Winter Solstice - A Time for Reflection
Theresa Polley
December 8, 2022
February 10, 2023
Self Care

Change is inevitable. Just as I've found my rhythm for the holiday season, the Winter Solstice is around the corner.

Winter Solstice is an opportunity to find stillness and reflection before moving into the changes that lie ahead in the new year. I believe pressing pause at this time of year allows me to approach my new year with an open heart and open mind. Winter Solstice is the perfect opportunity to go within – a time of journaling and self reflection - to recognize patterns and redirect my energy for the new year. We must consciously choose to pursue what nourishes us, while letting go of what depletes us.

The only journey is the one within. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

A few weeks before Winter Solstice, I begin by intentionally reviewing my journals from years past and congratulating myself on how far I’ve come. I find gratitude for the moments of joy AND the challenges I’ve overcome. Looking back over the past year allows me to recognize where I've spent my time and energy. Have I given time and energy to someone or something that is no longer giving me what I need? I may recognize a one sided relationship or a project I'm no longer passionate about. I make a list of lessons learned, what I've let go of in the past year and the new opportunities and experiences coming my way. I've discovered journaling allows me to process my thoughts and emotions.

If you need to get away to spend time in self reflection, join us for one of our upcoming retreats. I frequently come back to the concept of stillness and the value of taking a pause. If you're not able to get away from your daily life for a day or more, do just that, find a moment of peace and stillness, just for you.

There's something about the silence and beauty of nature on the retreat grounds at this time of year. Things are quiet, as our staff stays home for the holidays, and for me personally, it’s a time to reflect on all the lives that have been touched over the last 12 months at Retreat in the Pines. I’m grateful to be able to offer women a place to find stillness and sanctuary where they can get away for a weekend of rejuvenation and self-care.

Celebrate the Winter Solstice By Honoring You and What You Need

  1. Take Time for Self Reflection If you journal, review your journal from the past year. If you're new to journaling you can start now. Review 2022 - the ups and downs and all things in between. Start in January and walk through your year by reviewing your calendar. Make note of what events on your calendar brought you joy and what merely felt like an obligation.
  2. Practice gratitude. Starting a gratitude journal will allow you to find what brings you joy. If you're more visual, snapping a photo everyday of something you're grateful for is an option. This mindful exercise will allow the end of the year to end on a positive note.
  3. Spend time in nature. Take a walk. Get outside. Even if there’s no “nature” near you, get outside and breathe fresh air, clear your head, and be alone with your thoughts and reflections for a few minutes.
  4. Move your body. Move through a short yoga practice. Take a walk or hike. Ride an indoor bike. Dance. Whatever movement you choose, focus on your breath to clear your head.
  5. Meditate. Use a guided meditation or simply focus on your breath or a mantra (such as stillness) allows you to calm your mind so that you may begin the journey of reflection.
  6. Sleep better with a Guided Meditation. Yoga Nidra or another guided meditation practiced right before bed will calm your nervous system and slow down the fight or flight response that is so prevalent at this time of year.
  7. Take Stock of How You Spend Your Day Every minute counts. Are your activities causing anxiety or joy? Who are you spending time with - people who lift you up or people who are critical and negative? What are you telling yourself - words of love or words of negativity? Your voice is usually the loudest of them all.
  8. Give yourself permission. A pause from the rush of the holidays and limiting your social obligations so you may spend time with yourself is the exact nourishment that your body, mind and spirit need. This may be the most important of all.

This year, December 21 marks the Winter Solstice, the first day of Winter and the shortest day of the year. The word solstice comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) – roughly translated as the day that the sun stands still.

Take your cue from the sun, as we move into winter and the solstice approaches and commit to find stillness and time for yourself as the perfect antidote during a time of year that may feel hectic and overwhelming. You deserve it.

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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