Slow it down, baby, come back to bed.
This lyric often gets stuck in my head, and I've almost taken it as a mantra for the winter time. The song continues 'rest your heart, and rest your head.'
We live in a varied climate with significant and pronounced seasons, and we really ought to respect that. Our whole natural environment changes around us and often we try to counter it with technology and infrastructure that shield us from the changes in temperature, weather and energy levels around us.
Of course it's not feasible for us to shut down over winter-time and forget all responsibilities. What is possible is to make subtle changes in our mindset and productivity patterns at this time of year. As well as the daily reset and rest of night-time sleep, out bodies and minds need a recuperation time that is longer and more in-depth. The cold winter months can be a good time to nourish the home, relationships and your mental health, whilst you take a rest from the stimulating experiences of summer.
This doesn't mean do nothing for four months. It means valuing the time you have to stop and slow down. Build your energy reserves and thinking capacity ready for the spring when ideas begin to flourish into growth. Be ready. The idea of monotonously continuing at the same pace and lifestyle all year overwhelms me. It's part of our human experience to facilitate ups and downs and changes of rhythm.
My Favourite Ways to Slow Down in Winter:
- Walk Don't Run
Spending time outdoors reminds the body of the natural changes in the seasons, and embarking on a long walk gives space for reflection at the same time. The physical act of moving forward can be good for idea generation, whether you're walking alone or with loved ones.
- Read A Book, Not A Caption
Train yourself to sit down and read a book for half an hour with no distractions. I dare you - it's harder than you think. Absorb yourself in a story and spend some real time connecting with the ideas being communicated.
- Drink Some Tea, Not Tequila
In the winter I find it even more essential to eat and drink healthily, because my body and mind need looking after. Cosying up with a hot drink or sipping a flask on a cliff-top bench is so comforting in comparison to the party atmosphere of summer where I feel like I can bounce back from anything.
Above all, be kind to yourself. You should do this all year, but it's especially important during the cold seasons which can be difficult and isolating. Make time to identify what you want, what you need and what it's time to let go of. Let these thoughts settle over the dark times, and be ready for making the changes you need when the new energy arrives with spring.