In our rush to check things off our list, we often forget the practical reason for the holidays. As the days get shorter, colder and grayer and as the availability of fresh seasonal produce becomes more sparse, it is natural for us to feel a certain seasonal slowing--an affective glooming, if you will. It is no wonder that we, as a society, decided at this time of year to brighten things up with festive decorations, to indulge in rich and comforting foods, and to gather together with loved ones.
Given the historical longevity of the yuletide festivities, it seems clear that our ancestors are telling us to take this time of year to slow down, indulge and care for ourselves, both physically and emotionally. Ironically, so many of us pick this very time of year to do the exact opposite and force ourselves to speed up when everything around us is telling us to slow down.
Perhaps this year, at least some of us will heed the wisdom of our ancestors and take the time to restore our bodies and spirits by enjoying the lights, foods and warmth that are right in front of us, if for nothing else than to be better able to tackle the demands of the year ahead.
Please see the NYT article below on the deleterious effects of continual stress.