The December Busy is upon us it seems… But what if we challenged the construct of the pre-Christmas / holiday season as necessarily jam-packed and hard on our bodies? What if there was a way of partaking in festive fun without burnout, or nausea from Roman-style gorging, or succumbing to the flu?
There is a certain defeatism and throwing of hands up in the air when it comes to the discourse around the madness that descends for many of us around this time of year. Be it year-end work deadlines, family events, or social imperatives to squeeze in a final drink (before we all fall off the face of the earth?), many people power through December’s intensity in survival mode, with the promise of January inertia at the end of the tunnel.
People get sick, not because there are more germs knocking around than usual, but because they are out of sync with the natural order of things, and their immune systems take a battering. But actually, if we can tune in to ourselves and our needs more, and connect to the bigger picture of winter’s place among the seasons, a different way is possible.
Despite all our cleverness and progress and productivity as bipeds, we remain embodied creatures with core needs that must be met for us to survive and thrive. Many people know the high price to be paid from burning the candle at both ends. The animals, on the other hand, have it sussed: winter is a time for hibernation, and they make no apologies for it. Creatures instinctively know that winter is a time for extended snoozing and rest and recovery after the hard work of autumn. Among nature’s cycles, it is a more introverted or Yin season of retreat, to store up the energy required in order to burst forth into a more extroverted and Yang spring time.
If we can align ourselves more with this natural order of things, and find practical ways to rest and resource ourselves amidst the December Busy, we can still thrive and meet the modern-day increased activity of the season, while feeling resourced and able to max out our enjoyment of it. And as a bonus: the more nurturing and restorative your winter is, the more expansive and productive your spring is likely to be.
What does your ideal December look like?
It’s not about being a hermit or a Grinch. It’s being selective and opting in to those activities that genuinely bring seasonal cheer and feel aligned with who you are as a person. It’s doing a quick audit of your commitments and politely but firmly backing out of some of them. Being realistic about your energy levels, factoring in recovery time and plotting restorative pauses or activities into your schedule.
Your personal December Thriving Toolkit might also include some handy stock ‘RSVP NO’ phrases that you can pull out, to avoid feeling pressured into attending events that fill you with seasonal dread. Or it might involve being realistic about your work schedule and postponing any non-essential work outputs until January, so you can end the year on a high of achievement, rather than plagued by the anxiety or stress of lots of undone to-dos on your list.
What does your ideal month of December look like? Take some time to shape it now, if you haven’t already, or the December Busy might shape it for you!