Life is not a race yet I’ve found myself running, moving forwards without a real sense of in what direction or why.
I’ve had enough of this and from now on I’m opting out. Slowing down my life and giving myself time and space to appreciate more. Taking time to focus on what’s really important to me and my family.
What does slow living look like for me;
A relaxed pace of life. In the past I’ve been guilty of massively over scheduling because it’s really easy to see a gap in my diary and fill it. It actually takes discipline to resist this pull, you have to let go of the guilt and the fear of missing out. Stopping is not failing.
Time, when I slow down I give myself time. Time to bake, play a board game, read a book or whatever it is that will make me feel most content and happy. To have conversations and to really listen. Moments for cuddling my husband, stroking my cat, and admiring my children’s lego creations.
Freedom. I felt trapped in an endless stream of appointments, moving from one thing to the next and becoming increasingly anxious. When I stop overcommitting I’m free.
Natural rhythm. Because large chunks of my day are now free I can listen to my body and mind. Judging what I need day to day. Some days I am motivated and have energy to tackle my to do list. Other days I need to nurture myself with gentle activities or rest. Slow living means I can listen to those rhythms and schedule each day accordingly.
How to slow down your life;
The first step to a slower life is to look at your current schedule and work out what the essentials are. For me it’s school runs, blogging, taking my children to their weekly activities and caring for myself and my family. Note your essential commitments in your diary so you can see exactly how much free time you have remaining.
Next you need to start to value your time. The time when I’m not involved with my essential commitments is mine and it’s limited. So when I’m asked to commit to something extra I need to think really carefully about whether it’s right for me. It can be useful to have guidelines to follow, for example;
- Do I have time to do this with space either side of it to rest and take care of myself?
- Do I want to do this?
- Will it add value to mine, or someone else’s life?
Only use your time to commit to things which answer yes to your chosen guidelines.
In considering whether you have time for something look at your week as a whole picture. Sometimes I have a busy day where I’m rushing around but I make sure it’s surrounded by quieter days to enable me to cope with and enjoy the busyness.
The benefits of a slow life;
Health. When you slow down you reduce your stress levels which will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health. Additionally you have time to take care of yourself properly, to eat well and exercise.
Joy. If I’m successfully valuing my time and only doing what is essential and wanted I’m joyful. I feel content and calm.
Spontaneity. With a reduced schedule and more time to just be I can be spontaneous. I can go for a walk because the sun is shining or snuggle up on the sofa with a movie because it’s cold and grey.
I hope that I can maintain my new slow life, and that you can too.