This time of year always does something to me.
There’s an excitement in the air: the holiday spirit and twinkle lights and family time and anticipation of saying goodbye to what has been and being open to what’s to come.
But there’s also a flip-side.
While part of me longs to celebrate and be festive and close the year on a high of productivity and accomplishments and beautiful memories, a bigger part of me wants nothing more than to stop and rest.
To give in to the cold and the darkness.
To literally crawl under the blankets and block the world out.
But it’s difficult to make that separation, especially when so much of this time of year is about connection and coming together.
So I find myself giving in to the busyness and the overindulgence. I work while feeling sluggish and, at times, unmotivated. I eat more and notice myself moving less. I make a list of things I want to accomplish before the new year and then feel disappointed when I don’t even glance at the list on my day off.
On top of it all, I feel a lingering sadness. An underlying grumpiness. Honestly, I feel everything.
We’ve all been there…lost and drowning in burnout. Trying to claw our way out, even on the days when all we want to do is throw on our ratty old sweatpants and lay on the couch half-watching Hallmark Christmas movies and half-scrolling on our phone.
And there’s nothing wrong with rest, with slowing down, as long as it’s coming from a place of awareness, from a place of knowing ourselves and what we truly need.
Because there’s a difference between stillness and distraction.
When your body and soul are tired, when you long to pull yourself back from burnout, read these words from Pema Chödrön:
“Well-being of body is like a mountain.
A lot happens on a mountain. It hails, and the winds come up, and it rains and snows. The sun gets very hot, clouds cross over, animals sh*t and piss on the mountain, and so do people. People leave their trash, and other people clean it up.
Many things come and go on this mountain, but it just sits there.
When we’ve seen ourselves completely, there’s a stillness of body that is like a mountain. We no longer get jumpy and have to scratch our noses, pull our ears, punch somebody, go running from the room, or drink ourselves into oblivion.
A thoroughly good relationship with ourselves results in being still, which doesn’t mean we don’t run and jump and dance about. It means there’s no compulsiveness. We don’t overwork, overeat, oversmoke, overseduce.
In short, we begin to stop causing harm.”
~ Pema Chödrön