Born in August, I have always been a summer girl. I love the warmth, the sweaty sleepless nights, the long evenings, and the early Sundays drinking coffee in the morning sun on an empty terrace. But, living in The Netherlands means summers are short and sometimes gone before you know it.
People often tend to escape fall and winter, rather than accepting what’s coming and finding the strength to deal with it in their own, personal way. Especially this year, while facing a global pandemic, many experience a higher level of anxiety. While feelings of depression and anxiety should be taken seriously, it is easy to get lost in them and solely focus on the negative. Instead, try and focus on the positives and the opportunities this period can bring. Fall is known as the season of transformation. An important moment to reflect and work on ourselves.
Yet, these kinds of changes do not happen overnight. In the last couple of years, I started reading about mindfulness, slow living, and the power of a peaceful mind. A few learnings suddenly all came together which changed my point of view and taught me how to simply enjoy this upcoming season, rather than fighting it.
Connecting to and understanding the changing seasons
Nature and its seasons are in a constant state of transformation. All you have to do is watch. Whether it is the changing color of the leaves in your street, the flowers in your garden starting to bloom with the first warmth of spring. The weather and with that the changing amount of daylight. Everything around us is constantly changing, so why do we think that our way of living should stay the same? By embracing the differences of each season we will find more joy in the simple things that come with it.
The art of slow living
‘Living our lives at a slower pace by simplifying our lifestyles.’ Something about it resonated strongly with me. Slow living is about taking a slower approach to everyday life. Now, more than ever, activities that once packed our calendars and kept us busy, even if we had to adjust our lifestyles according to the covid-19 measures, are canceled. We are simply not allowed to, or the changing weather conditions won’t let us. Rather than panicking and feeling locked up, it is the perfect moment to reconnect with yourself, your family, and your surroundings. We are left to evaluate what’s really important. And this takes a lot of self-knowledge gained from exploring new interests.
Identify and acknowledge slow moments
This can be anything that helps you to slow down and feel calm. Sprinkle some of these slow moments during your week. Be fully present and intentional with your time which will allow you to embrace the wholehearted moments. Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute of Copenhagen described the Danish secrets to happy living in his book ‘The little book of Hygge’. With sunsets at 4 PM, they figured a way of being the happiest people in the world. And it all has to do with enjoying these slow moments and taking a bit of extra ‘me’ time. Which can be anything. Baking banana bread, reading books, learning a new language, a house full of candles, Sunday afternoons with your favorite pastry and a cup of hot chocolate, walks or bike rides in nature, playing board games, or cooking a seasonal dinner with vegetables bought at the market and red wine.
Once you consciously discovered these small moments of happiness you will get to enjoy this winter period like you never did before.
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