With 12 days remaining until Christmas, it can be easy to get caught up in the holiday rush and miss the simple pleasures of the advent season.
If you long to slow down a bit, here are some ideas:
1. Get up 15 minutes early. I love the quiet of the morning, when I drink coffee, read and pray before the day starts. It’s funny how this small, simple ritual can set my day on a good course. Perhaps you’d like to set your alarm a little early and enjoy a relaxing start to your day.
2. Take a mid-day walk. Take a break from work, get a little exercise, get outside and clear the mind a bit — these are all good things that will pay big benefits.
3. Unplug at the end of the day. Giving our souls an occasional break from phones, computers and television can be healing and energizing. Turn everything off and enjoy a simple evening making dinner together, reading a good book, enjoying the lights of the Christmas tree, or sitting in front of the fire.
4. Look for winter’s beauty. Grab your camera and explore the winter landscape. One frosty morning I noticed the puffs of snow on the dried chive plant seed heads in the garden and snapped the photo at the top of this post. Sometimes if I crouch down low, I see things that I might otherwise have missed. What will you see?
5. See through the eyes of gratitude. The oranges are so good right now, and yesterday I ate one slowly enough to really appreciate it. When I cut the orange I was struck by the beauty and order of the sections inside, and when I ate the fruit I was so blissed out by its sweet flavor. I also thought — what a privilege to have access to oranges in Colorado in December. Wow.
And then I looked up and saw the sunshine hitting the bowl of oranges, and my heart felt full. Writing in a gratitude journal also helps me stay focused on all the good in my life.
6. Make time for fun. Our 90-pound lab Boo loves to romp in the snow, and I can never resist her invitation to go outside and play. What sounds like fun to you this holiday season? Play a game, go ice skating, see a movie — whatever you love to do, schedule some time for laughs and fun.
7. Give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing. I love the idea behind the Italian phrase dolce far niente, sweet doing nothing. Some of my sweetest memories are of times spent doing nothing in particular, just enjoying the moment. This holiday season, give yourself the gift of dolce far niente…. you deserve it.
During these busy, precious days before Christmas, I wish you time for simple pleasures and the things that really matter.