There are many movements advocating for a slower pace of life. You may have heard of Slow Food - asking us to sit down as a family or with friends to enjoy a home-cooked meal, rather than eating on the go, over the sink or different meals at different times. The Slow Movement is also gaining momentum - suggesting that we slow our lives down and notice our surroundings more. Interestingly, this one began in Italy as a protest against a McDonalds opening there. Now there are designated slow cities, slow living, slow travel and slow design, just to name a few.
Because I travel so much for work and adventure, and the pace of that is typically NOT slow, I am more aware of my time at home moving at a different pace. Working from home and setting my own schedule have definitely helped with that. Winter is also the slow time of year - the time of rest and rejuvenation, a time for reflection and creativity. The time we spend dreaming and creating in winter allows our efforts to burst forth, like the buds and natural world, come spring.
After being gone the entire months of November and December, I found myself hesitant to leave my condo during January, content some days not even to get dressed. At first there was a bit of guilt around this. Maybe I should be visiting friends, or taking advantage of snow to ski, or just doing more. But when I could let the "shoulds" go, I realized I was giving my body and spirit what they needed. I did venture out to movies, acupuncture appointments, dinner with friends a few times and some great walks as we have had decidedly un-winterlike weather in Denver this year.
But mostly, I allowed myself to take it easy. To stay home and make pot roast and chilli and eat comfort food. To read books and take care of chores around the house and work on planning projects. To create new programs and speeches and plan new healing adventures. To build fires in the fireplace, take hot baths, binge watch my favorite shows (Downton Abbey and The Americans and Larkrise to Candleford), and write notes and rest.
It was grand!
Once February began, so did my travel, and I am on the road for much of this month with speaking engagements, leadership program facilitation, a fun reunion and some time with family. And as I once again stand in long security lines, pack and unpack for what feels like the millionth time, do loads of laundry on my few days home, and sleep in different beds, I am so glad that I allow myself that down time when I can. It is what helps me keep going the rest of the time.
I wish this for you as well. The days are already beginning to get longer, and soon Daylight Savings will once again be with us, but for now, with less daylight, cold temperatures and even some snow, slow down a little. Even if you can't come to a complete halt, drop the pace a few clicks, make yourself a hot cup of tea (or hot chocolate) and curl up with a good book or movie. Remember the outcome of the race between the turtle and the hare . . . slow has its benefits.
Here's a little Simon and Garfunkel inspiration for a winter slow down.