“The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.” — Gary Zukav
The Winter Solstice may be the shortest and darkest day of the year that leaves many of us wishing for the fast arrival of spring, but we shouldn’t be too quick to mentally check ourselves out of one of the four very important seasons. Those of us who spend all winter wishing for warmer weather miss out on the powerful spiritual significance this time of year brings us.
Many spiritual traditions recognize the Winter Solstice as the time that marks the rebirth of the sun. The trees have finished shedding their leaves, wildlife species have entered hibernation or have migrated elsewhere, and the frost has put everything to sleep — but as the sun slowly regains its light again, Mother Nature is quietly working on nurturing her earthly gifts in preparation for the spring.
Winter is not just a time to do nothing more than sleep the season away — it’s a time to prepare for the renewal and rebirth of our own spirits. To help foster this, here are 10 practices worth investing your time and energy in over the next few cold, dark winter months.
Give yourself permission to slow right down in all the busy, hectic areas of your life that require high levels of energy. Now is the time to conserve and regenerate.
Practice spending early mornings, dark evenings, or anytime you like in silence to help ground yourself and focus your awareness inward. Here’s how to make time for silence.
Focus on Self Care
Nourishing your mind and body will propel you toward the type of growth you want to embody and experience this coming spring. Relax, make some tea, read a good book, take a hot bath, and do the all the things that help calm and rejuvenate you.
Meditating is a wonderful way to sift out all the noise from the outside world so you can get deeply in touch with your intuition — your deepest self. Set a goal to meditate for at least 20 minutes at the same time each day.
It’s natural to feel as if you want to reflect back on how the year has unfolded for you. Take some extra time to ponder everything — both the good and the not so good.
Spend more time on looking thoughtfully at the past year’s events and the present version of yourself to help you unlock new meaning. It will help serve your rebirth.
Both reflection and contemplation can be enhanced by getting it out on paper. Try writing about your thoughts and feelings as you do these practices.
All of the inward-focused work that you do (meditation, reflection, contemplation, etc.) will likely reveal some things to you that need to be released as you move forward. This winter, practice letting go of what won’t serve you in the spring.
Letting go of the old makes room for the new. Setting new intentions can also help make some of the emotional pain of letting go feel a little less painful.
You don’t have to know all the details and you don’t have to get it all figured out before you do it, but it’s important to start planning out what you need to do to become the best version of yourself that you know you want to be. Get curious, embrace learning, and follow what your heart tells you is right.
Even just making one or two of the above practices a regular habit throughout the whole winter will help set you up for a magnificent sense of rebirth in the spring. You deserve it!