Fighting hibernation again

I think that despite outward appearances, I am a bear.

You may have heard me complain about this before. For some reason, for the last several autumns, my body has decided all I really should be doing at this time of year is lying slanty across a bed or a couch, dozing. My brain does not want to turn on.

Usually, I hold out until December, but this year, it kicked in as soon as sunset arrived before 5 pm local time.

The problem is, I have work to do. And I want to do it. I’ve got plans to write faster the next few weeks in order to finish my serial as quickly as possible. But all I want to do is sleep…

A morning nap helped on Tuesday. Today, I finally perked up after a little rest, a bite to eat, and taking ibuprofen (because the sleepiness is often accompanied by headache). Most of the time, exercise early in the day helps, but today, I was too miserable for even that.

My best friend told me over the phone yesterday that she’s sure all will be well, because at least I know what’s happening so I can take care of myself and know it’s just a temporary thing.

After a few weeks, the hibernation instinct seems to slowly disappear. I’m usually pretty normal by January. And the flip side is that in the spring, I sometimes go a bit manic. Not really, clinically manic, but optimistic and bouncy, energetic and creative. Totally overflowing with ideas and able to write and write and write. Which is pretty useful (not only for writing, but for Passover cleaning).

The good news is that by being patient with myself, I actually got a bunch of writing done today, not as much as I would have liked, but enough to not feel the day was just a total waste. I suppose I just have to be okay with decreased productivity.

And now, I’m returning to my den.

2 thoughts on “Fighting hibernation again

  1. Yesterday was gray. It was pretty much the exact color of the background on this page. It wasn’t pouring or even raining, just sporadically drizzling enough to be annoying. It was the perfect day for naps, for reading, for lazing. I could not focus to save my life. I was alternately bored, annoyed, distracted and downright grumpy. I HAD energy (in a conversation with a friend I was vehement about my apathy, launching a curse-laden rant about how much I did not care at the moment). I just didn’t have the RIGHT energy to be productive as a writer. (I should add, though, that a small sampling of others found that everyone was malaise-ish.)

    Writing energy is a special energy. I think it is easily affected by environment and, since we cannot always control our environment, I think the best we can do is continue to search for the ways we can overcome environmental challenges. I wish I could find a magic pill, but it hasn’t yet happened. Sometimes a change in music genre helps me. At one point yesterday, I left my desk to walk up and down five flights of stairs. I suppose that helped a little. But I like where you ended your entry: I think it’s important to be accepting (forgiving) of oneself being affected by that environment. Some days, just producing something is a monumental task.

    As I wrote this I also noticed that while I certainly didn’t have the right energy for writing, I totally had the energy for reading. I never make time to do that (that’s a whole other thing), but I also wonder if it’s worthwhile to create a list of tasks that are easier to do during the doldrums?

    All of this is also why I envision my perfect work life as barista in the morning and then bouncing between writing/data processing for the remainder of the day. Someday…


    • SO much to agree with here.

      I went out last night to a class, and when I arrived, all the ladies were talking about their moods, too. It was SO funny. Apparently, in Israel, there’s even a name for it: “Cheshvan fever.” (This being the month of Cheshvan.) The month even has a more official nickname: “Mar Cheshvan,” the bitter month of Cheshvan, because it contains no holidays in it after a month of back-to-back celebrations. But I’m thinking the reduced sunlight thing might have contributed to the name.

      I think that when I was younger, I may have had the same shift in energy, but I coped with it different ways. For example, there were big stretches of my life where I could just lounge around reading if that’s what I wanted to do. When I was single, I’d often go to the movies or hang out with friends and schmooze on long fall and winter evenings, and I think it matched my mood better. When I was a student I had to read for school anyway, but even when I had a young child at home, I’d read while I nursed, and napped when they napped. And I think my normal schedule back in the days when I wasn’t really driving forced me to walk to get places early in the morning, so I was getting that vital sunshine/exercise combo at 8 am or whatever. Now I’ve got to consciously mix these things in. Mr. K. drove carpool this morning (a big, big kindness on his part, particularly on the first Shabbos coming in during the four o’clock hour of the year), so I was out walking at 8:15. AMAZING difference.

      I hope you find the right book to curl up with this weekend!!


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