Winter scene from Arboretum in Ottawa for "Little things" blog post on Pen to Paper.

The little things

I wasn’t entirely surprised when I woke up suddenly at 4 a.m. one Monday morning with a lengthy to-do list running on a repeat loop through my head.

The source of this to-do list was obvious with Christmas less than two weeks away, and we happen to be hosting part of my family’s celebrations this year. On top of that, this holiday season also finds me in the midst of launching my own business. (Slow clap to myself for that impeccable timing…)

This particular Monday morning, I woke up to find our neighbourhood blanketed with more than 15 cm of fresh snow. Now, this is certainly not a weather phenomenon here in Ottawa where a forecast for a “snowmaggedon” is what we call a regular Tuesday between November and March, but this was the first major snowfall of the season.

In the early morning hours, our street was a picture-perfect winter wonderland. It was a scene straight out of a movie – all that was missing was a horse-drawn carriage and Bing Crosby singing.

Everything was quiet, save for the sound of someone shovelling somewhere down the street. Everything seemed to slow down and take a more relaxed pace.

I found myself smiling while I sipped my morning coffee and watched the snow to continue to fall. After weeks of rushing around with holiday prep and business planning, I felt a sense of calm come over me while taking in the winter scene outside. It was one of those moments in life that make you stop and truly appreciate the simple and everyday things that we all too often rush by or ignore – a beautiful, snow-covered winter morning.

It was a snow day for students across the city, and I decided that I was going to treat myself to a bit of a snow day as well. (I say “a bit of a snow day” because there was still some business to take of, after all!)

After shovelling the driveway and chatting with neighbours who also seemed to be embracing the snow day feeling, I came inside for a mug of hot apple cider while reading the news. (Okay, okay – so I only shovelled part of the driveway. Fine – it was the top step of our walkway. But I still think I earned that cider!)

My midday break that usually ends up involving laundry (thrilling, I know) was replaced with baking cookies while singing along to my Christmas playlist (full of Bing Crosby, of course).

And in true snow day style, the afternoon was capped off by challenging my husband to a snowball fight. I lost.

The best part of my self-approved snow day was that I didn’t feel guilty about taking a little time to treat myself. I felt recharged. And I was energetic and productive with the work that I still accomplished that day.

It’s the little things in life – like a tranquil snowfall, hot cider, and a Bing Crosby playlist – that can make a world of a difference.

Sometimes we’re just too busy – or think we’re too busy – to allow ourselves the indulgence. But every now and then, it’s okay to slow down and take a snow day.

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