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Slow Living for the Winter Months

Winter is a season of hibernation, and while in our modern world we might be encouraged to keep pushing on and maintain a frantic pace, knitting can teach us to embrace the slowness of the season in a myriad of ways. While there are so many reasons to take up knitting, slowing down, practicing patience and taking time out for ourselves is a key benefit of this wonderful craft. And this is a mindset with implications that go way beyond knitting. This Winter, I want to encourage you to find ways to opt out of the constant hustle, to mirror the natural world in finding moments of stillness, slowness, and rest. This will look different for everyone, but I hope you can find some inspiration in these ideas!

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Our systems are naturally more sluggish in Winter and intense exercise may not feel good this time of year. On the flipside, we may be tempted to withdraw indoors and totally hide from the cold (I’m certainly guilty of this). But winter certainly has its own beauty and getting out for a walk is the perfect way to keep moving while also taking in the unique scenery at this time of year. Remember to wrap up in all your woolly clothes – this is where being a knitter comes in handy!

If you’re trying to slow down and be present in the moment, there’s nothing that interrupts that peace like the buzzing of notifications reminding you of the things you haven’t done, the people you need to reply to and the unending flow of news. And we don’t need to retire to an off-grid cabin to gain a little bit of that solitude back for ourselves. Sometimes, just putting our phone away on silent for one day, or even 1 hour can make a world of difference. You might not realise how much of a stress it was until you try going without it! 

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Slow living isn’t about convenience, it’s about considering what we may have lost in the rush towards convenience. Sure, we can buy a loaf of bread from the shops, just like we can buy machine-knitted clothing, but we’ll miss out on the slow satisfaction of the process. I love baking sourdough for this very reason. I tend to my bread over the course of three days, letting time do the work of fermentation, and reaping the flavour and nutritional benefits in the final produc (shown in my latest bake above!). If you’re looking for a new challenge, why not give it a try? You can learn to make a starter here and a beginner’s loaf here. Or if you just want to dip your toes in, you could stick to a simple loaf with yeast, such as this one. 

With shorter days and longer nights, there is a reason we’re often more tired in Winter! And this isn’t necessarily something we need to push through or ignore. Taking the time to get the rest we need doesn’t make us lazy, and as cyclical creatures, that rest will look different at different times of the year. So, if you can, lean into it a little. Set the alarm a little later, sleep in a bit at the weekend, curl up in bed with a hot water bottle a little bit earlier than you would in Summer. Your energy will thank you!

Slowing down is a pre-condition for self-reflection. If we’re constantly caught up in the rush, we deny ourselves the opportunity to think about how we really feel and what we really need and want from our lives. Winter is a natural time to turn inwards to do this work and journaling is a great way to get going. Even taking ten minutes a day to sit down with a pen and paper and only our thoughts for company can be a game changer! And if you’re looking to reflect on your knitting practice, check out my article: Journaling Prompts for Mindful Knitters. 

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There’s something special about treating yourself to something you might normally wait for other people to do! And time by ourselves allows us to sit with our thoughts and in a way we can’t in company. So go on, head out to your favourite cafe, find a cosy corner and, while you’re sitting there, maybe challenge yourself not to occupy yourself with your phone or anything else. Take some time to sit, sip slowly and savour your warm drink of choice, notice your surroundings and engage in some people watching.

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Lighting a candle is a wonderful winter ritual, for cold early mornings or evenings cosied up inside. Aside from the atmosphere it creates, the act of taking the time to create some ambiance and perhaps taking a few minutes to watch the flame can be a moment of self-care and mindfulness that you carve out of your day. Our favourite candles are from The Botanical Candle Co. and The Mindful Apothecary, though if you’re feeling crafty, you could make your own! Mix equal parts beeswax and coconut oil in a double boiler, add any essential oils you fancy, and pour into an old jar with a wick in (wooden wicks are my favourite for the crackle).

Slow living isn’t about doing all the things, just at a slightly slower pace. It’s about tuning into and getting clear on our priorities, to the aspects of our life that we find more or less meaningful. Nobody can, or should, “have it all.” Sometimes it’s about turning something down to get some much-needed you-time or time for the people who bring you joy. By letting some expectations and obligations fall by the wayside, we can make more time for the things and the people that matter most to us and we can spend that time less stressed and more present!

What are you favourite ways to slow down and stay present during the Winter months? Do you have any special rituals or routines? Let us know in the comments! 

As always, we’d love to hear from you, in the comments below or on Instagram! You can tag us at @along.avec.anna or use the hashtag #alongavecanna!

Stay warm and cosy!

Sarah xxx

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