Time to Slow Down

December is here and Winter is on its way! I’ve almost finished teaching for the year, just a few days left to go. 

A few weeks back I taught a workshop with the theme of Slowing Down.  I am always told to slow down, and have always struggled with the idea.  When I stop, I feel sluggish, I get lazy, I lose my ‘me-ness’!  I have always thought that I thrive on being busy, on doing.  Apparently, I have been pushing myself too far recently though.  After a few weeks of feeling generally under the weather and like I was fighting off some winter illness I was struck overnight with full blown flu at the weekend.  It was as if my body said “right, if there’s no other way to slow you down, this will do it!”.

It was clear I’d been ignoring the signs that I needed to take things easier, to practice what I had been teaching and listen to what my body needed!  So, even though I have a wedding in a week, and Christmas shortly after, I took a few days off.  I spent a whole day in bed, and then moved to the couch for another day.

Then of course, I did the daft thing of going back to work (the problem with self employment), once again ignoring what my body was telling me. So here I am again. After 3 days back at work I am once again shivering, shaking, my temperature has rocketed and I am pretty much stuck in my bed. So this time I really have stopped. For the next three days I will rest however much of a struggle it is to ignore those to do lists. I have cleared things out of my calendar (even things I had been looking forward to) and scheduled in quiet time.  There will be other opportunities to do those things I will miss and in the meantime, I will focus my energies on healing my body and enjoying quiet time with my family. 

Winter is not a time to embark on new ventures, but a time to move inwards reflecting on what has been.  Let your seeds of ideas, plans and dreams, sit for a while, absorbing, resting, waiting for the right time to burst forth.  It is a time to conserve and store energy for the cold, dark days ahead.  Perhaps it is a good time to connect to your intuition as you draw inwards.  This is the season on the crone, the wise woman, so listen to your own words of wisdom.  Winter is a time for slow, nourishing movements, deep breaths, warming the body, staying grounded, embracing the heaviness, slowing down.

Of course, slowing down doesn’t mean grinding to a halt (unless you have the flu, in which case I seriously recommend it).  The body needs to rest, but it also needs to move.  This winter, find the movement that nourishes your body whether it is a slow wintery walk, a gentle stretch out, a slow restorative yoga practice, or maybe a more energetic practice to warm you from the inside out.  We all need different things, and that may change from day to day.  The important thing is to be mindful of what your body is telling you, not to ignore the signs that something needs to change (trust me on this right now!).

And winter as well means that festive season.  It’s likely that your diary for the next few weeks is getting full of various celebrations, gatherings and social occasions, whether your own or your family’s!  Everything can get a bit overwhelming and I often find it hard to stay in the moment and enjoy the festivities without getting bogged down in the details or stressed out by it all.  My pre-new year resolution for this year is to try being present in everything I do and recognising the joy it brings.  Whether that is wrapping presents, watching my kids school show, cooking yet another meal, or washing endless dishes.  I’m going to try to take a breath, change my focus, and forget the mentality of “just get this done and then I can have some me time”.  All time is “me time”.  This is my life right now, and I need to enjoy every moment.

So, what is your resolution for the time ahead?  I’d love to know.  And I’d love to know how you get on as well.  I’m not sure how successful I will be with my winter practices but I will keep trying.  And if all else fails, I’ll escape somewhere quiet for 10 deep breaths, and then start again.

Wishing you all a joyful winter, a happy solstice for when it comes, a merry Christmas and a wonderful 2020.

And keep your eyes open, I have some ideas brewing just now for 2020!



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