As the winter months approach, don’t shy away from the natural tendency to turn inward for a period of restful contemplation. Just as summer’s sunshine and bright blooms invite playfulness and exploration, we can take our signals from the natural world around us to appreciate winter as a time of dormancy and rest, even as you work to envision a new future for yourself and your professional life.
Rest isn’t lazy; it’s strategic.
During winter in nature, crucial processes are occurring that remain invisible to us – but that invisible work is actually the most important. None of Spring’s growth could occur without it.
Setting the stage for a balanced life, at home and at work, must mean dedicating time to rest, think, reflect, pamper yourself, and give self-recognition.
In Western culture, any moment of pause can often be seen as a point of laziness, but this internal work is just as demanding and just as essential as the work that is external.
Imagine what your days would be like if you continuously deprived yourself of sleep. You would experience daytime drowsiness, confusion, and eventually, exhaustion. Your brain would struggle just to survive, let alone replenish itself. It would be impossible to recover with a single night of sleep; you would need weeks to heal.
When we put our bodies through nonstop, go-go-go, full-throttle work – especially as entrepreneurs or leaders – we give little time to ourselves for rest, and the consequences are burnout, loss of momentum, and abandonment of our ideas.
In order to create a balanced, sustainable lifestyle, you must recognize the seasons for momentum and the seasons for pause.
Generating energy from within
Many entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders have come to rely on external feedback, conditions, and validation to measure our success and gain energy and momentum.
But our most meaningful and truest value lies within the feedback and recognition we give to ourselves, and the best source of energy and action we have is our own internal motivation.
When we take the time and effort to recognize ourselves for our efforts, we grow our own confidence organically – and powerfully. Winter is the perfect time to focus on ourselves and our inner value, building the mental, emotional, and physical capacity to freely rely only on ourselves to measure our value.
One way to access your own energy is to reflect on the past. Here are a few questions to help guide you through your reflections on the past year to consider what the year has brought into your personal and professional life – and to celebrate the role you played in making it happen!
- What are the top 3 things you are proud of at work? How did it make you feel?
- What worked well for you at work? Why? What did you do to make it work?
- What didn’t work so well? Why? Was it under your control?
- How did you manage your time?
- How did you manage your energy?
Take these reflections as an opportunity to build your strength, taking the time to process through the emotions and intellectual insights they might bring. In doing so, you continue to strengthen your deepest self.
Maximize your winter season
From a planning perspective, now is the time to outline the ways in which you might make the most of this period of time. Here are ten suggestions for ways to maximize your winter season and prepare yourself for the seasons ahead.
- Get to know your true self.
- Demonstrate gratitude toward yourself through journaling, video, or audio recordings.
- Identify what you truly want: What kind of working life and personal life do you wish to have for yourself?
- Use your reflections from the past year to make important decisions for the year to come; there is no need for the upcoming year to look the same as it did the years before.
- Enjoy the light! Especially if you live in a place that experiences winter darkness, take advantage of the sun, taking walks in nature, breathing deeply outdoors, and then enjoying a hot cup of your favorite comforting drink when you get back home (or back to the office!).
- Educate yourself on how to manage your stress and improve balance in your life; learn new healthy habits for your working life.
- Treat yourself. You are your best asset. You deserve this.
- Look for ways to nurture your mind, your soul, and your natural talents and interests.
- Read a good book (or a few!). Need ideas? We’ve got plenty of great recommendations!
- Adopt a mindfulness or meditation practice, taking advantage of the quiet contemplation this season brings.
Looking ahead to the following year
We promise: Taking this time to reflect, refill your energy reserves, and get support will make a world of difference in your productivity going forward.
We are here to help you close your year in an elegantly beautiful way- full of reflection, hope, and rejuvenation. We hope you take some of these insights to heart to get yourself ready to tackle everything the new year brings with reaffirmed strength, confidence, focus, and clarity.
Take the time to reflect, take the time to refill your energy, get support! We are here to help and close the year beautifully, get yourself ready to tackle 2023 with reaffirmed strength, confidence, focus, and clarity.