Here in America’s Heartland the fields lie fallow now. Barren squares stretch out like a patchwork quilt gently covering the land while it settles in for a well-deserved nap. The scene makes me want to snuggle under a cozy blanket and enjoy the time of year when nature encourages us to rest.
Fallow periods are traditionally used by farmers to maintain the natural productivity of the land. Leaving a field inactive for a time allows the soil to recover, restore and rebalance itself. You see, the land becomes depleted and unproductive if if isn’t given a chance to rest.
Can you relate? What if we took a cue from nature and thought of this season of the year as a natural time to recover, restore and rebalance ourselves? I know, the stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve is often the busiest time of the year.
Maybe you’re in a season of life when relaxing seems impossible. A stressful job, child-rearing, caregiving and other challenges can be exhausting. Keeping up with the daily news can be taxing. Even fun-filled celebrations can leave us feeling worn out. All the more reason to rest. Writer Pico Iyer said, “It is precisely those who are busiest who most need to give themselves a break.”
My husband is the most steady and calm, yet efficient and productive person I know. He manages to get everything done and more, but he’s the first one to suggest we stop and chill. It’s no surprise his favorite Christmas carol is Silent Night. Like my laid-back husband, the hymn hushes and reminds, “All is calm. All is bright.”
Rather than waiting until the hustle of the holidays is over, let’s give ourselves the gift of rest now, when we really need it. Here are ten ways we can follow the fallow fields, even if just for a few minutes each day.
- Be still. Being busy isn’t necessarily being productive. Sit in complete stillness a few minutes every day to let your body and mind recharge.
- Stay home. Sometimes we stay on the go out of habit or fear of being bored. Be it ever so humble, home should be our happy place.
- Renew your spirit. Read, pray, sing, create. Do more of whatever renews your soul.
- Turn down the noise. Do what you can to quiet your surroundings. Unplug at least once a day and experience total silence.
- Say no. We aren’t obliged to say yes to every invitation or request. Graciously decline an avoidable situation that’s likely to be more draining than fulfilling.
- Eat well. When a field lies fallow, the soil regains nutrients. Be sure to consume healthy foods to replenish your own nutrition.
- Take a walk outdoors. Not only is walking good exercise, the crisp air is a great way to clear the head.
- Practice self-care. Schedule a massage, a haircut, a manicure or try some at home spa treatments. Take time to take care of yourself.
- Go to bed early. Sleep research shows human beings have a natural circadian rhythm that mimics the sun’s rising and setting. Shorter, darker days are a good excuse to get more sleep.
- Observe nature. Take a closer look at nature. Appreciate its beauty. Be inspired by its simplicity. Learn from its wisdom. §
“It is well to lie fallow for a while.”
~ Martin Farquhar Tupper, English writer and poet 1810-1889
Note to Subscribers ~ I am heeding my own advice and getting a little more rest the next few weeks. I will still post my weekly newspaper column here on Sundays, but there will be no Wednesday posts until the new year. I’m excited about my writing goals for 2023. Thank you for joining me. I wish you a holiday season filled with peace and joy! ❤ Alicia