Five Ways Slow Living Is Great
This post is a conglomeration of 7 posts I've done on Instagram about some specific areas that slow living has benefited us. It's all part of the month long project I'm doing called #slowdowninSeptember. If you'd like to follow along, hop over to Instagram and share your slow moments.
Slow living can seem like a really unachievable thing in the midst of our real lives. Over the first seven days on this project, I shared some pretty meaty posts about why slow living is something to work towards and why we so often have emotional and mental blocks around it being possible for us.
It doesn't have to be this all encompassing slow or nothing thing. It's a spectrum! Also, you can be quite busy in the slow life I think...it's all about your priorities. If you're living in alignment with your values and what you've chosen to focus on then that is a form of slow living: going deep on a few in lieu of spreading yourself thinly across many moderately important things.
That said, there are also ways you can weave slowness into everyday life. The first is -
I don't just mean cooking in the slow cooker! This is actually about taking the time to enjoy your meals rather than racing through them or eating at your desk.
Food can definitely be something we rush through or multitask but I think that really disconnects us from our appetite..leading to overeating or eating for convenience rather than health.
One way I've tried to slow down out meals is by eating dinner all together at the table, so even though Max is currently going through the 'beige phase' of eating he's still seeing us eat well balanced meals. Sometimes I'm tempted to say 'just one more bite' but my longer term goal is for him to remain connected to his own appetite levels so I try to resist doing that!
Slow Living For City Kids
My roots are in the bush. My dads side of the family are from country Australia and whenever I spend time there, I'm always reminded of times as a kid when we would swim in the dam, coat ourselves in mud, walk barefoot through the trees. We'd play hide and seek and plan out bunkers. Once we found an old convict built road. There wasn't any mobile service. So after school and on the weekend, it was a proper disconnection. The days went forever because we were outside and free of distraction. Well, until I was old enough to discover boys of course!
Maybe that's why I feel so drawn to slow living now.
I know that living in the city, Max is going to miss out on a lot of that. He'd thrive in the country. His favourite thing to do is find a sandy spot in the garden and dig and scratch at it with a stick. He'll spend hours moving little piles of dirt around, finding rocks or crunchy leaves to look at. He's a tinkerer.
So I try to make sure he has plenty of time to do just that. When we go to the park, he always comes back filthy. Sure he has a go on the slide or swing but he'll always make his way to the edge of the playground to sit in the dirt and play. Sometimes we don't even make it to the playground because on the way we've found a tree with a bunch of leaves that are far more interesting. Whenever possible, I try not to hurry him along. I just love seeing him explore the world in this way.
Slow Goal Setting
Roly and I work really well together as a team because we're so similar but we're also really different in ways that help each other. For example, I'm a forward planner - I love to think about the possibilities of the future. Roly, on the other hand, gets a bit anxious talking about what's happening in 3 weeks time. I've learned not to put too much of a framework around where we're headed and exactly what we'll be doing. He's learned that just because it's planned, it's not set in stone.
A few years ago, I discovered Danielle Laporte and she quickly became one of my favourite 'self-help' writers. Her book The Desire Map was a real game changer for me. The premise is this - instead of setting 'doing' based goals like climbing the corporate ladder, she says to set goals based on how you want to feel, eg I want to feel successful. Is climbing the corporate ladder really what will make you feel successful? What does success really mean and look like to you? Is there another way to get there?
This kind of goal setting really shifts the focus from what you haven't got to everything you already have within you. It eases the self-imposed pressure to be keeping up.
I used to squeeze so much into my diary. When I was working, I would often be out after work 2 or 3 nights a week, and we would be non-stop all weekend. When I had a newborn, I realised it just wasn't possible to maintain, nor did I want to! I discovered we were all happiest if we had a morning outing a few times a week and that's about it. As he's gotten older, we can manage an afternoon here or there but usually, that means we don't do too much the next day.
If I organise to see a girlfriend, I don't schedule any other appointments that day so I can stay with that friend until the visit comes to it's natural end, rather than abruptly because I have to be somewhere. Maybe we'll do grocery shopping or something.
I realise this is from the perspective of a part time work from home mum and if you're working outside the home or your kids are in school it might not be as possible. I'll probably eat my words when Max starts school but my thinking is that he'll only do one after school activity at a time so we can maintain the level of flexibility and empty space in our diary.
Learning to say no, not only to things I don't want to do but also to things I would like to do but realistically can't (or shouldn't) has been a gift to my schedule too.
I'm not going to lie, slow living is good for your sex life. When you're rushing around and working all week, it's likely that the only time left for each other is on the weekend. If you're then overcommitting your time on the weekend to everything else, then sex becomes lower on the priority list and even less likely to happen.
If you're one that wishes you were able to connect with your partner more often but think you're always too busy, too tired, can't be bothered or haven't had time to even think about getting in the mood, slow living might be for you!
Are there any other ways you find slow living is good?