If you’re not familiar with the term Slow Living, It’s a movement that encourages people to let go of possessions, be present and mindful, and slow down life to escape the busy head and thoughts. It’s to live simply and live well. Whatever that should be.
However, if you’re not careful, slow can be just as exhausting as normal life. I’ve found that Instead of comparing myself to the Victoria’s Secret models and the Kardashians, I’ve just moved on to linen wearing hippies in clogs with their outstandingly minimal homes. That’s why I’ve created this guide, I can ignore what everyone else’s version of Slow is and follow my own.
The whole reason I fell for this Slow living hype is because I would just love to be happy with what I have and enjoy the life I have now. It’s just that it’s much easier said than done. I still can’t seem to escape the comparisons of how well other people manage Slow, and how I’m just failing at it. So, Instead of swallowing content after content of what a slow life looks like for others, I’m writing my own rules, aspirations, improvements and attitude adjustments that will get me back on track to a simple life.
Finding my values
To find my slow I think it’s good to know where I stand and what I want from life. Some people seem to be born with definitive values and some people like me, are a just little bit flakier. My values and opinions have been known to change with the wind so this has been fairly difficult to record. After scribing multiple journal entries down, I’ve figured some of them out and it’s mainly what gives me pleasure, and what leaves me with a sense of guilt. If you follow this guide and decide where your values are then maybe you could aim for your own version of slow too? Remember there’s never a wrong answer.
Do you prefer empty spaces or busy ones?
The SLOW movement loves minimalism, it seems you can’t live SLOW with stuff. Well I’ve decided on the contrary, an empty home isn’t for me. After discussing the idea of minimalism with a fellow interior obsessed, antique loving and junk collecting friend we came to the conclusion that filling our homes with bargains is a hobby we’re not willing to give up. A minimalist home can shove its silly boring empty sideboard ways up it’s **** as far as I’m concerned. I like my carefully curated junk just where it is. However, I am well up for a clearer wardrobe and emptier cupboards. There’s a great post on Emma’s lovely blog about how to include minimalism in smaller ways… take a look.
Are you overstretched with social commitments or could you see more of people?
I highly value my friends, but it isn’t a given that what I value I make enough time for. The power of friendship and conversation does wonders for me and my mental well-being but my reclusive and shy ways will often keep me hidden. The SLOW movement tells you to say no to over commitments, it says take a break and don’t over do the social calendar. This does not suit me at all, if I remove anything else from my social calendar I might as well live on mars. An improved SLOW life for me would be to include more intentional time with friends, time not distracted on my phone and time not In my head daydreaming. Making time for quality people in the long run leaves you feeling good about yourself. It’s something I aim to do much more of.
Do you value your career?
This is difficult to admit to myself but work ethic and career success don’t rank high on my priority list. I work to earn money and I enjoy my job but it’s not my life, I’d rather work less, earn less and spend my time at home making homemade cleaning products and baking. Slow to me would be learning to accept this and not feel shame, embarrassment or like a lazy anti-feminist because of it and enjoy more time away from work.
Would you like to be saving more? Or can you not relax and enjoy a treat?
I value saving money. Whilst I don’t care about earning a lot, I do feel icky about spending a lot. Mum has drilled into me since birth how wasting money is never good and I think the opinion has transferred. This doesn’t mean I’m a great saver, in fact I’m rather an impulsive spender and could easily get myself into masses of debt if I let myself. Something I really want to work on and take from the SLOW movement is only buying what I need unless of course it’s a cute vase from a charity shop. Who can feel guilty about £3? Love a barg.
Are there any small changes you can make?
I’ve always felt a low lying guilt to be kinder to the environment but if I’m honest I’ve just completely ignored it, I don’t recycle that well and I close my ears when I hear people ranting about the planet because it’s just too much hard work to change. There’s so much pressure now to go plastic free, buy only organic and natural products and avoid disposable coffee cups like the plague. Does anyone else find all this very overwhelming? I know that setting this goal is setting myself up for failure and i’ll be throwing the towel in and going back to my normal poorly recycling planet ruining ways in no time. No, instead of this i’m just making small changes, if they suit our lifestyle i’ll keep them, if they don’t then I’ll try something else. Things like shampoo bars and buying meat from the butcher, these are things I can handle. Small steps guys, small steps.
Are you a Facebook junkie or an internet recluse?
I find social media both my angel and my devil and I still can’t decide where I stand on the subject. It is both the cancer and the cannabis. It’s the root of a lot of my anxiety and self esteem trouble. It’s also a place for connecting with people and finding inspiration. For me, It depends entirely on my frame of mind when I open the app as to how i’ll consume it’s content, and that alone is probably a good reason for me to reduce my consumption, or at least be mindful when I use it.
Would you rather be in the countryside or city, outside or inside more?
I could basically just do with getting outside more. It’s too cold this time of year so i’ll tackle this in spring.
Do you need to take time out? Or are you already taking too much time out?
Slow living focuses a lot on self care, taking time in the day for you. This isn’t for everyone, being a fairly selfish person myself I spend a lot of my time doing stuff I enjoy. For me an improved self would not be a pampered one, it would be a more generous one. Within my SLOW LIFE i’d like to find time for helping people, remembering and being thoughtful and to live a life with less judgement. I can’t remember where I heard this but I thought it was a beautiful thing to say “If you really take time to listen to a person, truly listen, then you’ll feel nothing but compassion” I guess it means there’s a reason for the things people do however misguided and we can help them, not judge them.
The Art Of Busy
Are you being busy for the sake of being busy?
I am pretty good at being busy, generally I’m busy with stuff that I find important but in the grand scheme of things, they really are not. What does it matter if the laundry waits another day? Or the upstairs of the house stays unfinished for a while longer? SLOW to me would be to learn to prioritise my time better, instead of putting my home first I could put my friends and family first. I’m always too busy prioritising my hobbies and chores and not prioritising intentional time with people. This habit is so engrained though I think it will be hard to break.
So there you have only some of my slow living ambitions and ideas and if you want to make positive changes too I think finding what you value first to be very helpful. No two people are the same, everyone enjoys doing different things, holds different values, so it’s only right that everyone’s version of slow and simple should be different too. Just like me if you love a little organised clutter don’t let some minimalist tell you it’s wrong. If you like chemical cleaning products go ahead and buy them, if you really enjoy watching TV and hate running then for goodness sake stay inside, pop on a box set, grab a blanket and DO NOT feel guilty about it.
And remember, if you don’t stick to any of your goals that doesn’t matter either, I think if you just make a mental note, say oops and have another go eventually you’ll get it. That’s my approach to aiming for a slow and simple life anyway. I don’t think it’s something i’ll find, I think it’s something i’ll work on forever. I haven’t achieved much yet, but I will not let myself be mad at me for it.
P.s. I want to only own beige things and to wear a baggy stone coloured linen jumpsuit with clogs just like the insta hippies do. I might treat myself when I’ve mastered a little more of this slow stuff.
written with love