Long Nights and Cold, Snowy Days: Ending the Year in Relaxation and Rest

For me, the time between Christmas and new years has always been a time of hunkering down, relaxing, breathing, preparing to release the old and embrace the new.

From high school on, this has been my time to pause. In high school, I travelled to Pittsburg Central Catholic High School with the Urbana High speech team to compete in their Thanksgiving classic. In college I balanced speech tournaments and final exam prep, often right up until Christmas. As a professor, I was typically up to my eyeballs in grading until just before Christmas.

So, I developed a pattern of doing as little as possible between Christmas and the new year. Where the rush to the holidays was always a focus on the future and getting things done, the time between Christmas and the new year is about being fully in the present, breathing, resting, relaxing, living in and enjoying the moment. I visit lovely places, like botanical gardens, watch first run movies in theaters, walk every day, have a relaxed conversation with a friend over a cup of coffee. One of my favorite things during this time is to spend the whole day with friends, making breakfast together, hanging out all day and making fabulous dinners together. We listen to music. We dance. We laugh. We enjoy being together.

My focus during this time is on the present. My pattern slows. Rather than rushing, I move more slowly. Long nights and cold snowy days facilitate this calm and rest. The world pauses. So I pause.

I wish you pause, dear readers. I wish you rest as 2022 winds down. As my friend Mel put it, “Experience the peacefulness of “now”.

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