This week I have noticed my rapidly decreasing levels of energy as we progress from autumn to winter. Are you feeling it too? I recall a conversation I had a while ago with my great coach Julie Leoni about ‘going with it’, and living with the flow of the seasons. Winter is after all a time of retreat in nature. Trees have shed their leaves. Animals hibernate. Energy is focused within, and wintertime fosters quiet, inward reflection and regeneration. So naturally, taking it easier as these cold months roll in, and embracing ‘slow living’ feels right.
Hakim Archuletta beautifully wrote:
‘And even though we may not stop to drink in these phenomena of seasonal change or even be able to sense it, we are affected, and we should be. It sets into action the processes in our bodies needed to deal with the warmth and quality of our new world that will be filled with more activity, with flowers and eventually fruit. Our blood knows it, our liver knows it. Our lungs send the subtle smells into the blood and they awaken all they reach and the same process is enacted within, tulips of hormones, and grass blades of enzymes on the inner landscape. This in turn even changes our speech, our appetites, even our gait. One hakim (a practitioner of traditional medicine) said: ‘Our senses write our impressions on our blood and our blood in turn on our perceptions.’
Typically, my deep rooted mindset fought this suggestion to slow down; ‘I’ll never get anything done! Of course, it required a change from what I was used to - if I slowed down, I would achieve less, there are only so many hours in the day, but what was it that was taking up my time? Events I ‘should’ attend? Travel and meetings that were unnecessary? Thoughtless consumerism?
By embracing slow living this winter, I am instead becoming more mindful about what I CAN do, instead of what I can’t. Being more intentional about using my time and energy, is inevitably more fulfilling as I choose to focus on the things I am passionate about, and work more efficiently by opting to forgo any extra or overly ambitious goals. Slow living and flexible working for me means taking time to prioritise my to-do list, and letting go of the personal pressure to be frantically busy 24/7.
Take working on The Hills for example - I have organised my business to be able to work whenever, and wherever, I want. This remote working comes with a variety of benefits, but not least is that it fits around my lifestyle, whatever the season. Many studies have shown that remote working allows us to be more productive and much happier – having the choice to either work from an office or remotely gives staff a sense of freedom and generates less stress. I don’t find it surprising that it is predicted that 50% of the UK workforce will be able to work remotely by 2020!
Even more excitingly, is that motivated by the prospect of a better work-life balance, easy access to the great outdoors and cheaper living costs, more people are taking advantage of the flexible work practices afforded by technology and moving out of urban centres towards our beloved countryside. Swapping city living for a rural idyll was once associated with the golden age of retirement, but a growing number of younger workers are exchanging urban postcodes for a place in the country. Research by Hamptons International shows that almost 94,500 people made the move out of cities to the countryside over the past 12 months – 16 per cent more than in 2016 and the highest number since 2007. Fantastically, up to 30 per cent of leavers are in the 20-to-29 age group, according to additional figures from Humberts.
Could this indicate an entire country and generations embracing the slow living lifestyle? I really do hope so, and look forwards to welcoming more beautiful businesses, creatives and inspiring people to our Hills!