5 things I learned from slowing down

Most of us thought we would be doing something else, or would be somewhere else at this point in time - but ‘Life Happens’. 

Earlier this year, Patrick and I were packing up our Manhattan apartment, planning to move back to the beautiful and peaceful city of Dalian, China, where we originally met. 

Little did we know, that a few months later we would be living in sunny Florida.

This year definitely brought new challenges to everyone, but challenging situations are often lessons in disguise. Therefore it is our reaction that will impact the results the most.

As I am writing this, I am noticing that the word ‘learn’ is holding the word ‘earn’ inside it.

We are all learning lessons in handling uncertainty while practicing patience. We were forced to ‘slow down’ and rethink our steps.

Here are my learnings:

1. Wait a minute, where exactly am I running to?

The last few years included a very hectic routine: Meetings, E-mails, sketching, events coordination, events execution, photo-shoots, rushing to meet deadlines, flights, working long hours, nearly no weekends, juggling between the office and the store, as well as nighttime communication with the overseas office.

Looking back, I'm not sure how I did it, but it was my routine - and I loved it.

The global pandemic shifted gears for everybody, one way or another. Perspectives evolved, and priorities were further brought to awareness.

‘Ambitious me’ realized that life happens now, and it is time to take a chill-pill and enjoy a more balanced life.

2. It’s OK to rest, it is even important.

We were fortunate to spend the lockdown period at my in-laws’ house, where we had quality family time. Before that extended stay, while caught in hectic schedules, we were only gathering with family for relatively short visits in Cincinnati, in New York, and in Israel. But this unique time was a precious opportunity, which we were aware of and cherished.

Going from waking up early and working nearly 7 days a week, suddenly getting good rest started to make so much sense.

Being productive has always been important to me, and that is probably the reason why, as a habit, I would not feel comfortable resting much - even feeling guilty. I know this is in the mind of many other women too. There is no need to feel bad taking a break and resting - in fact, it is important for our immune system!

3. Enjoying the little things

2 years ago, while sitting by myself on the rooftop terrace of the building we were living in, I shuffled a stack of daily inspiration cards, curious to read which message will appear. My card said “Enjoy the little things, because later you will find out these were the big things.” After reading the card, I thought to myself, I already know to enjoy the little things… I should take another card.

I reshuffled the cards, and selected another card. To my surprise, the card that came up was the exact same card! In that moment I realized there must be something to it, and I need to apply this message further, which I did.

But now I am aspiring to take it to the next level - to not only enjoy and appreciate the little things, but also to celebrate them! Celebrating sweet little moments, as well as celebrating every little success.

4. Making plans is important - but so is being flexible

I am a strong believer in being proactive, and making things happen. But this period of uncertainty shows us that we cannot predict & manage our schedules as well as we thought we could, therefore it is good to be humble & flexible about it.

When we decided to close the retail store at the end of 2019, and to transition to ‘online only’, there were mixed feelings all around. But in retrospect, it was indeed for the better.

Life takes you on a certain journey to where you need to be. Patrick and I truly wanted a place to enjoy green nature and dogs. Yet all along we thought that buying a house with a yard would happen at a later stage in our lives - but with all that has been happening, we suddenly realized that now is the time.

5. Spending time in nature is essential to achieve a peaceful mind

While in the suburbs of Cincinnati we got to spend time around the house, surrounded by nature, hearing the birds and the squirrels, and we became more grounded.

Remembering that we are in fact - part of nature, is helping to keep things in perspective. In this pastoral environment, it became easier to listen to my intuition, the 6th sense, much easier than it was in the heart of Manhattan. 

Spending more time in nature has me feeling more in-tune, and it feels right.


With all of these learnings resulting from current times, we now lead a different lifestyle, and I can now spend more time on additional passions of mine, such as song writing, children’s book illustrating & other creative projects - while having dogs around :)


Each ‘Life Happens’ blog post will include a monthly challenge, and the essence of the challenge is creating win-win situations!

Monthly challenge:
Each day, try to give a candid compliment to a person you meet in person or talk on the phone with (social media compliments do not count in this challenge). It can be a person you know well or not. And the compliment needs to be heard clearly - even through a mask… in addition, give a candid complement to yourself about the daily progress you are making. A candid good word has a wonderful impact, which we all need.
Also, I would love to hear your thoughts and your learnings from slowing down in the comments below!



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  • Hartje Andresen on

    Very well written, thank you for sharing your journey and insights! I am still very much in the learning stages of all of this – still feeling guilty when I take a break, and feeling an underlying sense of uncertainty in everyday life…it is such a big adjustment from how life used to be! I think a lot of people have become more aware of their own mental health these past months and are realizing how important things like mindfulness, gratitude and nature are for us, but it takes consistent practice to stay “in tune” with yourself. Loving the idea of your monthly challenges!!!

  • Shirly on

    Great article Hen and I really relate. I am working crazy hours, going to classes, doing sport, meeting friends, travelling etc…. My goal for this year is to slow down, take more time to think and plan. It applies to everything from waiting before answering to someone, to planning better at work, to going slower in relationships. I started taking some time for me in the eves and went back to reading books and its wonderful. I also started doing some meditation and it helps as well. Will focus more on budism and mindfullness this year. Besides that nature is the best thing, unfortunately now we are in lockdown, but I am enjoying as I always do the sun, stars, clouds, sea and the park

  • Judith Davis on

    N I’m so happy that you and Patrick have stayed and have settled in FL! I too am fortunate to live in a beautiful place with my wonderful husband and family nearby.
    So here are some things that have helped me during crazy times.
    Do things that scare you they make you stronger.
    Rest is a weapon! Get as much as you can.
    Never give up! Things may not happen the way you thought they should but sometimes it’s better than you could have ever imagined.
    Be flexible. You can always take the time if someone needs your help. Who cares if you don’t get everything done?
    Don’t do guilt!!! Only you can make yourself feel guilty.
    Enjoy every moment with your family especially your grandchildren. They are facing all kinds of new challenges.
    Help out wherever you can, donate your time, food, clothing so many people are having a hard time making it day to day. Be supportive and have empathy towards others, you have no idea what they have been going through.
    Stay positive! Have an open mind and listen to other points of view.
    Be humble and kind.

  • Debbie Knight on

    Hen I have always been that type of person that doesn’t slow down. But as I sat in my yard one day I realized that I was soon going to be 65 and that I needed to slow down and take care of myself because in this day and age people are so self centered that they really don’t care if you are doing to much they will continue to drain the very life out of you. So I use to do two jobs a day I only do one. Less money but less stress. I am at the age where I should slow down but being a divorced woman on her on well just can’t happen. You know I already live close to nature but I find most of my healing time comes when I’m on a beach. Walking in the sand barefoot and feeling the sun and saltwater and that wonderful breeze is so refreshing. I’m glad you are close to the beach now. Don’t forget to take your shoes off ❤️

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