Less than two weeks to go, thank goodness. Not to my birthday (fast approaching), Christmas (bah, humbug) or New Year’s Eve (for followers of the Gregorian calendar), but to a positive turning point for my well-being and creativity. At 11 minutes past five o’clock on Saturday 21 December, the sun will be at its southernmost point in the sky, which means that for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere we will be experiencing the shortest day and longest night of the year.
Over in Japan, Michaeline’s saving energy and writing in the cold snuggled under a fleecy lap-robe with a hot water bottle. Here in England, I’ve got my usual mild dose of the winter blues. It’s a potential problem for anyone living in a country where there are significant changes to the daylight, weather and temperature between seasons, which includes those of us in Europe and North America. It’s rarely observed in people who live near the equator, where daylight hours are consistent and the sun shines brightly all year round. My brother, who’s in the UK for a pre-Christmas family visit, commented that he used to experience it between January and March every year, but hasn’t had it once since he moved to the Caribbean. Food for thought there. His home has a very nice guest bedroom 🙂
The UK charity Mind estimates that in Northern Europe one person in ten experiences some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Luckily I’m a relentlessly positive person and my symptoms aren’t severe, but this time of year I spend a lot of time giving myself pep-talks. I’m naturally an early riser, and infuriatingly cheerful in the mornings, but around now I could stay under the duvet till lunch-time. I want more chocolate, another glass of wine, and I don’t feel like making plans, taking the initiative, or going the extra mile on anything.
I love writing, but this time of year every word is a product of sheer bloody-mindedness. There’s none of the glorious rush of creativity Justine talked about on Friday. I’m more likely to be assiduously ignoring my Bad Wolf, who’s in his element telling me that I should be finished by now, that I still have so much to do, that I should have chosen a different story, that it’s boring and slow, and nobody will want to read it when it’s done anyway. I believe with all my heart that he’s wrong, but it takes energy to keep him locked down.
So here’s the good part: in less than two weeks from now, the days will start to get lighter. We’ll still be in the depths of winter, but there’s something about things getting a little bit brighter every day that feeds my soul. It’s my time of greatest energy and creativity. Last year I needed all that positive mojo to deal with a double whammy of family emergencies but (fingers crossed, touch wood) all that seems to be behind us, so this year I’m going to make the most of every single moment. Kay wrote this post a few weeks ago about discovering your most productive time of day. I think there’s also something to be said for knowing your most productive time of year.
Sound the trumpets, and salute the Winter Solstice. I’m not a Druid, a Pagan, or a Wiccan, but I’ll be celebrating with them.
Do you suffer from the winter blues? Do you have any tips for keeping them under control?
Is there a particular time of year when you’re super-productive?