My husband and I both stopped working between Christmas and New Year, so had nearly 10 days of rest and relaxation. After the Christmas celebration, there weren’t many demands on our time, so it was wonderful to wake up in the morning and think about what we felt like doing that day instead of being ruled by the diary’s schedule. In hindsight, what I enjoyed the most was the ability to go slow. And that feeling is what I want to take into the new year with me.
I realise that life is very different when things are back to “normal” and you have to go back to work. But there are lots of things we can do to slow things down. I don’t have to look at the phone all the time: I can put it aside when I’m eating, or can check emails at certain times of the day. When I’m eating, I can try to do just that - just eat and enjoy my meal without looking at TV or reading the news.
Slowness also resonates with winter, the season that represents the most Yin aspect in Chinese medicine. Yin is the dark, cold, slow, inward energy, which is the opposite of the Yang of summer (think warmth, long days full of light, activity). Chinese medicine encourages us to be in harmony with the seasons - this is believed to contribute to good health and longevity.
So this January, try to rest more by sleeping early and getting up later. Turn your attention inward by reading, writing, meditating or learning internal exercises like t’ai chi or qi gong. Fill your reserves of energy so that you are ready for the outburst of activity when spring comes.