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I don’t know about you, but I had one heck of a hibernation period this winter. I mean, it was COLD and dark, and wet and we got quite a bit of snow. We don’t usually get much of any, and if we do it goes quickly. I’d say we had three months of potential snow an almost any day. Wow, that was a loooong cold snap.

I spent a lot of time in my home, watching movies or reading books, or writing, and didn’t venture outside very much at all. I suspect that is what it’s like elsewhere where snow is an annual concern, but this winter hit me harder than usual. However, I came out of that time more productive, feeling more positive, and with greater direction that I ever had prior. Let’s look at some reasons why that might be.

Having a lot of time to relax, ponder, dwell, and otherwise entertain yourself can be quite productive. That’s counter-intuitive to most of us when we first hear it because it’s not ‘doing’ much of anything.

But, what it allowed me to do is find a direction that I felt passionate about for my own reasons. It can give us some much needed down time to grapple with some deep questions that we may not have had the time to deal with previously. While in our preferred environment, when we might otherwise be doing a multitude of activities, we can spend more time thinking about our life’s direction, which can progress us along our desired path in life.

The couch or nest that we make for ourself can be very soothing, promoting what we feel is a safe environment from which to ply our thoughts toward things we might find fanciful, new, exciting, foolhardy, or scary. It can give us time to talk to friends and family that are supportive of deep conversation and meaningful exploration. It can also help us cope with any winter blahs, stress at work, and other pressing issues that may be bothering us during that time.

The idea that nesting or wrapping yourself up in a cocoon is wasteful might come from the notion that if we aren’t doing something we aren’t making any progress. I believe the benefits of cocooning behaviour comes under the 7th habit “Sharpen Your Saw”  as Steven R. Covey conveys in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“. We get a chance to rethink important aspects of our life to make sure we are moving in the right direction, and aren’t simply moving or doing because we fear stopping could be unproductive.

There are now more options available to the nest dweller, like movies, home shopping, excellent technology for working from home, and delivery of goods. The trend of consumers has been to create highly personal places to spend time in that have all the needs and wants included. These sanctuaries are refuges from the hustle and bustle of daily life as well as any stresses that come up in life. A 2014 Consumer Reports (US) article reported that there has been an increase in spending of 29% on TV repair and what were once luxuries (Coffee and premium cable) are now necessities.

Some have gone to the extreme in providing not only an atmosphere of cocooning, but suspended…with others. The Australian reported that New York’s Crunch Gym now has a new workout called Antigravity Cocooning. Go figure. It’s a blissful experience one can associate with deep relaxed meditation and you can do it in several different ‘nest’ arrangements alone or with others. Locally Float House has containers that promote floating in highly saline water for a similar effect.

These types of expenditures can get pricey, which is likely why many people are simply designing, to the best of their ability, their own nest or cocoon at home. We realize we don’t need so much space, so many rooms, or thousands of square feet of ‘living space. Thus the Tiny Home trend.

Personally, this is one of the first seasons that I really used my home as a nesting ground, and it allowed me to really think about some big questions in life. I came away with a greater appreciation for my life’s direction and a new focus on what really matter to me right now in my life.

This experience drove me to appreciate even more the down time we create, whether it’s meditating, reading, communing in Nature, or simply satisfying our desire to be wrapped in comfort, akin to our human beginnings in a sanctuary of our own making.

May your nesting time enhance your life when and where you need it!