Want to know something I hate? Busyness. I absolutely cannot stand a hectic schedule, rushing around, never feeling fully present. And it seems like December, more than other months, can get so filled with activities [fun activities even] that it seems like the month is gone before it even starts. Unfortunately these first few days of December have been filled with unavoidable busyness for us as we continued to work at our new store location and participated in Clear Lake's Christmas by the Lake event. It was certainly fun to see so many families enjoying the gorgeous weather and time together on Saturday, and we loved getting to give sneak peeks of the new store to our customers who stopped by. However, on Friday as we were making treats and preparing for Christmas by the Lake, I have to admit I was feeling annoyed about the weekend's festivities. Our annual Mother-Daughter-Granddaughter Outing to Festival of Trees was planned for Friday evening, and by 2:00 that afternoon I still had many things left to do. I even considered canceling at one point during the afternoon. It seemed so overwhelming to go when there was work to be done. I had no shoes to wear with the dress I bought for the event. The girls needed new tights and no store in town had them, and Gabby had outgrown her dress shoes. We were supposed to leave at 5:45, but at 6:00 I was still trying to get myself ready. I was tired, crabby, and all I could think about was how I would have to work until 2AM to finish everything for the next day's event.
On the short drive to the Festival, I knew I had to do something. My circumstances were not going to change. My to-do list wasn't going to get any shorter. The number of hours left in the day was not going to change either. But, my attitude could. I had an opportunity to choose to slow down my pace for a window of time. So, rather than rushing through the evening and hurrying back to work, I hit pause, cleared my mind, and chose to be fully present. By the time we got to One Vision and checked our coats, I was filled with joy and gratitude that I was able to spend an evening with my mom and daughters, some of my favorite people in this world. It was a wonderfully slow evening. We admired the beautifully decorated trees, enjoyed appetizers and desserts (we even found a yummy GF pumpkin dessert and peanut butter chocolate rice crispie bars that were GF), and most importantly we enjoyed our time together.
Again Saturday, after we finished selling at Christmas by the Lake, I had a choice to make. I could stay and clean up the huge mess [that definitely needed to be cleaned up] or I could slow down and enjoy some time with my family. I chose the latter. We headed to Kragel's and cut down our Christmas tree, followed by some Christmas shopping with my oldest daughter at Larson's Mercantile, the light parade, fireworks, making homemade pizza and apple cider and watching the kids decorate the tree. Trust me, it wasn't easy. I knew the store was still a mess. I could see my house was a mess. The dishes needed to be done. The laundry was piling up. There was much work to do. But slowly I've been learning that sometimes there are simply more important things to do. And if you don't slow down, you'll miss it.
Now of course the mess was still there when I finally got around to dealing with it. And yes, there are many things in life that we cannot avoid doing. There are also many good things that we can and should spend our time doing. However, I am recognizing more and more how important it is to choose to slow down. We all have the opportunity to decide how we will spend our time and at what pace we will live. Our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being depends on us choosing well. Other than carving out time to spend with loved ones, there are some other practices for slower living that I am embracing. Here are my Top 5 Ways to Practice Slower Living this season:
5. Do 5 minutes of deep (belly) breathing and meditate on what you're thankful for before going to sleep each night.
4. Take a magnesium bath at least once/week.
3. Drink a cup of tea and read something (not on a screen) first thing when you wake up.
2. Drive around to look at Christmas lights at least once.
1. Dedicate an afternoon to making holiday treats, and then give them to your neighbors (we like to sing a few carols when we deliver) and anyone else in your life who serves you in some way. My kids' teachers and bus drivers, our mail carrier, garbage collection workers and public librarians are on my list.
I'm looking forward to hearing stories of how a slower-paced December blessed you and your families! If you happen to be looking for a quality magnesium bath flake or a new herbal tea to try, we have great options available at Simply Nourished. We reopen this Saturday, December 9th from 10-4 and our normal winter hours will continue next week. Winter hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 11-6 and Saturday 10-2. Looking forward to connecting soon!