Eric Evans

Registered Psychotherapist

Toronto Psychotherapist working with depression, anxiety, serious illness, creativity, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer issues.

The usual course of things.

Every winter, psychotherapists like myself often succumb to the temptation to talk about how hard winter is; how people become depressed or anxious because of the lack of sunlight, excessive cold, etc. 

On that note, I'm going to resist temptation and not say that. However, I do think that we can find a way to both not give in to winter's hardships, but nevertheless honour the season and give in, a bit, to the rhythms it asks of us. Obviously this is a Northern or Southern hemisphere issue and people who live in the middle, closer to the equator have a different set of problems. 

By rhythm, I mean that cold, snow, dark all cause us to slow down, stay warm and sleep a lot more. Why is this seen as a problem, or something to be overcome? Why is a period of rest and renewal considered laziness or lack of spirit or something? We have eight other months left to us for that. I think there's something truly Western here about not "giving in to weakness" or letting no obstacle get in the way of making money or accomplishing things. 

Obviously there's nothing whatsoever wrong with accomplishments. The point is more that we shouldn't feel we need to accomplish things all the time. We don't need to be in the best possible shape all year round, for example. Animals don't, so why should we as slightly more clever animals? 

We all need to rest. We all need some formless time to consolidate all that we have learned during the busy times. We all need to heal, to repair, to plan, to sleep. Why do we feel that is a bad thing? If the only measure we have in our culture is that of achievement, then I suppose it does make sense that a period of rest is anathema. 

So I will stay in bed longer on principle. At least until the snow melts and the air smells of growth and renewal.