rest, a new kind of hibernation
“How can we rest in the stark stillness of the season without grasping for a plan or rushing on to the next big thing?”
My fondest winter was when Poet was born. I spent half the season preparing for her birth and the other half basking in her newness; slow fourth trimester days with no plans and lots of rest.This past week has been exhausting and I’ve spent many moments wondering why. Of course, the season has a lot to answer for. Winter requires more sustenance which explains the copious amount of food I’ve been preparing, around the clock, for grumbling bellies. It also helps me make sense of Percy’s sudden desire to feed many, many more times throughout the day (that and the emergence of eye teeth). Winter calls for more rest so regardless of the fact that I’ve been going to bed earlier than usual, I still feel like I need more once I wake.
Regardless of how busy our lives are, how tight our schedule is, nature still dictates how we go about our days and how we feel. Traditionally, winter is the season of hibernation. It calls for us to slow down, curl up, sleep and nourish. It’s important that we do this before the frenzy of spring because if we don’t, we’ll just burn out.
We may not have the traditional four seasons around here but acknowledging they exist and implementing new rhythms to go with them is essential. We’ll be lucky if we get a frost this winter and our days are currently very spring-like but there’s still cold mornings and nights, winter bugs passing through and bodies that need a little nurturing.
I feel that somewhere along the way the idea of rest has become tainted. Like it’s for those that are lazy or uninspired. But no, it’s an essential part of life and perhaps even more pertinent when parenting young, growing, energetic children. Rest time for our children is sacred yet we find it so very hard to prioritise it for ourselves. It’s the constant dilemma – the rest or vacuum, to rest or catch up on emails, to rest or put that washing on.
But listen, it doesn’t take a long time to rest. You may feel like you could sleep for days but perhaps all you need is ten or fifteen minutes lying down with your eyes closed. When I was teaching pre-natal classes I always encouraged my third trimester students to take ten minute rest breaks throughout the day instead of one big afternoon nap that would, in most cases, leave them feeling groggy and lethargic.
Just like hibernation doesn’t mean closing the doors and bunkering down for the season, rest doesn’t mean a two-hour nap every day.
Rest can be ten minutes, once a day, when the baby is sleeping and the kids are watching Play School.
Rest can be lying down, mentally travelling around your body to release tension, and focusing on breathing into your belly.
Rest can be stretching up to the sky before sitting cross legged against the wall, closing your eyes and mentally repeating “let” as you inhale and “go” as you exhale.
Rest can be sipping tea and turning your face to the sun while the kids play in the garden.
Rest can be an early night with chamomile tea and gratitude list…even if the baby may wake within the hour.
Rest can be choosing to read a book over picking up your phone.
Rest can be…