Learning to embrace winter, 4,000 weeks, and a circus-inspired flexibility routine

Hey there,

Tomorrow is the first day of winter for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

As a self-proclaimed summer person, I’ve chased the sun and warmth for much of my life. While some people look forward to the change in seasons, by embracing the coziness of blankets, puffer coats, and hot drinks, I’ve always done my best to avoid them. As a result, when the year turns the corner and the days get shorter and colder, I try to fight it, hoping that winter speeds by as quickly as possible.

In recent years, I’ve found that this way of fighting the seasons has made me increasingly unhappy. I dread the holidays because they indicate the passing of another year. Time always feels like it’s coming at me, the days slipping by. No matter how much I try, I can’t force summer to last forever.

I’ve also realized this is how I’ve treated my life: as an endless summer. Despite knowing it’s simply not possible, my goal has always been linear progress in all areas of my life. I want constant growth without the inevitable dips.

But this is not the natural pattern of nature. Nature has seasons, and the seasons have a purpose: they allow the natural world to rest, recover, and to come back healthier and stronger in the spring.

In Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, Katherine May writes that embracing the winters of our lives can do the same for us.

“Doing those deeply unfashionable things—slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting—is a radical act now, but it is essential. This is a crossroads we all know, a moment when you need to shed a skin. If you do, you’ll expose all those painful nerve endings and feel so raw that you’ll need to take care of yourself for a while. If you don’t, then that skin will harden around you.” 

Rather than fight it like I normally do, I’ll do my best to lean into winter this year. For once in my adult life, perhaps I won’t get up at the crack of dawn seven days a week to pursue my goals. I’ll allow myself to lean into the timing of nature, to allow for the sleep, rest, and recovery I know deep down my body and mind have been craving for months, maybe even years.

Spring will come once again. For the first time in my life, I’m not in a rush to get there.

What I’m reading —

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortalsby Oliver Burkeman

I can’t say enough good things about this book. Despite its title, it’s really the opposite of a time management book. It’s a book that presents an alternative path to the obsessive, endless quest of checklist completion and schedule optimization; a path that’s much more meaningful in the end.

I loved this book so much I started reading it again as soon as I finished it.

What I’m watching —

What Makes Life Meaningful / Michael Steger / TEDxCSU

How do we find meaning in our lives? Steger, a professor of psychology at Colorado State University and Founder and Director of the Center for Meaning and Purpose, concludes in this TED Talk that part of what makes our lives meaningful is our tendency toward action and risk.

There is no “secret” to finding meaning. Meaning is all around us. There are opportunities to find meaning all around us, all the time.

A quote that inspires me —

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear.” — Norman Vincent Peale

What I’m training —

Here’s a flexibility routine I posted on Instagram inspired by my years training with circus artists.

Three new workouts —

Hotel Room AMRAP Workout (12-minute AMRAP, equipment-free)

Strength Boosting Kettlebell HIIT Workout (Time challenge, kettlebell, pull-up bar)

Push Your Limits 327 Rep Challenge Workout (Time challenge, plyo box or equivalent)

You can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete.

Questions? Feedback? Content requests?

Please feel free to reply directly to this email if you have any questions or comments (yes, I am a real human). I get a lot of emails and messages, so I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read everything you guys send me!

Here’s to embracing winter,

– Krista

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