Soulful Sundays: Solstice Week

Hey All,

I hope everyone is having a great first week of Winter. I just got back from a long, much-needed vacation in the woods and have been feeling an odd sense of restlessness that I want to talk with everyone about.

Vacation has a way of exposing the quiet places in my life, the areas that busy-ness usually obscures in its never-ceasing insistence on getting things done. While I am a fan of being as productive as possible, I am reminded during this slower time to ask more questions, like, 'what or who is my busy-ness in service to?' In other words, what am I working towards? What use is it if you 'gain the world and lose your soul?'

In response to this restlessness, I have been practicing more patience. I take a moment, sometimes 10-20 minutes, and just sit with what is going on and embrace fully the task I am engaged in. Whether that is chopping vegetables for dinner, sitting on the couch with my family, or quietly lying in bed before I get up. I just enjoy the moment as it is.

All this being said, inside of stillness are the seeds of activity. Human minds are designed to think, to plan, and to dream, and that's just what they will do. We can harness this power in creative ways if we want to. For me, this looks like changing my most routinized behaviors so that I don't burn out in the long run. In exercise science, this is called a 'transition period' in which the athlete still stays active and goes to the gym, but does a completely different set of movements for a week or two. This helps to reset the body and mind and revitalize them for the next intensive season.

What this looks like for me practically is going back to some of the basic barbell motions and working high volume sets. It also looks like sleeping longer, not checking my phone/computer as frequently, eating different foods, and reading more. These are all little ways to bring back some variation and get me out of any ruts that I may or may not have seen.

Implicit in this transition period is a refocus towards work when the New Year begins. For this, my strategy is to focus on the components of my goals for 2021 and design a routine that builds on itself, each step more complex than the previous, until the goal is reached. This is called progressive overload. It is slow but impressive in its power to move us forward. Take on just what you can chew--no more, no less.

How is everyone else handling the slowing down of the Winter season? What new patterns have you discovered about yourself? What are your goals for next year?

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