Naptime in the Winter (In the Cards)

The astonishing snowstorm this weekend in Newfoundland has brought back memories of significant snowfalls I’ve experienced, during which the only means of getting around were small paths carved out of the snow. I think that if, upon opening my front door, I was met with a wall of snow, I’d be tempted to retreat inward (and perhaps to chill some beverages in the natural refrigerator). The theme of an inward-looking viewpoint speaks to me as tied to winter. Deep inner work is, to me, the heart of the winter season, alongside an invitation to a slower and more gentle approach to self-care. I am attempting to allow myself to actually rest, rather than to opine the importance of it while ignoring my needs.

I tend to give myself enough time to sleep at night, so I don’t nap on a regular basis. One of the few times I will physically lie down during the day is if I’m sick. This weekend, the weather where I live has turned bitterly cold and I am still not feeling well. In particular, I find my energy flags by mid-afternoon. I purchased the best robe I’ve ever owned in my life this winter, and have been curling up in bed in my spare room with my pup while wearing it.

It may seem obvious to those who are more able to still themselves, but it has felt like the height of luxury to be able to be warm, cozy and at peace without having to watch the time or jump up to accomplish the next task. I’m a good sitter, in that I do lounge around quite often, but there is a distinct difference to me between being at rest and fully unwinding, as I do not flirt with sleep when I watch TV or sit on my couch. I find myself wondering if I would be more productive if I completely stopped what I was doing and napped on occasion, rather than going into a halfway-state of resting my body without resting my mind.

Even in the time it has taken me to write this post, worries about being lazy and unhealthy are already creeping at the edges of my mind. I’ve been sick for a week and a half and I still cannot accept that my body needs care and cannot always go at one hundred percent. Part of my mission statement for this year involves owning my limitations. My physical constraints have always been a primary source of frustration and struggle for me, so I hope I can allow myself rest in the form of napping when I need to as a simple reflection of my desire for self-care and comfort. Do you nap? If so, is it a part of your self-care routine? If not, do feelings of guilt related to productivity or other self-judgments hold you back from doing so? How can you be kind to yourself today?

A Cozy Spot (Today’s Daily Remembrance)

My Daily Remembrance cards contain several prompts related to “what is at the intersection of…” which I’ve been skipping over as the questions feel too weighty and frankly confusing (even though I was the one who created them!). Today’s draw, however, was about the confluence of excitement and boredom, which I feel up for tackling. The answer, as my first pass, would be comfort and a safe coziness.

Excitement carries the potential for challenge and risk, which I tend to shy away from as much as possible. I rely on social interaction as my primary source of excitement, but it tends to quickly escalate into feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated. I have, however, had a few times in recent memory where things felt too static and that there was too little excitement.

Boredom comes for me also in many social settings; once I pass a certain point of too much activity happening around me, my brain goes into a lower gear and I feel immensely underwhelmed and disinterested in connection. Music pumping, lots of physical movement in a crowded space or many people all talking at once leads me to check out.

Even though I need little sensory information coming at me in order to feel satiated, I require a constant stream of mental engagement. I want to be learning something new and challenging my perception of the world as deeply as I can every day. My capacity to take in this type of stimulation–the intellectual/perception kind–is much higher than my external-stimuli processing one.

My dream, then, I suppose, would be a place where I could engage in both internal and external conversations, through writing, art and verbal communication, in a laid-back, soothing environment. Coffee-shops, especially large ones with lots of furniture choices, fit me perfectly and are where I’ve had some of my best fits in terms of high mental stimulation/low sensory input environments. Where I live now is unfortunately rather bereft of such places, and instead most of the art and well-being focused events are centered around alcohol (painting + wine, yoga + beer, etc.).

I have some down-time coming up in the next few weeks for the holidays, and I need to make visiting coffee-shops a priority. The coziness, the blending of not too much excitement with not too boring, should be nice. I also find a similar environment in art shops and museums. What places in your life do you find fit your need for stimulation best? Are you an adrenaline-seeker or low-key? Do you require more intellectual or sensory input to feel filled up?