourself into a new state of thinking and doing things, as part of the preparation for the next season.
A Time to Shake off the Excess
When you cultivate discipline, you also start identifying habits, thinking processes, things, people, situations, etc., in your life that you can (and sometimes should) do without. Plants keep the most basic processing running and also change the way these processes run in order to save energy to aid in surviving the winter. You also need to change the way you do things in order to survive a winter season. It is a great time to look at the excess in your life, and clean out. Similarly to when you clean out old cupboards, or throw out clothing you don’t wear anymore, or chuck away old kitchen appliances or clean out the garage; you need to shake off the excess in your life that will hinder you from moving into the new season. Shovel snow and ice from the driveway of your mind and learn how to actually drive well on the icy roads of life.
A Time for Re-evaluation
During your time of rest, your mind gets time to just be quiet. This is a great opportunity for you to re-evaluate where you are, where you’ve come from, and where you are going. Specifically look for positive things in your life, because this fuels hope in your heart that is necessary to carry you through winter. During a time of re-evaluation, you need to check in with your core values, work on your mindset, count your blessings, nourish your soul, and be patient for the season to come to a close.
A Time for Planning and Preparation
The most important part of winter, besides resting, is planning for what comes next. Winter doesn’t last forever, and if you use the time during this season well, you will pick the fruits in your harvesting season. In your quiet moments, when you are re-evaluating where you are going, start planning for spring (which is the season for planting). During winter, your character will be shaped which will make you a stronger person, ready for the work that comes with planting. But you can’t just start planting, proper planning and preparation is required, and if you do this well during your winter season, when the season changes, you will be ready for it.
A Time not to Compare Yourself with Others
In winter seasons it is so difficult to not compare yourself to others who might be in a harvesting season. Remember, we are all going through our own seasons, and someone who is harvesting is probably gathering and preparing for a winter season. So don’t compare yourself to anyone else during a winter season. Rather focus on what is necessary for you to get through the season stronger and ready for what is to come. Remember – comparison is the thief of joy. So, don’t go there.
Winter might not always be a fun season, but there is definite purpose in going through it. Lean in, don’t resist it, and gather your strength for when the season changes. Take the time to prepare for the new season, seek balance, eat healthy and take care of yourself. Don’t loose hope, there is always a silver lining to every dark cloud. Keep the faith, rest, and prepare for the new season, because it will surely come.
Remember: be the BEST version of yourself.
This post is the second in a series I am currently writing, titled “Seasons”. Keep an eye out for my next post – “Spring: A Season for Planting”.