It’s winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere–the longest night of the year. Tomorrow, and each day after, the light returns, one extra moment at a time.
I’ve never been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, but my brain and body are deeply sensitive to light. Every fall, as the days get shorter, it gets harder to get out of bed in the morning – my alarm goes off in pitch darkness and my brain growls, “Go back to sleep, it is NIGHT TIME.” I’ve been so tired in the evenings, I’ve been going to bed at 8PM. For me, winter solstice – the astronomical pivot-point between dark and light – is the real New Year’s Eve.
This year, I’m even happier solstice has arrived than usual. Because the last few years have felt like one never-ending longest night, an endless slog through darkness, all-too rarely punctuated by joy. This year, even treasured holiday rituals feel like they’re going to take more spoons than I’ve got to spend.
It’s been a lot, ya’ll. And I’m tired.
If you’re tired, too, here’s my gift to you: permission not to:
join the crowds of holiday shoppers;
bake six kinds of cookies to swap with all your friends;
write an upbeat holiday newsletter when you don’t actually feel upbeat;
flog yourself with aggressively cheerful holiday music and one more Hallmark Christmas Movie.
Instead, give yourself permission:
to say no;
to stay home;
to break from tradition;
to feel what you feel, no matter how messy or “seasonally inappropriate”;
to hibernate while you await the coming of the light.
Be gentle with yourself this year, and we’ll see each other on the other side.