Discovering Slow Living
At the start of the year I decided that I wanted my word for 2019 to be Flow. To me, that word represents ease, slowness, abundance, trust and creativity.
It’s certainly something I’ve been focusing on so far and I’ve been able to make small tweaks to my life so that I get to feel more of those experiences. Especially important to me has been a feeling of slowness.
Slow living has become a little bit of a buzzword. I’ll often picture perfectly rustic interiors with a copy of Kinfolk on a beautifully styled minimal coffee table. But just as self care isn’t just bubble baths and painting your nails and hygge isn’t just hot drinks, candles and blankets, slow living is so much more – and nope it’s not just about doing things more slowly either!
I came to slow living because I craved spaciousness in my life. When I’m busy and all my time is used up I feel frazzled, stressed out and completely un-present. I see some other Mum’s who have jam packed schedules for themselves and their kids – and while there’s absolutely zero judgement from me, that is 100% not the way I want my life or my kids lives to look like.
As much as it’s about having a better relationship with time, slow living for me is also about my energy. I can be super focused and productive, but often I’ll do this in a frantic hyper involved way that totally exhausts me. It took me ages to realise that I was working in this way and actually how much it was affecting me negatively.
So over the past few months I’ve been trying to live more of a slow, intentional life. But what does slow living actually look like? Well I think it’s going to look different for everyone, but I wanted to share a little bit about how it looks for me to hopefully inspire you and give you some ideas!
Instead of taking the car, I try and walk more. It’s a simple switch, and for us where we have most things in easy walking distance like grocery shops, Finley’s nursery and the Library, it’s a no brainer! I find that just the act of walking calms me and stops me feeling so rushed and frantic.
Planting a garden
The biggest thing I’ve done this year for myself is plant a garden. I’d always wanted a garden and was really excited when we moved into our current home which has a sizable outdoor space. However it was really overgrown and difficult to manage, but finally, this year we’ve made some headway and I now have several pots (including home grown strawberries!) and a flower bed. I’ve spent so much time outside just tending to the plants it’s been a really great way to relax.
Take more breaks
Working for myself and from home, I can very easily get into one of those hyper focused work sessions that leave me exhausted afterwards. The good thing is I can still be productive without doing that! What I’ve found helpful is taking proper breaks, preferably outside or going for a walk, is so helpful.
These days being pregnant, I sometimes also need an afternoon nap or to just finish early. That’s really helping me feel more relaxed.
Last year I became aware that full on busy mornings set me up for a day of stress. Until this week, Finley had been starting nursery at 7.30, so we’d be up at 6 and then getting ready to start the day. What I had been doing was showering after the nursery run, so that I could sit down and have a cup of tea before we left.
Thankfully as of now, Finley won’t be starting anywhere until 9ish which means more blissful slow mornings! I’m planning to figure out what a morning routine might look like for us with this later start time but I’m really excited because I know it’s going to be so much more chill – well I hope so, he is a 4 year old after all and I’m sure the school run is not going to be problem free!
Reevaluating my relationship with my phone
I’ll start by being honest and saying this is something I still struggle with and is certainly a work in progress. Being on my phone less is so helpful in being more present and feeling more slow.
What I find personally is that I need to replace my phone use with something – and for me what tends to work best is books or magazines. We have a library a short walk from our house so I have no excuses not to use it for reading material.
At the same time I try and give myself a big dose of kindness when it comes to my phone, I do actually use it for some really positive things like meditation apps, journalling and staying organised. Plus sometimes a good scroll through Pinterest is good for my soul! As with everything it’s getting the balance right.
When I’m not organised I get that hectic anxious feeling – basically the opposite of the spaciousness I’d like to feel! I end up having to run extra errands, spend more money and generally waste more time – so being organised is really important to me.
I do this in different ways, sitting down and planning out the week, meal planning when I can, having reminders set in my Google Calendar and now that Finley will be starting school soon I’m going to get a family wall calendar for the kitchen too.
Over the past couple of years James and I have slowly been getting a better handle on our ‘stuff’. We’ve decluttered so much I’m almost embarrassed by how much we had! Of course it’s all been sold on or gone to charity shops, but the experience has taught me a lot about what we bring into the house and its purpose. Alongside decluttering we’ve also been changing up the furniture we use so that it better fits our space, and looks more beautiful.
When we moved in 3 years ago after doing some renovations I now realise I bought a lot of stuff without really thinking it out, and in hindsight they just didn’t work for us. It’s been a slow process but we’re free of a lot of clutter and have a much more beautiful and functional environment. It’s nowhere near the ‘slow living aesthetic’ but it’s a much calmer place to be, with much more physical space.
Appreciating the little things
One of the easiest things I found in my quest for a slower life is simply appreciating the little things. The way the morning light illuminates the hallway, the way Finley’s skin feels, the pleasure of making a morning cup of coffee, watching the birds in the garden. Really noticing these things and saying to myself, ‘I appreciate this’ has been such a tiny but significant thing in helping me slow the heck down and enjoy life more!
This is what slow living is looking like for me at the moment, but as with anything, just because this is what it looks like for me, doesn’t mean it should look like this for you. Listen to what your soul is craving. For me it was this spaciousness in life where I keep things much more simple.
Had you heard about slow living before? What does slow living look like for you?
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Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living.
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