Winter seems to invoke two very different reactions in the Australian population. One half rejoices in the relief that the cooler weather brings. The other half whinges about the lack of day light and shivers with the first breath of cool air. I, despite of been brought up in the Northern hemisphere, belong to the second group. Not a huge fan of winter, be it Finnish or Australian.
However, in the recent years I have started to ponder the meaning, the blessing, of Winter.
THE NORDIC WAY OF WINTER
Looking at it from my Finnish perspective, Winter has historically been the time for hibernation and rest. Autumn jobs, like harvesting, picking, foraging, preserving, wood chopping are (or should be) done by the time the first snow hits the ground. One hopes that the supplies will last all the way till Spring. And then, during the long cold months, one rests. The shorter days are a perfect excuse to cozy up, potter indoors and slow down the pace.
This is not of course the way of the modern world. Warmth comes from the electric heaters and food from supermarkets. Perhaps Australian winters aren’t dark or harsh enough (says the Finnish girl, you may kindly disagree!) to really stop us in our tracks, and force us to rest.
But maybe we still should.
In fact I really think we should.
SLOWING DOWN FOR A REASON
No animal, plant or human can be ‘on the go’ all the time. We all go through cycles of activity and inactivity, action and rest. But in a society where our self-worth seems to be tightly linked to productivity and being busy, there is literally no time to rest. Unless we give ourselves that break.
And Winter just seems to be Nature’s genius way of handing us this chance on a plate.
So why not use it for replenishing and restoring our energy? Why not go to bed earlier, since it’s dark anyway? Why not reduce the outings and snuggle up on the couch, since that’s what you *really* felt like doing? Or go for a walk in the brisk air and have a hot bath afterwards? Read books instead of scrolling. Swap salads to a steaming bowl of soup.
It is a beautiful thing to honour the pace of Nature. To bless the cold and the dark, and use it for nourishing the body and soul.
Riina Kosonen is a Finnish-born massage and craniosacral therapist based in Newcastle, Australia. She is passionate about educating her clients on the importance of self-care and loving ourselves to great health. You can read more about Riina here and follow her selfcare journey on instagram.