3 min read

Winter Warmth: a cozy journey within

Winter Warmth: a cozy journey within
Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

I started the year feeling restless, struggling to find my jam, unlike my usual full-throttle start to the year. It wasn't until mid January that things clicked for me. I made a pact with myself to align more with the rhythm of the seasons, although only my subconscious seemed to stick to that agreement. Winter, I realised, is a time for stillness, deepening, and discovering what resides within. Ironically, it turned out to be great that I didn't dive into the new year with the typical burst of energy. Initially resistant to this, as the new year usually revolves around new opportunities, goals, and resolutions, I eventually accepted that it was okay to be where I was at that moment.

Last weekend, I continued an annual tradition with a friend—reflecting on the past year and looking forward. We use the podcast of Yoga Girl, guiding us with questions to put our stories on paper. It's a weekend full of reflection, a lot of talking, some running and we end the weekend with a plunge in the cold North Sea. Honouring the Dutch New Year’s tradition;) 

To see the way forward, look back

Looking back, 2023 has been an insane year. It feels like I've lived an entire lifetime in just one year—so many lessons, discoveries, and moments of happiness, for which I'm incredibly grateful. And there is always something tricky about going away and returning home. A pattern has emerged in my life: work, save money, travel, learn, return, work, save, travel, learn, and so on. While it's wonderful that this cycle exists, every time I depart, I leave something behind, and every time I return, I bring something with me. This time, it was clearer than ever that I didn't want to regress into the old patterns. It's challenging because when you've been away for six months, you return, and everything else is the same. Only you have changed. I didn't want to fall back into my old routines. Well, at least not entirely unconsciously, as occasional slips are inevitable. Central to all this is my desire to remain connected to myself and nature, consistently listening to the whispers of my heart as I’ve talked to you about before. 

Practically, this means consciously choosing where I invest my time, the type of work I engage in, and whether it sparks joy. Don't get me wrong; I don't believe everything has to be enjoyable. If there's one thing I've learned from cycling, it's that it's impossible. But by the end of the day, I want to believe that what I do contributes. This year feels like I've gathered the puzzle pieces to move to the next level.


One of the very exciting things of 2024 is that I've officially started my own venture and am working as a partner at WERK VANZELF, helping organisations operate from a place of trust. I aim to make my own energy the guiding force and deepen my connection with nature and the people I care about. Each year, I choose a word to serve as a guiding theme. This year, I chose "immersion." I want to blend the new and the old, continue feeling a part of the bigger picture, and serve what the world needs.

It might sound grand and perhaps a bit vague, but that's why I have the winter period—to delve deeper, explore what it means for me, and understand what I need to do to make it a reality. For now, I remain in my introspective safe and cozy space, listening to my body, staying active with yoga, and preparing to plant the seeds. My fire burns, keeping me warm, and in this active rest, answers are allowed to unfold.

How about you?

What are you leaving behind in 2023, and what are you carrying into 2024? Are you brewing something this winter? Are you already fully into your 2024 resolutions, or are they slowly fading away? My invitation to you is to look at it without judgment; we're already so hard on ourselves! Perhaps you can use this winter to dig a little deeper.

Yoga Girl Reflection 2023

Yoga Girl intention setting 2024