winter, depression, and unnatural systems

so the time changed a few weeks ago. sunrise is currently at ~7a and sunset is at ~4p. the difference in my own day is palpable. i’m up earlier and tired earlier. my mental energy seems to tap out faster every day.

i’ve also noticed an uptick in the number of people in my life who are dealing with sadness, depressive moments, and straight up depression. and people who are finding work harder to go to and do.

as i continue to try to align my lifeflows with earth rhythms, i’ve had a thought. it’s one i’ve had before, in some ways is quite obvious, and it’s one i’ve heard many times from folks like wendell berry and pretty much every farmer i know:

when the time changes, so should our daily flows. the problem with winter for many of us isn’t that winter is bad or sad; it’s that we try to live in winter like it’s summer.

in one very obvious way, a particular block here is our embeddedness with capitalism. because almost all of us are bound up by the capitalist economy we live in, we don’t actually have agency to shift our daily flows (i.e. our jobs don’t move from 9-to-5 to 8-to-4) and because many of the other systems our lives are bound up in (ex: public schools if you have kids) aren’t responsive to the environment (school starts and stops the same time every day, regardless of the season), even if we did have control over our time flows, the other parts of our lives make executing that control hard.

two final thoughts:

  1. if most of us don’t have agency to change this, why do i bring it up? because i think it’s important to note that the brokenness isn’t with us as individuals; the brokenness is mostly tied to the unnatural systems we live in. the locus of the brokenness is important in shaping our responses.
  2. those of us who do have agency to shift this… well, i think we should. and maybe there’s some way that many of making these small shifts could actually build to bigger shifts.

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