Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

By Gail Barker, B.A., C.P.C.C.

A change of seasons is in the air, and with the palpable shift in energy often comes a desire to nest. At least, that’s the common belief. Particularly as we transition from summer to fall and then from fall to winter, we are invited to prepare for what lies ahead, to settle down into a new space, more so than at any other time of year.

Why is that? Why does this time of year pull us toward a different sort of “preparation?” Here’s my take: nesting is about so much more than mere preparation. 

Being in preparation mode is about having a plan of action. It’s about clarifying your destination, choosing a direction, and then articulating and following a set of steps to move in that direction with a clear end in site.

Nesting, however, is bigger than that. Nesting is what happens when practical planning meets energetic awareness. Nesting requires us to pay attention to what’s happening on the inner landscape of our minds and bodies, what we feel in the energy around us, and what is calling to us beyond a particular outcome. This is why the call to nest is so powerful at this time of year.

Energetically, this time of year is about shifting energy, far more than it is about reaching goals and objectives. That’s not to say that we can’t set goals or objectives at this time of year. Nor is it to say that goals can’t be achieved during this season. Rather, it’s a reminder to us that at this time of year, it behooves us to consciously create the container in which we will achieve our goals and attain our objectives. 

This is the lesson that I myself learned many years ago—the distinction between “nesting” and “preparing.”  It was in the context of being pregnant with my first child (which likely won’t surprise you—this is a common experience). Prior to the nesting phase of my prenatal journey, I did a lot of planning. My husband and I were pretty deliberate about the nuts and bolts of what needed to be done: the appointments to attend, the furniture to buy, the financial details to take care of—all very practical things.

All of a sudden, there was a way that my heart got engaged in the process; my heart was paying attention to things like how I wanted to be as a parent. What was the energy of the home we were trying to create? How did we want to be with each other and with our child?

These same sorts of questions can be tweaked when we enter the nesting phase of any preparatory process. As I said earlier, within the grand context of life there’s a way that nesting energy seems to be more present in the fall of each year. That’s not to say that it’s the only time that it can happen, however. Nesting can happen any time you are engaged in a time of change. Nesting is about widening your planning lens, and softening your focus so that you don’t just pay attention to the practical, but instead stretch to include the energetic.

Important nesting questions can include the following:

Why does this matter?

What am I striving to create?

What problem am I solving?

What will be different when this is done?

How do I want to be?

How will this serve?

There are a myriad of other questions, obviously. And the common thread is the focus on a big picture engagement, the energy of the container in which goals are achieved.

Bottom-line: nesting isn’t something reserved for those who are about to expand their family. The nesting process is actually a pivotal piece of any planning process, one that happens naturally, and one that can be tremendously powerful when engaged in consciously. Give yourself permission to play in the energy of nesting, no matter what project you’re working on. The end result will be so much more aligned with the vision you’re trying to bring to life. 



Gail Barker is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. She specializes in supporting leaders to lead powerfully and meaningfully. Here company, Stellar Coaching & Consulting was established in 2003, and through that platform, she has supported hundreds of leaders in elevating their leadership game. A few of the additional hats she wears professionally are author, speaker, and radio show host. Personally, she is deeply committed to her family, loves to read, and finds deep restoration when walking along the beach (even in the winter).


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