Slowing time down to live in a moment longer is at the heart of slow living. It's at the heart of mindful living. With the advancement of technology, we have gone too far in the opposite direction, living our lives for tomorrow and trying to complete things at a speed faster than we can accomplish.
We take pictures, our phones glued to our palms, instead of watching and living the events around us. And while it's nice to snap a shot so we can relive it tomorrow, sometimes we forget to really live it in the first place.
Living slowly is really about living more mindfully and taking time for yourself, to focus on yourself, celebrate yourself and appreciate everything you have. To stop and look around you, grateful for the good friends you're sharing a laugh with. To remember the smell of the breeze on the warm summer nights, and how it will always remind you of falling in love.
Slow living can be a bit of a buzz word right now - one of those things that are nice in theory but maybe difficult to put into practice with our busy lives. But infusing our days with more mindfulness doesn't need to be complicated and it definitely shouldn't be overwhelming in a way that makes our lives harder. That's hardly the point.
10 EASY WAYS TO
IMPLEMENT SLOW LIVING
GET AN EARLIER START
Sleeping in is a luxury, but by starting your day earlier you set the tone and speed for the entire day ahead of you. Having a slow morning, sipping coffee and reading a book (or whatever ritual you design for yourself) puts you in an organized frame of mind and actually helps to lower stress. Don't rush through your morning routine; take a little extra time for yourself to celebrate a new day.
GET TO BED EARLIER
If you're rising sooner it only makes sense to get your buns in bed at a better time. I know we all have lots to do every day, but by having a sign off time - nothing passed 9PM - you can use your last hour or so to slow down and go over your day, either alone or with a loved one. It's also a great idea to teach your kids this ritual, and guide them into releasing their day before their head hits the pillow. Don't go to bed angry and don't go to bed bottled up.
These infinite playlists we have - the hundreds of songs on our phones or the apps that let us listen to curated playlists from experts - sure, they're convenient, but they're also mindless. By investing in a record player, your music takes on a more luxurious vibe, and even sounds better. A record can only hold a couple songs per side, so it also forces you to get up, flip the record or switch it. Having to do that keeps you thinking about the music. Being able to listen to this beautiful art form is a gift, and it's lovely to remember that every time you flip your record over. Be grateful you can hear. Be grateful someone wrote a song that makes you feel so good.
DON'T CRAM YOUR DAY
Remember: You've got time. Do it tomorrow. You don't need to get everything done today. The world won't end because you didn't fold the laundry, or you didn't cut fresh fruit for your daughter's lunch. Sometimes we feel like we don't have enough hours in the day - present company included. Could that be because we spend a lot of time doing things that really don't matter? You can make those Christmas decorations tomorrow. Paint your bathroom next weekend. We can run ourselves haggard trying to fit in all our "shoulds" and most of them are for other people, not even ourselves. While it's great to help others out and care for your family, it shouldn't come at the expense of your well-being. Stick to three to five things per day, and keep that to-do list short.
GO FOR A WALK. EVERYDAY.
Each day, rain or shine, snow or sleet, move your legs outdoors. It doesn't need to be for a long time, but a quick walk around the block to clear your head, get your heart pumping and breathe in that fresh air is a great way to create space in yourself and for yourself. Nature can heal you. If it's cold, bundle up. If it's raining, let it wash you clean. When was the last time you felt Mother Nature's tears hit your cheeks?
Snap a photo here and there, but try your best to live in the moment. It helps to say this to yourself when the thought crosses you. You might be sharing a laugh with your greatest friends - take a moment to be thankful for that, and tell your friends how nice you think the moment is; how special. You'll be surprised at their reaction as well. The more you do this, the more those grateful present thoughts find their way into your mind. "You guys... this is really nice." Whenever my friends and I do this, we roll our eyes, but we feel really nice inside, too.
MAKE A FIRE
There is something wholly rejuvenating about making a fire. I have been touting the curative powers of making a fire for awhile. Staring into a fire's flame is healing and nurturing, like giving your spirit a warm hug. We currently use a fireplace to heat part of our home in the cooler months, and there is something very special about that: something simpler and closer to nature. It feels like I'm caring for my family and myself more by taking a moment to throw a log on the fire, giving us heat and warmth, and a safe, cozy place to dwell in. When we didn't have this type of heating system, we had regular bonfires outside just to listen to the crackle of the wood and feel the fire's heat against our skin. It's special and it's old magic. Summertime allows for nightly bonfires - the slow ritual of making smores and roasting a marshmallow to perfection - and great conversation.
Skyping, texting, emailing, and even talking on the phone aren't as good as the real thing. Giving your friend a warm hug when you see her feels great! Using these other ways of communication doesn't keep you as present as you could be. You could be doing ten other things and completely distracted from your conversation, not even paying attention to what's being discussed. Not only is this unfortunate, it's also a little rude if you think about it. Seeing each other, face-to-face, lets someone have your full attention and lets you have someone else's full attention. By paying attention you can enjoy your moments more, triggering some of those feel good grateful vibes.
USE YOUR HANDS
The gift of touch is really just that: a gift. Using your hands to knead bread, play a guitar, or use a pencil triggers something in your mind. It's easier to focus on something, giving it your full attention and forcing you to concentrate. It also can give you a gift, like a loaf of bread for your family, a slow song for your ears, or a card for your friend. It's easy to rush through using your hands, not paying attention to the wall it brushes as you move through the hallway, not feeling the steering wheel while your hand grips it, and not feeling your husband's hair as you tousle it. If we keep things mindless, we miss out on a really great way to be more appreciative of the things we come across each day.
USE YOUR HANDS MORE
Touch! Now that you're paying attention, feel that blanket draped across you on Sunday morning. Focus on the drops of water hitting your skin during your morning shower. Touch your son's face when you see him after school. It takes longer to use your hands more frequently, giving you more time to enjoy the moment you're having. You can live it, not speed through it. And aren't those moments what life is really about?