By Leo Babauta
For the past couple of Decembers, I’ve created a lot of spaciousness and slowness for myself. It’s a beautiful way to wind down the year and reflect on my life.
The holiday season can be a rushed affair for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. I’d like to share a few ideas in slowing things down for the holidays.
If you’d like to create a slow holiday season for yourself, it’s doable, with intention.
Here are some ideas:
- Create space. Our days tend to be filled automatically, whether it’s with work tasks, emails and messages, social media, calls and meetings, or just random Internet stuff. If we want space, we have to create it intentionally — block off a full day or weekend for time away from devices, have a work stop time in the late afternoon or early evening, create blocks of time for rest or walks, have intentional tea time, meals, meditation, reflection, journaling. Whatever calls you, create the space for it.
- Celebrate slowness. Whether you create space or are going about your work or personal life … what would it be like to do it more slowly, instead of rushing? Could you celebrate slow meals, slow days of reading, slow mornings or evenings, slow cooking or cleaning? Think of it as a leisurely way of being deliberate about your activities. You can have a slow hour or two with loved ones, just taking time to be together without technology.
- Simplify celebrations. This is a great time to reduce the amount of holiday celebrations you take on. If you would normally do office Christmas parties and multiple celebrations with friends and families … this is a good year to let most of that go. Consider keeping it as simple as possible, so there doesn’t have to be a lot of preparation, travel, stress.
- Simplify gift giving. What if you didn’t have to buy a ton of gifts? You’d reduce stress for everyone involved, reduce the amount you spend, and reduce the impact on the environment. Consider having a conversation with family and friends, to do an exchange that would reduce the number of gifts you give … you might also consider giving experience gifts, making them some food or other consumables, something that wouldn’t cost a lot nor add to the pile of things in their closets. Let the holidays be about spending time together, not consumerism.
- Savor spaciousness. Whenever you get a little bit of space, really allow yourself to savor it. Can you find the deliciousness in the outdoors, in a quiet morning of reading, in a 20-minute meditation sssion, in taking a luxurious nap? Savoring can be a theme of the season, instead of getting through things.
- Create simple rituals. What small rituals will help you slow down, be intentional, and savor? Perhaps a morning reading or journaling ritual, some meditation or yoga, or a daily walk? Slow silent meals without a device, or an evening reflection? These can be daily rituals that help you keep your intentions.
- Reflect in quietude. You might spend some quiet time each day, or each week, reflecting on your life. Reflect on how this year has gone, on your victories and lessons. Reflect on what has been coming up for you lately, and what you might learn from all of it. Reflect on what you want in life, and how you might take responsibility for creating it. Reflect on what you love most, what is most important to you, what you’re grateful for.
You don’t have to do all of these — packing a long todo list is perhaps not quite aligned with Slow Holidays! But I hope these give you a few ideas to consider.
I wish you delicious slowness and joyful quiet this holiday season.