Here we are again, technically still in the middle of Fall but staring down another long northern Winter with its short days, long nights, and chilly temperatures. Let’s be honest - the ideal Autumn full of pumpkin spice everything, sweaters as outerwear, and leaves crunching underfoot is a beautiful but short-lived season in Saskatchewan. Before we even have time to get those family photos in the colourful leaves, a hint of Winter is in the air.
Every year Spring and Summer invite us into hope, new life, work, and growth and we welcome it all with open arms, but for many of us, the first feeling associated with Fall and Winter is one of dread. But what if this year, instead of bracing ourselves for those quick dashes between vehicle and home and a likely case of the winter blues, we chose to embrace the invitation of this season – an invitation to rest.
Nature rests every year and it seems good and right to us. Of course, fields and gardens need rest! Of course, animals will hibernate! But along the way we’ve bought into the idea that people should be perpetually productive. This expectation is unreasonable at its best and unhealthy at its worst. Just like the natural world requires time to regroup and repair, so do people. Maybe even more so.
Rest doesn’t mean we do nothing for months on end, but it does mean that we can approach our responsibilities with a perspective of calm. Yes, we need to go to work and school; no, we cannot neglect our obligations. But what we can do is allow space in our days to enjoy the quiet and slowness that this season affords us. Here are some areas where simple adjustments can encourage feelings of coziness and rest.
Darker days can feel difficult but making a few adjustments inside our homes can create a cozy atmosphere. For starters, keep your blinds open and capitalize on those daylight hours when the sun is shining! When the dark comes, make use of lamps and avoid overhead lights. Choosing lightbulbs with warm light instead of cool also creates a cozy atmosphere. And don’t forget about other forms of light such as candles and small twinkle lights; they are a simple and inexpensive way to add warmth to your surroundings.
Food & Drink
Choose foods that are nourishing and take time to make. And spend time eating – no need to rush. ‘Tis the season of comfort food, so break out that slow cooker and let it do the work while you’re away from the house. Maybe swap recipes with friends or ask a family member for that stew recipe you love so much. Try your hand at making bone broth from scratch and use it in soups and other recipes or drink it alone. Take some time to curl up on the couch with a mug of tea, hot chocolate, or apple cider. There is nothing quite like a warm drink on a cold night.
Grab a board game or deck of cards and have people over. Better yet, invite those friends over for food and games and warm drinks. Light the candles too. Rest doesn’t have to be solitary, and time spent with people we love can leave us feeling calm and refreshed. If you’d rather relax alone, a good book is always a solid option. Maybe listening to a podcast while working on that impossible puzzle or your latest crochet project is more your speed. Whatever your choice, make space for cozy leisure in your life.
Not all of us love braving -30 temps, but we can all try to spend at least a few minutes outside on milder days. Even just a walk around the block can clear the cobwebs from your head and get the blood flowing. Spending time in nature rests our brains, can speed up healing, releases endorphins, and benefits us in many other ways. So, bundle up and get outside when you can. Take the kids to the sled hill, grab a warm drink and go for a walk with a friend, or make use of your backyard firepit. Visiting around the campfire shouldn’t be relegated to the summer months only. And when you do come back inside, hopefully you have good food, warm drinks, and twinkling lights to welcome you.
These are just some of the ways we can accept the invitation to rest and slow down during the coming months and make our lives cozier. If you find yourself curled up on the couch surrounded by twinkle lights, your favourite mug in hand, and music playing in the background and you have this creeping feeling that you should be “doing something”, remind yourself that rest is not idleness. Rest is actually productive, and your body, spirit, and mind will thank you for it.