Since I wrote about simple ways to celebrate the Summer Solstice last summer, I figured it was only fitting that I do the same for the Winter Solstice.
Solstice comes from the Latin phrase for “sun stands still” and is the first official day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It usually falls around December 21 and this year it is on December 22. It is known as the “shortest” day of the year, because it has the shortest number of daylight hours than any other day of the year, which means it also has the longest night of the year.
Winter Solstice also comes in the middle of what is usually the busiest and most stressful time of the year for most people. Here are a few simple ways to reconnect with the rhythm of the earth that will help you slow down and enjoy the changing of the seasons.
It has been celebrated since ancient times and is often a celebration of light. Once the solstice comes the days begin to get brighter again, and eventually, the summer sunlight returns. So, why not treat yourself to some calming moments focused around this tradition?
Bring more light into the winter solstice by putting luminarias on your front porch or driveway. Or, put them in your backyard and relax by them and an outdoor fire pit with your friends and family.
Even though it is cold, reconnect with nature if only for a few minutes. The healing power of nature is a great way to de-stress and enjoy the season instead of focusing only on the gifts still left to buy, or the big holiday meal yet to come. Take a walk or go snowshoeing. Many communities host special solstice hikes, check to see if there is one near you.
Is it too cold and snowy to go outside? Then sit by the window and watch the snow falling in the fading light as the sun is setting.
Go stargazing. It not only lets you connect to the natural world, but it is another way to observe the celebration of light. You can do this in your own backyard or even just take a walk and look at the stars, or find a local planetarium with a special solstice show.
Make the Winter Solstice a day of contemplation by taking some time out of the day to focus on the change in the earth’s cycle and to slow down your pace. Try to just take some time to simply do nothing, to have complete unscheduled time to relax and rejuvenate. This is especially important during the holidays when our stress level is at its highest. Watch the sunset, or, if the day is sunny and bright, sit outside and feel its warmth for at least a few minutes. Sit out by an outdoor fire pit in the evening and watch the night sky.