December 21 marks the Winter Solstice in my part of the world. It’s known as the shortest day of the year. The shortest day. Those words could send some people into an anxious, overwhelmed state. This often happens when we worry about not having enough time.
Worrying about time can lead you into a rushed frenzy or a robot-on-skates
approach to your day. Thoughts like “time is running out” or “just get it done” are quickly moving through your head.
There’s a feeling of being under pressure to “make it happen”. You’re often rushing but taking twice as long to do half as much.
We know what happens in the end. Our mind, body and spirit are drained, depleted, on empty.
Nature can teach us a few things about time. She has a rhythm and flow.
Right now, winter is saying, “A short day is a good thing”.
We need days when we do less. Short days. They include more rest and time to regroup. There’s more quiet time, more space for reflection.
Yes, there will be more darkness today. But today also marks the return of the light. The days will grow steadily longer over the next several months.
The trees and plants and earth will use this light in ways that are invisible to us. But in spring and summer, we will find joy in the scents of the flowers and fruits of nature’s labor. Our mouths will water at the taste of juicy, tart, and sweet strawberries.
In fact, people in the Southern Hemisphere are enjoying the Summer Solstice today. At the same time, Nature is teaching us about time, she’s also teaching us about balance.
She reminds us everything is in perfect order. She’s telling us that our parts work in complementary patterns.
You need your short days to get to your long days. After a series of longer days, you need some short days to gather your energy. Nature shows us the benefits of this approach.
If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at Laura Vanderkam’s TED talk about time. She’s done some research interviewing busy women just like you and me. The women in her study kept meticulous notes about how they spent their time. She tells the story of a woman who came home from a late meeting to discover her basement was flooded. Eeeeek!
A flooded basement was not on her schedule. Repairing this issue took 7 hours. These hours had not been accounted for in her daily plan.
Vanderkam points out an important fact about how we spend our time. We will make time for things that are a priority. Priorities win our time.
This is a perfect example of practicing balance. Rather than a 50-50 split or 10% for 10 items split, think of balance as directing our resources to where we need them most.
Attending to our priorities is the essence of balance. It’s crucial in the process of making the most of our energy so that we can bring our best to the time that’s available to us.
Here are a few simple strategies for making friends with time:
Realize that time is not the enemy. It’s a constant flow of possibility to create what you want most in your life. Set your priorities and focus on them.
Be flexible. You’re allowed to reorganize priorities, so they fit together comfortably. Notice how your priorities complement each other.
Nature shows us that our days and nights counterbalance each other. Make a plan that includes some long and short days. Expending energy and building energy are partners. Practice giving and recovering energy.
Your life is both what you do and how it makes you feel. How do the things you’re doing make you feel?
Use the winter season to support recovery. Click here for our free guide, “Here’s the Formula to Change Fatigue into Energy”. Discover 3 simple steps for energy recovery.
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© Sandra Y. Lewis