If we look around and spend time in nature or just walk outside, we realize everything has a season. The trees, the flowers, the weeds—they all change during the seasons. Flowers don’t constantly bloom; trees show their beautiful display of colors on their leaves, shed them, and grow a new set of beautiful leaves each year. There is constant change. As famously said by Heraclitus, “The only thing constant is change.”
Yet in our own lives, we forget that this is part of life. Somehow, we seem to be so disconnected from the laws of the universe that we forget seasons apply to us as well. It is as if the seasons of life don’t apply to us, and we resist it, wanting to diagnose it or hold on to only one season of life. Usually, our obsession tends to be with wanting only the seasons where there is joy, growth, success, and lots of “doing.”
In life, when there is sadness, rest, challenges, failures, setbacks, or stillness, we begin to question what has gone wrong. What is my diagnosis? Do I need antidepressants? What is wrong with me? We quickly want to escape this time and move to the other side. How can I quickly fix this? What do I have to do to feel better or to achieve more success, gain more followers, or earn more money?
Instead of descending into the rabbit hole of anxiety, despair, worry, or rumination, I invite you to sit with the season in your life and realize three things: 1) it is a normal part of life, 2) it is a gift, and 3) it holds important learning lessons.
Everything in life needs time to rest, reset, recharge, and reflect. Many religions incorporate a day of rest into their faith, and it is said that God rested on the 7th day of creation. We all need rest. In previous cultures, where mental health problems weren’t as prevalent, people spent time playing, eating with family, sitting around, and telling stories—and they called this living.
Although we may not be able to have the same lifestyle as our ancestors thousands of years ago, we can incorporate rest into our day, our week, or have quarterly rest to disconnect and maybe a season to reflect, rest, and find stillness.
Even in modern times, companies such as Chick-Fil-A or Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, understand the importance of rest. Whether they close for a whole day of the week or Mr. Chouinard takes off from June until November to Jackson Hole to fish, rest, and recharge, their companies remain highly successful and profitable.
So take a lesson from nature or from companies that have discovered an important secret to success and happiness: rest is essential. You may be able to “do more” once you are rested and feel recharged, and this will not happen if you are always running at 110% every day.
So when the season of your day, week, or life feels like winter, remember to savor the stillness, savor the learning lessons, refrain from judging, and await the full bloom of spring that is to come.