The shortest day of the year is here. To be fair it’s the day where daylight is at its nadir. It’s not like this day is not 24 hours long…it is. But the dark outweighs the light. (Especially when there will be heavy rain for most, if not ALL of the day.)
Tomorrow that changes…the light begins to have the upper hand. And it will continue until June 21st when it starts the downward climb again.
Though I am a big fan of dark nights (I need more darkness especially when I want to sleep at night, but that’s a whole other blog post), I NEED light in my life. One of my great joys is sitting next to a giant window as I work. It makes me feel better to look out and see the world and the light. I know that I feel more tired during the winter months when it is dark. In the summer when the sun is still on the horizon at 7 or 8 at night, I’m fine, but when I drive home in the dark at 5 p.m. in the winter, I feel like I just want to go home and go to bed. It is more of an effort to do anything after work when there is no light.
When the nights/darkness is long is when we need to find the light for ourselves. It is when we NEED to care for ourselves. Self-care, no matter who you are or what your circumstances, is NOT self-indulgent. It is wise. As human beings we need to take time to care for ourselves no matter what the situation may be; we can’t help anyone else or even BE if we are not able to focus and/or “be our best self.” (Or the best self that you can be at the time!)
This was abundantly obvious to me earlier this week. Circumstances were stressing me out. I was overly emotional. Things that were out of my control were filling my head and my heart with “black gunk.” While I was sitting at my desk, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. (I could.) Nothing was physically impeding me; I wasn’t ill. But all this “stuff” was weighing me down. I couldn’t get out of my dark place.
As I was sitting there I thought to myself how stupid I was. I have always “preached” about caring for yourself and what you can do to help yourself and yet I wasn’t following my own advice. I needed something to relax and renew my spirit. The light went off in my head; I needed help.
My choice was to make an appointment with a friend who offers reiki and restorative yoga. I KNEW this was something I NEEDED and something that would help me. And from past experiences I knew that this would ease my stress and lift my spirits. It WAS what I needed. (To pay it forward, if you are in the northern NJ area and are of the mind to give it a try, here is a link to her practice.)
Now I am NOT trying to push anything on anybody. What works for me, may not be your cup of tea. (Honestly, tea is not my cup of tea! Many people love it and find it comforting; I find it: YUCK!) What we ALL need is to find and recognize what works for us. Whatever it may be…simple or complex…take the time to do your own self-care. Allow yourself to relax and renew. Find YOUR light; then you will be able to focus and do whatever it is you need to do.
This season find your light and once you have, let it shine through the darkness!
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For five years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog.