Get Inspired!

Present buying, parties, mince pies, egg nog, food buying, COOKING, Christmas cards, more egg nog.

It’s official – this can be a very BUSY time of the year.

And as we know, busyness is the enemy of sitting down to paint.

Which is ironic, because painting can actually neutralise the feelings of being hurried:

“Art is the means we have of undoing the damage of haste” Theodore Roethke

So this week, to inspire you to make some space to slow down and paint over the holidays, I wanted to share with you the remarkable talk ‘When you feel the need to speed up, slow down’ by Kimi Werner.

Kimi’s a free-diver who had an encounter with a great white, which turned into a beautiful, experience of a lifetime, purely because she was able to SLOW right down instead of panicking and speeding right up!

Though it feels counter-intuitive, rejecting the ‘speed-up’ impulse is a great skill to develop.

The talk is quite long but the amazing shark incident is shown after only about 5 mins:

Naturally I need to take my own advice here.

I’ve actually just spent the majority of the last 6 weeks under a duvet.

Just as my to do list was growing to epic proportions with the addition of ‘Christmas Stuff’ I came down with flu.

Yes, ‘proper flu’, not just a cold.

For the first few days I tried to fight it (I did NOT have time to be ill!) but it just made matters worse.

So I had to give in, load up Netflix and let the to-do list fly out of the window.

And now, at last, I’m recovered!

We’re off to Germany for Christmas with my brother who lives there - even Dexter the dog is coming with us - he's excited to say that his pet passport is all up to date!

We’re traveling to Germany for Christmas with my brother who lives there – even Dexter the dog is coming with us – he’s excited to say that his pet passport is all up to date!

Our bodies DEMAND time to slow down, especially at this time of year when (in the northern hemisphere anyway) the days are so short. It’s what the Christmas holidays should be about.

So please don’t do what I did and power-on until your body forces you to have some down-time.

How about letting the Christmas meal, and the clearing up afterwards, be a team event?

Try not to take on too much, and find a couple of hours for a slow, relaxing painting session this Christmas.

I’d love to know – do you have any strategies for carving out time for yourself over the holidays?

Do you eat out for Christmas dinner, or perhaps you keep Christmas shopping to a minimum with a secret Santa? Please let us know in the comments below.

Happy relaxed holidays,

27 Comments
  1. Rachel Lordan 3 years ago

    Wishing you and your family a very happy and restful Christmas Anna. Love the photo of Dexter, don’t let him eat too much German sausage ! I hope 2016 brings you much good health, wealth and happiness.

  2. Doris Woodruff 3 years ago

    WOW you have the knack for hitting the proverbial nail on the head! GREAT ADVICE Anna! Sorry to hear you had flu (get a vaccine next year! )but I know how it works you just reminded me to slow down! every time I think I have to speed up!
    I got too FAST one year and got Shingles…great punishing reminder to live with balance. Our family christmas was a true team effort….as I sat and watched(I had already purchased precooked meats for my part) my grown children did funny dances all over the kitchen around each other going on scavenger hunts for the right pots etc! What a feast we had…best ever and did the sunday before christmas so their “other” families could have christmas with them. So much more important to spend time with those you love than buy gifts..which we have de emphasized….grandkids only and money works fine! Let them enjoy the shopping instead of stressing the adults:>) Hope y’all enjoy Germany with your pup too! Have fun and blessings to you all. Doris from Dallas

  3. Dom 3 years ago

    Looks delicious, good enough to eat, just needs a big spoon. Thanks Anna.

  4. Diane Schurman 3 years ago

    Thank you, Anna, for another wonderful video recommendation. It was perfect advice. As I get older, it gets easier to live a slower life, but it’s especially important to remember when we forget! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy new year!

  5. June Covey 3 years ago

    So sorry you have been laid low by the flu I know what it is like I have only had the real flu once and it was terrible and took me weeks to recover. You were probably trying to do too much Glad you are better for the Christmas break – enjoy it with your family and dog. I am very lucky this year as my daughter-in-law is doing all the Christmas cooking and I will have plenty of time to play with the Grand-daughter who is 4 (I started painting with her when she was 2 and every time I see her all she wants to do is paint with me it is wonderful. After that I will take some time to paint definitely. One tip I have to help with Christmas is to do online shopping, saves all that hassling around the food shops. I know some people like to do it, but I would rather be painting than being in crowded sainsburys or waitrose. Happy Christmas to you all.

  6. Tony 3 years ago

    Sorry to hear you had the dreaded flue but hope you are better now and looking forward to Christmas .
    I made all my cards this year and really enjoyed it so I don’t want to paint another sprig of holly till next year .i will be spending Christmas on my own but once I am in my nice warm kitchen with a paintbrush in my hand radio 4 on and I am lost in my own world for hours .Happy Christmas

  7. Ellis Iverson 3 years ago

    Very cool. Thanks for posting, your blogs are always interesting.

