Life

Lynette Fay: It's not even Halloween but it feels like it's time to hibernate

Lynette Fay

Lynette Fay

Lynette is an award winning presenter and producer, working in television and radio. Hailing from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, she is a weekly columnist with The Irish News.

Despite wanting to hibernate, Lynette insists there is nothing like a run on a cold autumn morning to make you feel really alive and refreshed
Despite wanting to hibernate, Lynette insists there is nothing like a run on a cold autumn morning to make you feel really alive and refreshed Despite wanting to hibernate, Lynette insists there is nothing like a run on a cold autumn morning to make you feel really alive and refreshed

IT is 10 weeks until Christmas. Ten more weeks of invoking Santy and threatening the naughty list, which has been operational in our house since the Easter bunny hopped into the sunset. I can't be alone in this.

Although almost every weekend between now and then is accounted for, I do feel life slowing down a bit as we head towards the winter. It is time to hibernate.

I have recently got back into running. Now, when I say running, I 'run' very slowly and usually go for a sociable few miles with friends. We chat away and put the world to rights as we put miles on the legs.

There is nothing like a good run on a cold autumn or winter's morning to make you feel really alive and refreshed. I love starting the run in the dark and finishing just as daylight breaks through.

The darkness of this time of year can get some people down and really affect their mood. I understand this, as I used to feel like that, but for some reason, this has passed.

It might be because I have subconsciously tuned in to the Celtic wheel of the year. A few years ago, I began to appreciate that I just don't align to the meteorological seasons. For me, Halloween, Oíche Shamhna, heralds the beginning of winter, spring begins on February 1, summer on May 1 and autumn on August 1.

Many readers will think that I have lost the plot, but since I tuned into the change of the seasons in this way, I have been more accepting of the progression of the year, and am really in tune with it – to my eternal benefit.

I bumped into someone last January who had been taking on lots of extra work, and this particularly busy spell had just ended. This person was worn out, but afraid that they might not be offered any more work, frightened to say 'no'.

I heard and felt everything they said and felt, because as someone who works as a freelancer, that's the gig. The emotions can be difficult to regulate, and fear of never working again prevents you from saying 'no'.

I told them that January is quiet for everyone, and to try and embrace it. We have to embrace the quiet so we are energised when things get busy again. Otherwise, we will burn out.

It has taken me years to accept this principle. We are coming to the time of year when it is time to hibernate. It can be difficult to welcome that hibernation, especially in a world where we crave the perception of busy, because being busy means being important – and who doesn't want to be important?

Switching off and saying 'no' are very powerful tools. It takes a long time to learn how to use them correctly, but when we do, a very powerful shift happens, and we regain power.

Time out, however we get it, is essential nourishment. I think that this time of year, between now and Christmas, is a great time to get away for a few days if it's at all possible. Just to re-set.

A couple of years ago, we went to Killeavy Castle for a weekend in November, and the idea of hibernating in winter really hit home. We found nourishment in the simple things – walks on Slieve Gullion, an early dinner in the homely restaurant, and our daughter was fascinated by the castle itself and the resident peacocks.

Limited connectivity made for a perfect switch-off weekend which energised us for the downhill roll towards Christmas.

I love the switch off so much that last year, I decided to have my hen do in early December, in the wilds of Donegal. We spent a very low key and nourishing weekend of friendship and laughter in Corcreggan Mill, just outside Dunfanaghy, which is like a home from home.

It is no wonder that this time of year, is the time of soups and stews. We need the nourishment.

Some might say I am mad to even mention the 'C' word ahead of Halloween, but blink, and we will be wrapping presents, prepping the dinner, and there will be no need to invoke the main man anymore, as he will be on his way...