As the calendars change from 2023 to 2024, we find ourselves enveloped in the serene embrace of winter. This season, draped in a quiet blanket of introspection, calls us to navigate its stillness with intention and celebration. Join me in this edition of the Seasonal Living Series as we delve into the unique energy of winter, explore intentional living during this season of quietude, and gather around the firepit for a heartwarming celebration of our favorite moments from the passing year.
As we embrace the introspective beauty of winter, let’s navigate its stillness with intention, nurture our inner selves, and celebrate the warmth of friendship and cherished moments. Welcome to “Winter Reflections”—a journey through the quiet beauty, intentional living, and heartwarming celebrations of the winter season.
The Energy of Winter
As the leaves give way to bare branches, the ground hardens with frost, and our days are the shortest of all, we enter into a season of darkness and introspection. Winter naturally calls us to withdraw from active hustle and spend more time indoors and with ourselves. While we were slowing down in autumn, with winter we’re called to honor stillness.
As I shared in my autumn post, this second half of the year (autumn and winter) have us shifting from an external focus to the internal. While in autumn we reflected on the larger experiences and lessons on the year, winter is retreating within even more with introspection as a common theme.
While it’s easy to think perhaps of a hibernating bear or even that we’re in the “death” phase of the year, both very ample metaphors in their own right, it’s also a time of preparation. We are restful, conserving our energy while nurturing new ideas and seeds we might like to plant come spring. Winter is a wonderful time to not only let go, but to embrace the unknown of what is to come.
Living Intentionally with the Season
As winter settles into our bones, it offers an opportunity to take an intentional step back and inward. Winter provides us with the space to investigate, meditate, and nurture.
- Create a Cozy Home: To be sure, the weight of Winter can feel heavy. It’s not uncommon for us to experience a depressed mood. To create balance in this season, I’m focusing on coziness in my spaces. I’ll definitely be taking notes from the Scandis on hygge at home, as well as thinking of what cozy means to me.
- Reduce Commitments: It is a bit unfair that in the season of introspection we’re often pulled a million directions for holidays. Instead of letting this push against the seasonal energy turn me into the Grinch, we’re looking seriously at our commitments this winter season. Community is vital at all times of the year, but I’m being especially careful of the unnecessary stress I might be putting on myself by trying to match my summer social energy in the winter.
- Nurturing Ideas: Winter’s stillness isn’t aimless, its purposeful. The stillness of nature is making space for rest needed for the spring & summer. While I’ll be slowing down “production” this winter, I’ll be quietly nurturing the little sparks of ideas, projects, and goals to prepare me for the renewing energy of spring.
Celebrating the Season
Hosting celebrations around the equinoxes and solstices has been a delightful way for me to both focus and revel throughout this year-long experiment. In spring, it was a spring-clean swap. For summer, a now annual outdoor hangout. In autumn, a cozy soup swap dinner party. But for winter, I was a bit nervous. The winter solstice usually coincides with our holiday travels, and I felt unsure about how to host a meaningful celebration separate from our usual holiday gatherings.
Yet, as Dr. Ian Malcom so wonderfully pointed out, life finds a way. It just so happens that a majority of our college friends will be in or passing through my hometown around the solstice. Cue opportunity!
I pitched some party ideas to our group chat, and we settled on a theme: ‘Our Favorite Things.’ This idea was sparked by a gifting party on TikTok and modified for our travel and budget needs. Everyone was invited to bring enough duplicates of a ‘favorite thing’ from the year to share with the group. We allowed for a lot of flexibility; it could be a product, a recipe, or a craft—whatever felt indicative of a ‘favorite thing’ for their year.
I love that this theme actually aligns with the seasonal energy of introspection. It requires everyone to reflect on their year, think about what was meaningful, and consider how they can share their favorite part(s) of 2023 with us. As a group that usually only gets the opportunity to gather for major life events, I was beyond excited to host this around my parents’ fire pit (even if I forgot to tell them until after the plans were set, oops!).
As we cocoon ourselves in the cozy embrace of winter, we simultaneously bid farewell to a year-long exploration of seasonal living. Winter’s energy has guided us through introspection, intentional living, and heartwarming celebrations, marking the final chapter of this seasonal journey. Reflecting on the stillness and warmth of winter, we find ourselves at the end of a transformative year.
Embracing the essence of each season has been a rich tapestry of experiences, lessons, and celebrations. As this series concludes, I invite you to carry the spirit of seasonal living forward. Find joy in the simple moments, align your life with the rhythms of nature, and continue nurturing yourself and your relationships.
While the pages of this year-long series turn their final pages, stay tuned for future adventures.