The concept of “wintering” is often used in reference to the migrations and patterns that wildlife partake in. But, to Katherine May, the author of Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, wintering is "a fallow period in life when you're cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider.”
In her book, the author explores wintering throughout her life, looks at how naturalists observed wintering in animals, and then how she has replicated it in her own life in various ways. For the rest of us, we often ignore the necessity of wintering - denying ourselves the time to rest and look inward at our own stuckness, sadness, and “negative” feelings. May argues, “I think we need to learn to accept and even welcome our winters, because they’re a crucial part of our humanity. Wintering is how wisdom is made, and every time we winter, we grow in resilience and compassion, and we deepen our capacity for joy.”
There is scientific evidence behind this - according to a research article by Ferris Jabr in Scientific American, “Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the University of Southern California and her co-authors argue that downtime is in fact essential to mental processes that affirm our identities, develop our understanding of human behavior and instill an internal code of ethics.”
In essence, taking the time to slow down and recalibrate is essential to being a functional human being in society… So why do we not lean into our own wintering periods?
Today’s society often pushes us towards our limits in terms of productivity, while we avoid the downtime our minds and bodies need. Constant work is unsustainable, and rest and rejuvenation should not be radical, even if the outside world says so.
Here at Flourish Planet, we hope you take part in the natural cycle of life and don’t ignore your need to winter this holiday season. You deserve to support yourself by acknowledging your growth and hard work. Flourish Planet presents Slow Gifting - a way of gifting meaningful, handcrafted items that support artisans and the planet, and patiently waiting for the items to be crafted and delivered to you. You are supporting the artisans behind your gifts, the planet, and the loved ones who have stayed with you through thick and thin.
- https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-downtime/#:~:text=Downtime%20replenishes%20the%20brain's%20stores,stable%20memories%20in%20everyday%20life e