Winter in the mountains

“Let’s go back to basics and remember that all we really have to do is put a roof over our heads and meals on the table. Beyond that our time can be better spent enjoying our lives, being with the people we love, creating things we love that don’t harm the earth, and contributing something meaningful to the world.”

– Elaine St. James

Lower energy, need for rest and recuperation.

There are seasons for work and growth, and seasons for rest and recuperation. But it’s not always easy to fully accept the importance of slowing down and giving your body and mind the hard reboot it needs.

Look to the rhythms of nature – winter is just as crucial a season as any other. The energy and surges of life in spring and summer depend on the fallow, colder seasons of low productivity and output.

You are just the same. You too need periods of rest to create the work, ideas, and impact you want to create in your lifetime – and now is the time to honour that.

Stop burning the candle at both ends and embrace the joy of laziness – of scheduling less, doing less, and expecting less from yourself.

That said, this isn’t about staying in your PJs all day, watching Netflix and eating ice cream for a late breakfast as you work yourself into a deep rut or depression.

Design your winter period around happiness as well as rest – of doing the slow, quiet activities that bring you joy in their simplicity. Take walks in the park, read books in the comfy seat at your favourite coffee shop, and spend more time looking at the world around you.

Increase serotonin in the brain with sunlight (or SAD lamps), exercise, tryptophan, and steering your brain towards the beautiful, positive, and miraculous around you.

Embrace the concept that my adopted homeland lives by in the dark, colder months – the warmly-lit, cosy-warm feeling of hygge, marked by enjoying a hot drink, catching up with loved ones over good food in a room lit by candles, and walks bundled up in a fantastic coat.

Give your body the love and rest that is both so needed and so easy to neglect when work and productivity have come first for so long.

Metric for living well

How are you honouring your human need for rest and slowness?

Questions to ponder:

How can you make more time for relaxation?

How can you take the best care of yourself?

What commitments can you let go of?

What overstepped boundaries can you repair?

How can you make your home feel like a retreat to unwind in?

How can you simplify your day and slow your pace of living?

Books for winter

The Art of Coorie: How to Live Happy the Scottish Way by Gabriella Bennett – Learn the Scottish version of hygge and coorie in by a woodfire with a good dram of whisky.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman – The ultimate winter tale, following Lyra’s journey to the Arctic in search of truth and loved ones.

Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price – The title says it all. Why and when did laziness become such a terrible thing?

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid – The perfect book to unwind with during a laid-back, hygge weekend indoors. An ageing and reclusive Hollywood movie icon is finally ready to tell the story of her glamorous and scandalous life – and there turns out to be a lot more to the tale than anyone could’ve expected.

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell– A guidebook to something a lot of us should really be better at: actually doing nothing, without feeling awful about it.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – Set on the edge of the Siberian wilderness where winter lasts most of the year, I described this in my post about books with a Ghibli vibe as a Russian spin on Spirited Away. If that sounds tempting, give this a read.

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May – A stunning memoir, beautifully described by the Wall Street journal as proof of the “grace in letting go, stepping back and giving yourself time to repair in the dark”.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker– The fascinating science behind one of the most essential facets of a healthy, happy life: sleep.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig– If you’re struggling with your mental health, pick up a book by Matt Haig. This one shares his journey through depression, while Notes from a Nervous Planet gives voice to how living with anxiety feels.

Are you in The Sanctuary yet?

Find calmer shores with my interactive guidebook to navigate the seasons of your life. Gently rebalance, get back on track, and thrive where you are right now – whether you have the energy of spring, the fruition of summer, the shedding of autumn, or the need for rest of winter.

🌸  Have a healing space to visit whenever you need it

🌸  Identify what your body and mind most need right now

🌸  Rebalance when you’ve lost your energy and hit burnout with thoughtful journal prompts and templates in the workbook

🌸  Use my favourite systems to identify what’s working and what needs fixing first, calibrating your life around more positive adds, less negative adds

🌸  Get clear on where your focus should be going forwards