The clocks went back three weeks ago, so we are now well and truly in the winter season…
Every year, when this happens, I say to my friends something along the lines of ‘I wish they didn’t go back. I’d rather have darker mornings, and know that daylight is imminent, rather than darker evenings, and know that there’s no more light for the rest of the day’.
And every year, most of my friends express similar versions of this opinion.
I know the reason that we flip between BST (British Summer Time) and GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) was once (still is?) for the farmers. I’ve also heard it’s to prevent children having to travel to school in the dark, which would happen towards the end of each Christmas term.
But over the past few years, despite my annual autumnal assertion that I’m against the big switch, I’ve learned to not just accept it, but also to embrace it. In the interests of hibernation.
Lots of wonderful creatures (including two of my favourites, frogs and hedgehogs) hibernate. Why should I not want to be like them? In my own limited, part-time way, of course.
It’s not about going to sleep for the winter. But it is about hunkering down and going with the flow. I’ve started getting into bed earlier – currently about 9.30pm – to minimise being up and about when it’s dark. I might go to sleep around ten.
I can then wake naturally around six. And although it’s still not light, I can enjoy watching the darkness slowly fade – as I sit in bed with the curtains partially open, or as I potter around making a cup of tea – and the light gently and softly creep into view. A beautiful way to start the day.
Contrast that with staying up till 11.30pm and waking at 7.30am when it’s already light. I’d feel as if I’d missed part of the day already. Even though the time difference between scenarios A and B isn’t huge, it makes a huge difference to my spirit and to my soul.
I’m more in tune with the natural rhythms of daylight and darkness – the circadian rhythms that we all possess but often ignore. And that’s how I plan to enjoy the winter months. Accept, then embrace.
I try to follow Buddhist teachings (which I shall no doubt say more about in my future journals!) and acceptance is a big one. It simply allows for a more peaceful way of life, which is what most of us would surely prefer. This doesn’t necessarily mean being passive or giving in. In fact, it often involves action…but action that allows for a flow state, rather than trying to swim against the tide.
Being passive is sometimes called for too. Simply recognising the truth of the reality around us and accepting that we can’t control it (which of course we can’t when it comes to how many daylight hours we are presented with).
Then going with it – which may require some action – to see how you can make it work for you. Changing what IS within your control, such as adjusting your waking / sleeping pattern. Gently, patiently, without fuss or fear. A specific example of how to approach life in general, perhaps?
It’s not easy to do this all the time. As with many things in life, practice and persistence are key. So let’s enjoy the journey itself, have fun trying, and take heart from our little wins along the way!
Welcome to winter, everyone.
I’m Charlotte and I’m here to provide a few minutes of distraction, discussion, and hopefully warmth and wit to accompany you during the winter months.
I’m a longtime Pilates teacher and fitness coach, as well as a voiceover artist. I have an interest in meditation, mindfulness and yoga – and I attend retreats, both online and in person.
I have a YouTube channel – Charlotte Russell Wellbeing, which I’d love you to visit whenever you have time! You’ll find lots of short workouts, including pilates, chairobics and various body conditioning sessions, as well as guided meditations, and fitness and wellbeing advice.
I have two young adult children who are naturally busy with their own lives. I’m a keen wild swimmer and have taught myself to do butterfly! I am also a keen football fan. I value friendship, authenticity, nature and peace. (This is beginning to read like a job application form. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you would hire me if it were up to you!)
I hope you’ve enjoyed my first Bath House journal. I hope these articles contribute to your wellbeing in some way, however small, this wintertime.
Thank you for having me! Charlotte