The Wisdom of Slowing Down in Winter


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There comes a point when your body and soul need to rest. As we are approaching the winter solstice, maximum darkness cradles us in serenity and quiet. Your heart may long to go inward. It deserves a break from worry and striving. You want to daydream and gaze at the empty spaces between things.

There is tremendous wisdom in not pushing yourself so hard. You deserve a break. Though you may socialize more during the holidays, leave a resting place for your heart and your body.

4 Strategies to Slow Down

  • Mark empty periods in your schedule so nothing can intrude
  • Journal about your empath needs and how you can meet them
  • Spend time in meditation and reflection.
  • Ideally, take some time off from work so your metabolism can slow, your stress can decrease, and your heart and spirit can flourish in the holy spaciousness of unplanned time.

Winter welcomes you to quiet your mind, be still and listen to your intuition. It is associated with the element water and its properties of conserving energy and tranquility. It is the season of the recluse or hermit, which suits many empaths who adore retreating into their caves. You can also gather in front of cozy fireplaces and bundle up in warm clothing outside.

During the dark of winter, icy winds blow. Trees slow their metabolism to become dormant. Bears and other animals enter the long sleep of hibernation. Similarly, you can focus on building your internal energy.

Since empaths are often light-sensitive, a challenge of winter is feeling depressed–your body’s response to less daylight. Also, you may isolate socially, feel lonely, or be overwhelmed by holiday crowds, gatherings, and a frenetic pace. It’s vital to balance the natural rhythms of winter with a busy world.

The Winter Solstice marks the first day of this season. It’s the darkest point of the year when the Earth tilts furthest from the Sun. As days grow longer again, there is a gradual ascent into light. Winter invites you to heal your shadow side, including fears or self-doubts.

Winter is exciting because it takes you to your depths which helps you thrive as an empath. Reflect on your progress and areas that need growth. I love conducting this life-review in December to evaluate my life and move on with more clarity to the year ahead.

Set your intention. I will practice the wisdom of slowing down. I will stop pushing and striving. I will arrange periods to decrease my pace, hibernate, and safeguard periods for rest and reflection.

(Excerpt from “Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People” and “The Empath’s Empowerment Journal” by Judith Orloff, MD)

Judith Orloff, MD is a New York Times bestselling author with the upcoming book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Yourself, Your Relationships and the World (Foreword by the Dalai Lama). She has also written The Empath’s Survival Guide and Thriving as an Empath, which offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people. She integrates the pearls of conventional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, empathy, energy medicine, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice and online internationally. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA, TEDx U.S. and TEDx Asia. More information about Dr. Orloff’s Empathy Training Programs for businesses, The Empath Survival Guide Online Course and speaking schedule at

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3 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Slowing Down in Winter

  1. I love reading any thing by Judith as she rights for the laymen can understand yet gives credit to his knowledge. I have Emotional Freedom and The Empaths Survival Guide. I’m half way through the survival guide but haven’t been a lot read Emotional Freedom.
    As soon as I am financially able I plan to purchase her two new books. Probably the first two months hopefully someday in January though I hope for.
    Have a great day!!

  2. Explained so simply. And yet, out of the grasp,until you communicate it with sensibility and compassion. I thank you for this! Many blessings to you and yours.🙇‍♀️

  3. Judith: Your words in this email are comforting and wonderful and I’m getting the book and journal this weekend.
    Thank you,
    Jean Lovecchio

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