    Thanks again, and Merry Christmas !

  8. gloria jones 3 years ago

    I enjoy your posts. You are friend and teacher. I have taken up meditation for 10 minutes a day and hope to work up to 20 minutes. It makes a huge difference in my outlook and the way I pace myself throughout the day.

  9. Gregory Edmonds 3 years ago

    Hello Anna and friends.

    Here across the pond we are big admires of your work, and greatly appreciate your instructional skills.

    Your Dexter looks a lot like one of our girl dogs, “Trouble.” We hope you all have safe and happy (and healthier) travels over the Christmas and New Year Holidays, and look forward to future lessons.

  10. Vivienne 3 years ago

    Hi Anna, hope you are fully recovered from the flu. I watched the video fromstart to finish and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very sound advice. I remember my scuba diving training taught me that when I found myself in challenging situations, to stop, then think – and then act. It paid off a couple of times too. I wish a very happy Christmas to you and yours and thanks for all the great advice and inspiration.

  11. Carole 3 years ago

    Dear Anna … what a marvelous video you have included today. A true inspiration. I guess I have been in several situations where when frightened something slowed me down to the point where I could figure out the appropriate resolution. Just never put a name to it. So sorry you have been ill, nature’s way of slowing us down, and glad you are up and around and back to your normal self. Looking forward to seeing more of your lovely tutorials and finished paintings. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family. Thanks for sharing yourself with us.

  12. Kateri Ewing 3 years ago

    Anna,
    I think you have probably helped more people than you could ever have imagined sharing this marvelous woman’s journey. Thank you!
    Hopefully you are recovering nicely, and yes, enjoy Netflix, under the covers.
    Merry Christmas and a very Healthy New Year 2016!

    Kateri

  13. Eunice Moss 3 years ago

    Thank you Anna for another inspirational video. Sorry to hear you have been ill. Enjoy your time in Germany and take some peaceful walks with Dexter.
    Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year to you, Phil and Dexter.

  14. BJ Nichol 3 years ago

    Thank you for the great advice Anna. And so sorry you were ill at the worst time of year. We always get tiger with friends for the Christmas meal and everyone shares in bringing the food. That way it is not overwhelming for one household. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and your family. Love the pic of Dexter. Hope he is a good traveler.

  15. pattie jones 3 years ago

    Hope you feel better . Germany is a beautiful place to take walks and drink in the beautiful landscape. The people a food are special as well. Relax an enjoy………hugs

  16. Frances Kelly 3 years ago

    Merry Christmas fellow class mates….Oh, and to teacher too!! Here in seaside Melbourne down under, with 31 degrees temperature, the first thing tomorrow morning is to take the dogs,and myself for a swim, then barbecue lunch at friends …then back to the beach to swim off the lunch. Determined to get back into the classes as I love doing them. Life’s been a bit busy lately so, as our Teacher has said……..SLOW DOWN! Cheers Fran

  17. Maureen Tobey 3 years ago

    I was forced to slow down at the end of 2014 with needed surgery and having 2 months to recover changed my whole outlook. More time at home and with my family made me see what is most important in life. I recently requested fewer hours at work so I could spend more time painting and with family. The video you posted has layers and layers of meaning for me because this New Year is going to be quite a change for me but I’m going to be conscious of how this extra free time can be used for good and helping others. In your video, Kimi has the best perspective because we can rush to be successful and rich but it can result in feeling very empty. Thank you Anna and I hope you are feeling better – God bless!

  18. Linda 3 years ago

    New knee 12-14 so my Christmas was really low key. My wonderful husband took care of buying and cooking our dinner. My sister, daughter,and granddaughter took care of setting the table and carrying food. I had several rests on my bed. I found after my last knee you can not paint on pain killers. You get the brush loaded and forget what you were going to do with it. Another week and I will be able to do some simple painting. On FB with International Watercolor Society and viewed many lovely and exciting paintings.

  19. Robin Kinley 3 years ago

    I had a very hectic Christmas this year, torn between an autistic son and very elderly parents I helped during Christmas week. I just happened to buy your Craftsy class and it helped me relax these last few weeks and also look forward to some painting after all the fuss is over. Your approach to watercolors is so encouraging and you are so charming! I’m so glad you’re feeling better! I will recommend your class and website to others who paint. Have a lovely, colorful year!

  20. Irene Zaleski 3 years ago

    Tha Holidays are over & I finally made time for myself to read & watch the video “Feeling the need to speed up? Try slowing the down” inspirational piece. I love the advice and am taking it to heart! I’m passing it along to my family & hopefully they will get as much out of it as I have. Thanks again

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