If you read my first blog post, you’l know that over the last 6 months I have been practicing slow & intentional living. (Which i’ll be writting more about in future blog posts)
With the end of the year fast approaching, everyone starts booking up their diaries with work functions, Christmas parties, school concerts, family do’s and then the Christmas shopping… This time of year gets hectic and we start to lose our minds trying to juggle and multitask work, kids, appointments and all the chaos that comes along with Christmas.
I thought I’d share my thoughts with you to perhaps give you a little helping hand on how to handle the next few weeks by living slower and with simplicity. Yes! It is possible! I’m no expert, I’m still learning and i’m not trying to tell you how to live your life, but if my way of living can help or inspire you to live a better & more wholesome life, then let me be here for you.
While most of us work and will most likely be working harder and longer hours during the lead up to Christmas, we must remember to nurture our mind, body & soul and not burn ourselves out.
When we think of slow we typically think that we are dumb or falling behind. Slow isn’t dumb, it’s purposeful! And slow won’t cause you to fall behind, it will allow you to catch up – with your friends, your family, your digestive system & life!
Slowing down can be a real challenge for some, but slowing down will save your life! A slow life restores peace & balance. Your work becomes more satisfying & relationships will come to mean more to you than your job. In a slow life you will focus on food. You will value its cultivation and preparation as much as you relish the meal. The quality of the “things” in your life will come to mean so much more than the quantity. There are so many reasons why a slow life is a better life, but i’ll delve deeper into that another time.
For now I’ve listed 5 things to help you slow down and to be a more thankful and gentle person leading up to Christmas.
- Have quiet, slow mornings.
Who doesn’t love a lazy Sunday morning in bed with a cuppa?… This luxury doesn’t have to be just for weekends! Make sure you are starting everyday like this! Wake up slowly, sip your coffee and look out the window for 15 minutes before you get up for the day.
I always wake earlier than my husband, so I crawl out of bed and go open all the curtains, and if it’s a warm day I’l open the up the windows too. I pop the kettle on, say good morning to our dogs and budgie and then potter back to bed to sip my coffee. (and sometimes one for hubby too if he’s awake) I love slow mornings because it gives your body and mind a chance to actually wake up. I always feel so grateful during this time too, looking out at my garden, and at the photos hanging on the bedroom wall, snuggled up to my husband, everything is so quiet and perfect in that moment. It sets the mood for my whole day!
2. Move slower.
To slow down your life, you need to slow down your body. Practice slowing down your walk – stop power walking everywhere! And stop scoffing down your meals, take your time and actually savour each mouthful.
I’l admit, I often find myself power walking and rushing myself through meals, more so at work, but I’m becoming more conscious of it and I really try to slow myself down. I especially practice slowing down in the supermarket – You know the place where mums are yelling at their kids to behave, couples arguing over what pasta sauce to buy & the impatient people huffing and puffing inline at the registers… I take my time with my basket and shopping list, and just float around the isles, humming along to the music playing overhead & collecting items I need. Just because everyone around you is moving quickly, doesn’t mean you have to as well. By slowing down your walk, you’ll feel calmer and happier. Give it a go when you’re at the grocery store next, and by the time you reach the check out and the cashier is asking how your day is, you’ll respond in a calm and more gentler way – try it! Then practice it everywhere you go!
With Christmas shopping about to begin, don’t let the chaos of people rushing around, or over worked and grumpy sales staff bring you down and get you stressed. Remember – slow down, be mindful, and enjoy your gift buying.
3. Appreciate the little things.
When was the last time you went for a walk and stopped to smell the beautiful flowers growing in the gardens, looked up at the moon or collected shells along the beach? If you want to slow down your life, you must appreciate the little things.
When my husband and I take our dogs walking, I’m always coming home with a collection of flowers and foliage that I’ve picked along the way. I then either take them to work to put in a vase on my desk to brighten my workspace or I keep them on my nightstand as a lovely sight to wake up to!
Taking in the little things (Which are actually the big things) gives you a greater sense of appreciation for life.
4. Take a time out.
Everyone needs time for themselves, it’s vital in staying sane I believe! Whether it’s taking yourself out for a coffee and reading the paper or just pottering in your garden, you need to be on your own sometimes.
For me, having alone time gives me time to reflect and clear my head. My favourite things to do by myself are yoga, gardening, meditation, walks in nature, or even just laying on a blanket in the sun with a book!
Make sure you schedule out atleast 30 minutes a day for yourself! Run a bath, or go for a walk, start small and see how much better you feel.
While I’m not a parent (yet!), I do understand finding alone time can be hard if you have young children, but you have to make it work! This has to be a priority in your life for your wellbeing. Having ‘you’ time isn’t selfish, infact by taking time for yourself you are able to recharge and fill yourself back up. By taking time to look after your own mental health, you can give back to your children and family more. Would you rather have no alone time and be drained with your cup half full, or take time for yourself and be a happier, more fulfilled mother/father/husband/wife/friend? I know what I’d choose!
5. Switch off!
With technology so prominent in our lives today, it means we are always available and overstimulated. You know when someone gets annoyed at you because you haven’t replied to their txt right away or you didn’t ‘like’ their status on facebook they posted an hour ago… I personally hate it when people come at me complaining I haven’t messaged them, I don’t have my phone on me 24/7, and I don’t want to either!
I believe that smart phones and social media are like drugs… we’re addicted! Last month I was sitting at the airport waiting to board a flight, I looked around and quickly noticed every woman, man and child had some kind of phone or tablet in their hands, with their heads down… No one was talking to eachother & I found that really concerning! It really opened my eyes to how brainwashed we all are! From that moment I’ve consciously been aware of how much I actually use my phone! I make the effort to try and leave my phone in my bag while out with friends, and not bring my phone into the bedroom at night. By having my phone on my nightstand meant it was the first thing I reached for when I woke up, when I should really be turning to my husband first thing for a good morning kiss and cuddle, not the bloody phone!
You don’t need to post on social media every day, & you don’t need to respond to that txt right away, the world will not end! Don’t let technology distract you from living in the moment and living life. We too often get caught up in other people’s drama, and you don’t need to carry that weight on your shoulders. Limit your online time as much as possible & don’t become a slave to it!
So with Christmas only a few more weeks away, try slowing down, do things with intention, and be mindful about your energy and the energy of the people around you. By nurturing ourselves, we create space for gratitude and love, and that’s what we all want to be feeling, especially at this time of year.
Don’t dread the parties, school plays, busy days at work and the shopping. Enjoy it all, be thankful you have festivities to go to and thankful you have a job that pays the bills! Be that beacon of light to spread joy to others!
When we live slow, we give back and become more strongly connected to the Earth, to our communities, to our friends and to ourselves. A slow life is one that seeks the right balance between spirituality, sensuality, introspection and community.
A slow life is a better life!
To be continued…