In praise of hibernation

In praise of hibernation

Nature beckons us to hibernate come Winter but since the modern age kicked in, with lights, power and a disconnect from the ways of the countryside, we so often resist the lure. 

But, think of endless cups of great coffee, wood fires and a quieter WhatsApp. Maybe hibernation, our own kind of modern life hibernation, is just what we need after all? It sounds tempting doesn’t it? 

We have left behind so much of the wisdom of the old ways, some of it deservedly so (very thankful for modern medicine!) but I believe there’s a lot to be reclaimed. 

To go one step further, perhaps a lot of what we suffer from in life today is a result of this chronic disconnection from nature and seasonal rhythms? 

A reminder, I lived in cities my whole life until we moved to our farm in Wales three years ago. So I know how far fetched talk of living with the seasons can sound when you’re caught up in the daily grind of commuter life. But, I also know it’s possible to intentionally seek out connection with those things that nourish us - even in the heart of London. 

I have lived and loved both city and country life and I am determined to make some of the blessing of country ways possible to absorb in a city life because, well, we can’t all become farmers can we? That’s part of the heart behind our candles. We pour them as invitations to connect with every season and season of life. 

So, back to hibernation. It is possible to slow down and hibernate wherever you are. And after the year we’ve had I think it’s not just a nice thought but rather a vote for survival to indulge in a little hibernation this year.

Now, extroverts, before you click away, dismissing me as another hygge loving introvert, hear me out.

The Call To Hibernate 

Winter is almost upon us and with it three months intended for hibernation. Nature slows to a stop, encouraging us to rest instead of work. 

Since moving to the farm I’ve become even more aware of the extent of which nature really does stop over winter. 

When I lived in London, in busy Zone 2, Winter simply meant a more disgusting experience on the tube with slippery floors and windows wet with condensation. Sure the leaves dropped to the ground in Autumn but that was about the only sign that nature was pausing. 

Now, living as I do, surrounded by Welsh hills and vast forests, I notice that the grass in our fields isn’t growing anymore. Our ducks have stopped laying their eggs. The weeds aren’t shooting up on the driveway and our hedges don’t need cutting back. The owls now begin their chorus at the end of the afternoon and rabbits and squirrels, usually a frequent sight, are few and far between. 

Everything that’s usually so abundant and quick in nature becomes slow and scarce. 

Since leaning into seasonal rhythms I find I’m more comfortable with winter meaning a slowing down and a scarcity for me too. Where before I’d fight the tide and book endless social events and commit to a million life admin jobs I now find myself relishing the thought of doing little and achieving even less. 

Resting Is Productive

Think about how when dough rests, it rises. As it sits still, snug in a warm place it is actually transforming, it’s growing. 

This principle applies to us too. As we rest, we rise. We increase. We are transformed. 

As we rest, we rise.

Modern life tells us that we must push on. Do more, be more. Produce, achieve and hustle. But when I pause and listen to a whisper more ancient, more true, I find a more compelling wisdom. 

As we yield to a season of rest maybe we’ll emerge in spring more authentically us. Able to be present, to engage meaningfully and to live our days with purpose. 

Energy To Dream Again

A friend and fellow business owner recently asked how we get our heads around planning the next year.

Our answer? In addition to getting organised and using simple planning software like Trello and Notion to help us work months in advance. In addition to those, practical ways of staying organised - we allow time for daydreaming. 

Unless you give yourself the time and space to dream and imagine, how are you supposed to plan the years ahead and take concrete steps forward? Without a dream to pursue we are simply lost in a cycle of producing and growing for the sake of it.

Which, as you’ll know if you’ve been there, just feels hollow. 

Winter can be the time for daydreaming. It can be a formative period of downtime where we rest, in order to rise. 

Easy Ways To Hibernate This Winter

Clear your schedule, dramatically. If it doesn't spark joy and free up your brainspace to rest and dream then, if you can, cancel it. 

Line up a stack of new-to-you books (if you need recommendations, try messaging your friends for the best book they've read this year) and podcasts (how about Beth Kempton's Calm Christmas) and start your evening with an hour of reading, or listening with a drink. 

Book in some quality time. Think of the people you really want to see over the festive period, the people who champion and encourage you and book quality time with each of them. 

Connect with nature. Order a wreath-making kit and make your own at home one afternoon. Explore a park that's new to you. Day trip out to a gorgeous garden, light festival or national park. 

Watch all of the Christmas films. You know those awful but brilliant Christmas films that Netflix is filled with? Watch them. Have your go-to drink in hand, your feet up and a blanket over your lap. 

Seek inspiration. As well as the Christmas films, which really are just to help you feel that festive tingle, watch and read things that inspire you too. Chef's Table is brilliant for this. Or any incredible nature documentary on the BBC. Make the next few weeks a time when you seek inspiration to spark your own blue sky thinking. 


And remember to silence the voice that tells you you should be doing something or achieving something. If you manage to rest and rest well this Winter then you have achieved something incredible. 

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