I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if your energy has been low lately, you’re not alone.
Up here in the northern tip of Minnesota, we’re finishing yet another month of freezing in below-average temperatures and being buried in feet of snow. The only vitamin D I’ve been getting is from supplements, and it’s even been too cold for my husky to go on our walks in the woods together.
Even if you don’t live in as extreme of a climate as I do, I know many of us are feeling the blues of winter. And for us creative types, the blues of winter can bring about a slump in our creative lives as well as our personal lives.
As a writer with perfectionistic tendencies, I used to chalk up writing slumps to something I did wrong: maybe I pushed too hard or set too-ambitious goals or started doubting myself too much.
And while those things can certainly happen, I’ve also been on a path of learning to become more integrated with my body and with the physical world around me. And as I’ve started down that path, I’ve come to realize that both my slumps and my times of flourishing have seasonal patterns.
If you think about it, it makes some sense: humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, but we’ve only been working in a post-industrial, around-the-clock world for about 200 years. As much as our modern infrastructure and technology make us feel like we’ve moved beyond nature, the truth is that we are not separate from the world around us.
Our bodies have natural daily, monthly, and yearly rhythms, and we can either push against them or learn to use them to our advantage.
For me, autumn usually brings a burst of energy and new ideas, while winter gives me the quiet and calm I need to sit down and make massive strides in my work. But I know plenty of people who are just the opposite, and for whom winter is a time of low energy while spring and summer is when their creative work blossoms.
There’s no right or wrong way for your energy to fluctuate, but it is so helpful to become more tuned into yourself and your body, and to realize how your body’s normal rhythms affect your creative work. Often we’ll find that we’re going against what they want, and we start pushing hard when they’re telling us to slow down.
So today I want to give you the reminder to be compassionate with yourself, and to remember that if you’re in a creative slump this winter, it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Your body is a person, and sometimes he, she, or they is just calling out for more love in dark times.
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