Preparing for Times of Rest and Retreat

“Almost everything will start working again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott

Preparing for Times of Rest and Retreat

“Almost everything will start working again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott


Summer turns to fall and then to winter. Children grow up, and elders pass away. Friends come and go. Who we are changes from moment to moment. All around us, life is an ongoing cycle of highs and lows, dark and light. Nature itself cycles through growth, bounty, release and dormancy, without resistance, so why can’t we?


We may not resist putting on a heavy coat to endure the cold, but most of us expect that we will have as much energy, work as many hours and be as productive as we are in the rest of the year. We push and struggle, resisting the desire to rest, retreat and regroup.


How can we successfully endure and even savor times of low energy and reduced productivity that winter often brings? Here are a few ideas.


Nature doesn’t resist winter. It not only surrenders, it prepares for it. Birds migrate to warmer climes. Trees shed their leaves and insulate their cells. Even in the dead of winter, the biomass in the soil is undergoing important transformations that support plant life in the spring. Reflect and discover your preferred ways to prepare to have less energy. Let go of things you don’t need, both tangible and emotional. Stockpile things you’ll need more of. Put aside stressful projects.

Rest more

Low energy can stress our bodies even more than cold weather can. A quick strategy to rejuvenate is simply to rest more. Allow yourself more sleep. Take longer breaks throughout the day, or move your body at a slower pace. Engage in gentle activities like meditation or journaling. Be gentle with your energy.

Change your schedule.

Many of us have rigid schedules throughout the year and struggle to maintain a constant level of work. But it is slowing down at times that stirs creative energy. Consider how you can change your schedule to allow for a slower pace. Set aside time for unproductive or inactive periods in your week and reflect on the new ideas that creativity brings.

Indulge in winter routines and rituals.

One of the functions of rituals and routines, both religious and non-religious, is to add meaningful transitions to our lives throughout the year. Reflect on which rituals and routines feel most nourishing to you, add them to your week and give yourself permission to enjoy them.

Be in nature.

Nature has a healing and uplifting effect on our energy. Getting out into nature can help relieve the anxiety that many people feel during down times. Even a simple 15-minute walk can boost your mood. This has been scientifically proven.

Reflect and savor.

Winters are not, in fact, periods of death and darkness, they represent a fundamental part of the life cycle. They can help us develop self awareness. Reflecting on the role down times play in your life, and savoring what they bring can help not only endure them but to embrace them. 

Nature prepares for winter, because without this preparation it’s difficult to survive and grow in the spring. We too can prepare for times of winter in our own lives. 


Desde SÜMASET en todos nuestros proyectos estamos convencidos y comprometidos en acciones que aporten bienestar social, organizacional, personal y educativo (consulta en nuestro apartado  ¿QUÉ HACEMOS POR TÍ?)

Emily Felt


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