I love December. The traditions surrounding Christmas are lovely, but even more than the holiday itself, I love the days after, when the big celebration is over. In those days between the holiday rush and the energy of beginning a new year, there's a little gap I like to spend in retreat from the world.
I hide out at home with great leftovers of food, candy and cookies, I take walks in the snow if there is any, I sniff our Christmas tree and sink deep into my books.
And I create. Last year, I remember slow moments with my camera and painting little paintings. This year, I will write. I'll make a little creative winter retreat for myself and it's just what I need.
This time of year, when it's far from the summer and easy to fly through the holiday in full speed, I encourage you to consider slowing down. Spending some time on you and your creativity. Might not a homemade winter retreat be the perfect gift to give to yourself? At least, I think so.
The importance of slow moments
Most of us live quite busy lives. Job or exams, kids or multiple interests, maybe all of it at once, and then some creative dreams to top that off. Making it all fit together is a struggle, and one many of us fight to keep our balance throughout the year.
To keep fatigue away, we need our slow moments. Not just zombie style on the couch in front of Netflix, but the moments when we have energy to live but we choose to spend them slowly.
It might mean tea and books, or walks and podcasts, or drawing, painting, knitting, writing or spending some time with your camera. Whatever the activity, we are there, calmly, without deadlines and distractions if possible.
To create slowly can be incredibly powerful, especially if you usually keep up the pace to finish what you're making. It can open you up to new ways of going about your craft and it can allow you to sink deeper into what you're creating.
To always move on to the next thing can keep you from developing into the deeper, next level in your craft. Slow moments can help you grow.
The benefit of retreating from the world
As great as the outside world is, and as lovely as your life might be, taking a step back from it every now and then is incredibly valuable. You reload your batteries for when it's time to come back, you refresh your perspective and see your life with new eyes.
Things that weighed you down and problems that felt impossible to solve might suddenly have an obvious solution. You gain the clarity of not being in the middle of your every day thought-process.
If you do a lot of creating today, maybe a step back from certain parts of your creative life is what you need too. I'm not going to write or publish any blog posts, to take a little break and start the new year refreshed. Perhaps something like that would benefit you too?
When you retreat from the world, you can find the silence needed to focus on one thing. Without the noise and the rhythm of every day life, there's space to dive deep into a project and stay there until you decide to return to the world. Refreshed, with new perspectives and important work done.
The magic of making yourself a priority
The holidays is a time of family and community, and retreating to work on a creative project might not be entirely easy. Maybe it's not even what you want, maybe you want to cherish this time and spend it with your loved ones. Then that's of course what you should do.
But if you are like me, and when the big fuss of celebration is over prefer to retreat and have a couple of quiet days, don't feel bad or awkward about making that choice. Find a way to create those moments for yourself, even if it's between everything else. Protect them, if they are important to you.
When you make you, your needs and your dreams a priority, that's when you're able to create and live the life that fits you best. Which in turn makes you happier, and a more fun person to be around.
For me, I choose a creative winter retreat in those precious days between celebration and the new year. What do you choose?