A lot of us have heard of slow living, but not all of us take the steps to make it a lifestyle. At first I didn’t either, but I really wish I had!
Before, I’d force myself to be busy. I’d have a to-do list as long as my arm and I needed to get it ALL done. I multi-tasked, which meant half the time I wasn’t paying enough attention. I had to redo whatever I was doing because of that. Even while drying my hair I’d try to either fill up my scheduled tweets or read a blog post – that often ended in either a burnt scalp or taking way longer than needed. I believed I was being productive. In reality, I was wasting time and doing a job with half the effort.
I was listening to a podcast while in the shower – again with the multitasking – when I heard them mention slow living. I’m pretty sure it was actually the Hashtag Authentic podcast. I can’t for the life of me remember which episode, so sorry for that! It was like being hit by a tidal wave as soon as it was mentioned.
Why was I focusing myself on trying to be busy and productive?
All it did was make me stressed, anxious, and what I did manage to get done wasn’t done well.
After that, I made a point of changing my habits. I remember the first thing I consciously made an effort to do “slowly”. I decided not to try to get through the washing up as quickly as possible, ignoring the beautiful view out the window in the process. Instead, I filled the sink with hot water and soap, and took my time washing each item. I looked out the window and actually saw the view, rather than just looking at it.
I now do things with more purpose. Even the smallest of tasks gives me a sense of productivity. I’m happier with the amount I get done. I’m able to let myself enjoy my day. I actually enjoy doing the housework now! I’ve applied it to various parts of my life, including blogging. It’s made everything much more enjoyable.
Better mental health
In turn it’s also had an affect on my mental health. I’m not as stressed or anxious anymore, and I find it easier to make the decision to have a “me day” when I need it. I’m not doing less, I’m more productive in the things I do.
In no way am I claiming to be a slow living guru expert or anything
It’s very easy to fall back into the world of “more” and for some reason, it’s seen as a good thing to be stressed and up to your eyeballs in busy tasks. Having those influences bombard us with the complete opposite message to what we’re trying to achieve makes it even harder to stick to.
Sticking to it
“Slow living” isn’t exactly what it’s portrayed as online. If you search on Instagram or Pinterest for “slow living”, a multitude of calm and muted pictures will come up. A lot of them will be of beautiful, simple houses and cottages, with an impressive, “unkept” garden. They’ll have simple linen clothes, that are just creased enough to look un-ironed but probably havebeen.
I’m definitely not knocking that style – quite frankly I am on the lookout for a linen summer dress because of it – but it doesn’t mean that someone who lives in the city with only a 2ft wide balcony can’t live a slow life.
My point is, it’s what you do. It’s how you think. I certainly don’t practice slow living every single day, or in every single task I do. My life just isn’t made that way.
I do, however, practice slow and purposeful living whenever I can. I try to put my phone away a little more often. I play board games and card games a little more and play on the xbox a little less. I go outside and garden, or simply just sit and appreciate the world going by.
That makes it sound like I don’t get a lot done, which in some ways I don’t. In other ways, though, I do more. I bake bread myself a lot more often, and buy it and freeze it for emergencies – or when I burn a loaf enough that its inedible if you want to keep your teeth.
Living like this has bettered my mental health, and has helped me keep my priorities right. I’ve stopped worrying about how much I get done, and I worry more about how important is what I get done. Do I really need to get a list as long as my arm done in 4 hours? Probably not. Should I make sure the kitchen is clean? Definitely!
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