Our bodies change in size and shape from year to year. About now you might be going back to those clothes you wore this time last year. Our clothes could be smaller or bigger than they were the last time we wore them, or they may fit somewhere in the middle. This is completely normal. Our size can fluctuate due to hormones, stress, life circumstances and health. There’s no morality attached to how your clothes fit. Instead of beating myself up, I’m going to make it a point to thank my body for getting me through another year.
You may find that your faith life, prayer life and church life aren’t serving you in the ways they once were. You may be encountering God in different ways and in different places. Sometimes we feel bad about shifting our priorities or our faith communities. I have found myself in different worshipping bodies (or in no worshipping body at all) during different periods of my life. I hope we can allow ourselves the freedom to explore other ways to find worship and connection. That may be in a church service that takes place outside (sometimes called “Wild Church,”), in a different faith tradition, or in a house church. I hope we can all feel free to expand our faith communities as we grow and change.
Warm weather encourages outdoor activities and movement. As I write this, I am in a coffee shop watching big snow flurries move through my town. Cold weather beckons us to hibernate, stay home, drink warm beverages and rest. I know that sometimes I can get upset with myself for not “getting anything done.” It’s taken me a long time to make peace with the fact that not every day is going to be a super productive day. Sometimes a fulfilling day looks like warmth and rest, giving ourselves a chance to reset. If you’re in a colder area of the country, don’t feel bad for the need to wrap yourself up in warm fuzzy accessories and rest.
4. Need for community
For me, my need for community changes depending on the time of year. In warmer months, gatherings outsider happen rather naturally, outdoor activities can involve other people and I’m more inclined to be social. In the fall and winter months, it’s easier for me to become a hermit. I’m finding I need to be attentive to my needs for community. Do I need time alone to recharge, or am I isolating and avoiding? Am I going to church regularly enough to feel a part of something larger than myself? Are there other ways to connect to people when I don’t feel like meeting up in person? If we are more social creatures, can we make time for ourselves to be alone with ourselves and our thoughts?
5. Mental Health
These are the months Seasonal Affective Disorder hits some of us hard. We are especially prone to this here in Northern Indiana. My hope is that folks aren’t afraid to get the help they need. Whether it’s a SAD light, seeing your therapist more often, or being mindful to schedule hobbies and activities you enjoy on the gray days, planning ahead with little things can make a big difference.