Sitting still and slowing down can tune us into the intricacy of the world around us.
Sitting still and slowing down can tune us into the intricacy of the world around us. iStock

Take it slow these holidays

SCHOOL holidays provide a much-needed time to slow right down, to rest, to renew.

In a recent article in the New York Times, journalist and author Bonnie Tsui discusses the importance of 'fallow time' - time in which very little happens - noting that giving time to rest and reconnection makes creativity and sustained productivity possible.

She describes the importance of taking time to engage in 'active refuelling', and that this might look like reading a book, sitting still, taking a walk, or going to the park or the beach.

This week I also listened to a talk by Ljiljana Rodic-Wiersma, a European researcher, focused on slow knowledge and slow ecology, and the importance of just letting ourselves 'be' in the natural world. She highlights the significance of taking 'time to experience' nature, and to just look, notice, and feel the connections and relationships we have.

The gifts of going slow and doing very little are rich and restorative.

One day my daughter and I were sitting outside on the steps, feeling the sun on our skin and noticing bugs and dew drops in the garden. It is not our typical behaviour. Normally we are rushing to various commitments, working and studying long hours.

This sitting still and slowing down tuned us into the intricacy of the world around us.

Together, we spent a leisurely hour watching a spider spin her web. I had never witnessed this wondrous art.

It was an extraordinary time of wonder, connection and restoration. We felt incredibly happy.

As we took the time to slow down and see, the spider gave us the gift of experiencing something complex and miraculous. It was a morning we will always remember.

Weekends and school holidays offer invitations to change the pace, to get outside, to notice, to feel, to restore, to 'just be', to practise fallow time.

If we are to avoid burnout, support our own health and wellbeing, and the health and wellbeing of our children, we need to make time for stillness and quiet and deliberately press pause on our always-on and always-available ways of learning and living.

We live in a world that values production and connection 24/7.

But fallow time is necessary, just letting ourselves be in direct experience with nature is necessary.

It supports our capacities to listen and connect to our bodies, emotions and hopes, to the earth, and those we love.