This post is inspired in whole by Sadie, my dear friend who has taught me the true meaning of rest, replenishment and self-care.

Tonight, as I sit here in my bed wayyy past my bedtime, I’m reflecting on my year.

And mostly, on how we all hold these extreme expectations for the end of the year. Examples?

Let’s talk creative biz clients. Business owners always have big plans for the end of the year. We are going to send out a brand spanking new mailer, all the bells and whistles, the first of the year. We are going to launch our new line. The new site will be live and the product shop will have made way over our projections by December 29th.

Let’s talk our own work. My books are going to be up to date, I will have completed my 2018 power sheets and goal setting strategy and be on track to start my new year off right with social media campaigns. All of my 2017 projects will be finished, billed and paid.

Let’s talk deadlines. The timeline on the contract says “hope to launch before Christmas.” The job was done and wrapped up with a neat little bow and delivered like a present on Christmas morning and my client checked their email during unwrapping with their children and was so happy to have had it completed for that day that they sent me flowers as a thank you!

Let’s talk health, and food. We won’t overeat. We will have discipline and not eat all the cookies. We will KEEP our workout schedule and if our jeans begin to feel a little tight, we will restrain from yet another cinnamon roll for breakfast and instead eat a yogurt.

Let’s talk relationships. I will be gifting everyone I love something this year, even if it is something small. I will make sure to call all my relatives on Christmas, or even Christmas Eve, and have my Thank you notes written before they get back from their Christmas travels. My husband will know how much I love him because I got him the greatest gift that we was not expecting, and he will love me so much to get me the gift I really wanted but didn’t tell him I wanted. The Christmas blessing will be flawless and my dad will praise me later for doing such a great job. No fights will be had around the dinner table and no one will flake last minute and not show up.

Did any of these things come true?

Didn’t think so.

Why do we do this to ourselves?! This is a legitimate question.

You guys! This is unreasonable. This is way too much pressure!

Winter, these deep dark days of little light and warmth are not meant for us to “thrive.” Yet, we put this weight on our shoulders that just because the man made calendar year is ending, we have to be “complete” too.

Shame on us! If we really listened to our bodies, our hearts and minds and souls, here is what we would hear:

“Take reprieve from the light, and learn to love the darkness. Reach deep within yourself, and rest. Rest with the intent of work, but the work is yet to be done. Use these long nights as they are meant to be used, with sleep and recovery and growth. Darkness invites us to lay low, to take cover from all the bustle of nature and light and competition. In darkness, we use our own nourishment and heal. The cold brings hibernation, a way of living death, so that we may naturally rest, recover and learn to grow again, once the warmth and light hits our souls.”

Yet, here we are, working the week after Christmas. Working the week after our Savior celebrated His human arrival on Earth. Do you think Mary worked that week? I don’t think so. I think she was so astounded by the fact that she, the virgin Mary, birthed a child, the Child of God, that she RESTED. She swaddled and nursed and slept. Her body, her soul and her spirit had been through the most trying of times, and she took reprieve in the darkness, surrounded my wise men and the Holy Spirit and her soul mate, and savored the Savior.

What if we didn’t? What if we didn’t hustle during this time? What if we did what all the nature and spirits are nudging us to do?

Would the world really stop turning? No. Would your business fail? No. Would you feel like you were less than? No. And why? Because when the light and warmth finally does hit your face naturally, and you rested instead of shoveling snow, you can gracefully watch the snow melt the path in front of you and you can walk without falling. You can stand taller and more gracefully tackle your dreams.

This pressure. This pain. This perseverance that is so heavy on your heart this season. Let it go, let it pass without so much as a glance back. And next year, when the days begin to get shorter and the nights colder, take the cue to retreat back into yourself.

If you’re really wondering how it might go, know this.

My goals for 2018 are not set, and my books are a mess. But tax day isn’t until April and my goals don’t determine my dreams. It’s currently four days after Christmas, and frankly, I’m pretty sure no one has noticed that the job isn’t done yet. I’m not sorry I ate the extra cinnamon roll because it was delicious and I didn’t gift anyone anything I didn’t think they’d love and use – and guess what, the people I love don’t need gifts to know I love them.

I’ve cooked and written and slept more than I have in years, just in the last two weeks. My baby is happy as a clam to go down his new slide all day and I’m pretty happy to drink tea and watch him.

My friends, my prayer for you this season is that you take what time we have left to rest, and rest well. Soon, the days will be longer and the temperature warmer and the hustle will start all over.