Contrary to popular belief, animals don’t actually sleep all winter. But they do rest to conserve their energy for the year ahead. How have humans, as terrestrial animals, strayed so far from our primitive instincts? Why don’t we have a collective period of rest during the winter months to relax and restore our precious energy?
Of course, before COVID, we would have said that our modern world couldn’t shut down for three months. We still have jobs to do and responsibilities to tend to. However, we can control how we spend our free time, and what changes are necessary to consciously slow down. We can learn to flow with the natural cycles, and shift our priorities with the seasons. When the sun provides us with a powerful external energy source in the summer, it feels easier to maintain a consistent level of productivity. When the cold and dark winter months approach, our bodies tell us to pump the brakes. So listen carefully - the body is smarter than we tend to give credit to.
Ever felt guilty for resting?
If so, you are far from alone. Society has instilled a sense of obligation in us; making us feel lazy if we deviate from productivity. As the new year approaches, it becomes easy to feel pressure to push forward at a greater speed and “outperform” the previous year. Yet after the year of COVID we’ve experienced, we should use the winter as a time to restore and replenish our energy. Resting is not just okay, but vital for our overall health and wellbeing.
Now that you understand why it’s okay to rest, let’s dive into why it’s good for you. Resting the body has profound physiological, psychological, and spiritual advantages. But what exactly are these benefits? Science has some insight.