Choosing Slow

This month I have been inspired to write about slow living, and to post a series on all things slow each Monday throughout September.

There are a number of different theories and definitions on what slow living is. I have chosen a simple definition from theslowlivingcompany.co.ukwhere they state "slow living is defined as slowing down enough to move through your day with purpose".Even this simple statement is not my everyday experience and is far from the reality of shouty school runs, overcrowded commutes (pre-Covid) and a laundry/shopping/cleaning/to do list as long as my arm!

Whilst I love the idea of living at a slower speed, of being intentional and purposeful, how can this lifestyle change be brought about in the reality of a busy life? I have my own ideals of what it means to live a slower, more present life; but again, are these really possible in our fast paced, high achieving, always switched on world? Is this yet another trendy 'thing to do' or 'way to live' that adds additional pressure to our already overwhelming lives, another way in which we can fall short of the mark and feel we're not slow enough?

So, in true journalist style, I am on a quest to learn more about the qualities of slow living, what it really looks like and how I can bring a slower speed to my own life. But before I do, I have written down my current ideas and ideals of what it means for me to slow down.

Living slowly for me is when...

...I sit still long enough to drink a cup of tea whilst it's hot and I am in one place, not picking up my mug and travelling around the house with it, setting it down in random places and then finding it an hour later stone cold! In a similar way living more slowly is when I eat a full meal, in one sitting, not grabbing mouthfuls between drying my hair, ironing, walking to a meeting or driving. Physically stopping long enough and only doing one thing whilst sat in a chair is a powerful reminder that I am worth the time it takes to enjoy a hot drink or properly digest a meal!

...I am not rushing - this sounds really obvious, but giving myself and my family enough time to do things without being up against the clock reduces stress and arguments. On paper this looks like laying out clothes and preparing the night before, getting up early (yawn!), planning ahead, checking I have my keys, purse and phone before I leave the house, and arriving early even if I have to wait. Unfortunately, in reality, this rarely happens.

...I have the time to enjoy making a meal from scratch. I prefer to eat proper food that is not processed but I do not always enjoy preparing and cooking it. When I am able to relax and enjoy it, I know I am in a slower state than usual.

...I am fully present with my children. This means not doing whatever I feel is more important (usually the washing or cleaning) and really getting involved in the game/toy/activity they are playing. This also means my phone is out of arms reach, there is not a timer set in my mind for how long it will take and I am fully absorbed in their world and giving them my full attention.


...I choose to wait, to stand in line and not shop 'after hours'. Nostalgia plays a big part in this slow living ideal. Memories of when shops shut at 5pm and were closed all day on Sunday. When you queued to be served in the bank and waited a whole week to find out who was No.1 in the music charts or how the next episode of your favourite soap would play out. Living slowly is when I do not choose the self-serve checkout line, but wait to be served by an actual person, going into the bank rather than using an online service, ordering a book from the library rather than clicking for it online and not shopping at 10pm at night (unless it's an emergency). Practically this can be difficult, but it is something I would like to do more of.

All of these ideas take time and require me to either go with the flow or be more organised. So, this month I am going to rise to the challenge and experiment with ways in which I can slow down, take the pressure off myself and my family, and finally enjoy a hot cup of tea! I'd love to know what your thoughts are on slow living and if you have any tips on how to integrate this way of living into everyday life. You can use the comments below or add to my Instagram feed, spread the word and let's keep the slow living conversation going.




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