At the start of the year I decided that I wanted my word for 2019 to be Flow. To me, that word represents ease, slowness, abundance, trust and creativity.
Itâs certainly something Iâve been focusing on so far and Iâve been able to make small tweaks to my life so that I get to feel more of those experiences. Especially important to me has been a feeling of slowness.
Slow living has become a little bit of a buzzword. Iâll often picture perfectly rustic interiors with a copy of Kinfolk on a beautifully styled minimal coffee table. But just as self care isnât just bubble baths and painting your nails and hygge isnât just hot drinks, candles and blankets, slow living is so much more – and nope itâs not just about doing things more slowly either!
I came to slow living because I craved spaciousness in my life. When Iâm busy and all my time is used up I feel frazzled, stressed out and completely un-present. I see some other Mumâs who have jam packed schedules for themselves and their kids – and while thereâs absolutely zero judgement from me, that is 100% not the way I want my life or my kids lives to look like.
As much as itâs about having a better relationship with time, slow living for me is also about my energy. I can be super focused and productive, but often Iâll do this in a frantic hyper involved way that totally exhausts me. It took me ages to realise that I was working in this way and actually how much it was affecting me negatively.
So over the past few months Iâve been trying to live more of a slow, intentional life. But what does slow living actually look like? Well I think itâs going to look different for everyone, but I wanted to share a little bit about how it looks for me to hopefully inspire you and give you some ideas!
Instead of taking the car, I try and walk more. Itâs a simple switch, and for us where we have most things in easy walking distance like grocery shops, Finleyâs nursery and the Library, itâs a no brainer! I find that just the act of walking calms me and stops me feeling so rushed and frantic.
Planting a garden
The biggest thing Iâve done this year for myself is plant a garden. Iâd always wanted a garden and was really excited when we moved into our current home which has a sizable outdoor space. However it was really overgrown and difficult to manage, but finally, this year weâve made some headway and I now have several pots (including home grown strawberries!) and a flower bed. Iâve spent so much time outside just tending to the plants itâs been a really great way to relax.
Take more breaks
Working for myself and from home, I can very easily get into one of those hyper focused work sessions that leave me exhausted afterwards. The good thing is I can still be productive without doing that! What Iâve found helpful is taking proper breaks, preferably outside or going for a walk, is so helpful.
These days being pregnant, I sometimes also need an afternoon nap or to just finish early. Thatâs really helping me feel more relaxed.
Last year I became aware that full on busy mornings set me up for a day of stress. Until this week, Finley had been starting nursery at 7.30, so weâd be up at 6 and then getting ready to start the day. What I had been doing was showering after the nursery run, so that I could sit down and have a cup of tea before we left.
Thankfully as of now, Finley wonât be starting anywhere until 9ish which means more blissful slow mornings! Iâm planning to figure out what a morning routine might look like for us with this later start time but Iâm really excited because I know itâs going to be so much more chill – well I hope so, he is a 4 year old after all and Iâm sure the school run is not going to be problem free!
Reevaluating my relationship with my phone
Iâll start by being honest and saying this is something I still struggle with and is certainly a work in progress. Being on my phone less is so helpful in being more present and feeling more slow.
What I find personally is that I need to replace my phone use with something – and for me what tends to work best is books or magazines. We have a library a short walk from our house so I have no excuses not to use it for reading material.
At the same time I try and give myself a big dose of kindness when it comes to my phone, I do actually use it for some really positive things like meditation apps, journalling and staying organised. Plus sometimes a good scroll through Pinterest is good for my soul! As with everything itâs getting the balance right.
When Iâm not organised I get that hectic anxious feeling – basically the opposite of the spaciousness Iâd like to feel! I end up having to run extra errands, spend more money and generally waste more time – so being organised is really important to me.
I do this in different ways, sitting down and planning out the week, meal planning when I can, having reminders set in my Google Calendar and now that Finley will be starting school soon Iâm going to get a family wall calendar for the kitchen too.
Over the past couple of years James and I have slowly been getting a better handle on our âstuffâ. Weâve decluttered so much Iâm almost embarrassed by how much we had! Of course itâs all been sold on or gone to charity shops, but the experience has taught me a lot about what we bring into the house and its purpose. Alongside decluttering weâve also been changing up the furniture we use so that it better fits our space, and looks more beautiful.
When we moved in 3 years ago after doing some renovations I now realise I bought a lot of stuff without really thinking it out, and in hindsight they just didnât work for us. Itâs been a slow process but weâre free of a lot of clutter and have a much more beautiful and functional environment. Itâs nowhere near the âslow living aestheticâ but itâs a much calmer place to be, with much more physical space.
Appreciating the little things
One of the easiest things I found in my quest for a slower life is simply appreciating the little things. The way the morning light illuminates the hallway, the way Finleyâs skin feels, the pleasure of making a morning cup of coffee, watching the birds in the garden. Really noticing these things and saying to myself, âI appreciate thisâ has been such a tiny but significant thing in helping me slow the heck down and enjoy life more!
This is what slow living is looking like for me at the moment, but as with anything, just because this is what it looks like for me, doesnât mean it should look like this for you. Listen to what your soul is craving. For me it was this spaciousness in life where I keep things much more simple.
Had you heard about slow living before? What does slow living look like for you?