Winter began this morning (December 21st 2016) around 3 AM Mountain Time.  In our modern world, the impact of winter is not as harsh as it once was. Central heating and insulating fabrics can help mitigate the effects of winter.  Even though winter may be a little easier for modern humans, there is a wisdom in recognizing seasonal changes and being in tune with them.  Our bodies may need time more time to rest and recharge. We may crave more warming and higher calorie foods.  We should respect and honor those needs.

Even though Denver has many sunny winter days, the number of daylight hours is reduced.   At winter solstice (the time when the he earth’s northern hemisphere reaches its furthest tilt away from the sun and begins its journey back) we have five less hours of daylight than we do at the peak of summer.  The lack of sunlight and daylight hours affects many of us and we can give some extra attention to self-care during this season.

We humans don’t hibernate, but we can use winter as a time to slow down, spend more time in our “caves”, and get in touch with our goals and feelings. Self-awareness is nourished by quiet time and this season lends itself to that kind of introspection.  Approaching the quiet and darkness with acceptance and the knowledge that every day the light is getting stronger, is a good approach to getting through the winter months.

The ancients celebrated the return of the sun and we can take a cue from them and be grateful for the returning sunshine, our blue planet, and the changing seasons.

Thoughts on the First Day of Winter
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Amanda Kearney-Smith

I founded the Network as the Executive Director in 2011 and, before that, I was a program director at Mental Health Colorado. My educational background is in Developmental Psychology, but living with bipolar disorder has drawn me to this work. I'm most passionate about protecting the civil rights and dignity of others. In my free time, I love reading, practicing yoga, and spending time with my family here and in Illinois.

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