I feel I should start this post with a brief description of my current situation and responsibilities so you know I’m not going to advise you do anything I haven’t done myself.
I live in a rented house in greater Manchester with my family; two teenagers, a dog and running a small business from home. I used to work part time in a sales job when I first started slow living so I’ve applied slow living during both of my occupations.
In 2016 I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I was prescribed antidepressants and attended counselling and therapy weekly appointments.
But it wasn’t enough for me. I’m a proactive person, which in reality means I was a control freak, liking things done a certain way, impulsive and eager.
I started scrolling through Dr Google (insert search engine of your choice here) and came across the concept of slow living.
I persevered through the Pinterest perfect images of white linen, cosy blankets, hot drinks in beige expensive mugs and open books to find the real blueprint of a slow life. (Feel free to online search or dive into the slow living movement on Pinterest if you wish, this blog is my definition.)
It’s here I’m pre-empting the “I haven’t got time to slow down” I was exactly the same…
So stick with me, there’s no shame here! However, I firmly believe that If I can do this, anyone can – as clique as it sounds… Let’s swap the word ‘slow’ for ‘simple’, if you’re still feeling a little resistant.
I realised I was on a treadmill of life, constantly moving, running, no rest, and not getting anywhere. I’m doing so much, why do I still feel lost?
It’s time to get off the treadmill and slow down.
I started spending my days with a slower approach. Sounds dreamy right? But this isn’t laying in bed with all the time in the world to drink a perfectly decorated latte as the beautiful sunshine beats through those white curtains.
This was about consuming less and living more.
Now I don’t mean consuming food, however the slow living movement did start with the slow food movement (I’m keeping this blog simple so google that in your own time) it’s the consumption of stuff, information, influence – areas of our lives that aren’t simple.
We’ve fallen into a culture where being busy equals success and you’re reduced to what you can do rather than who you are.
What you can produce and what can you consume. Slowing down, simplicity, sustainability and meaning have become a privilege. When in actual fact they are the fundamental parts of life and require nothing but self.
When I ask someone their simple pleasures, it’s never designer handbags, the latest craze in gadgets or being on the go all the time.
For example, my simplest pleasure is drinking a coffee in the morning while it’s still hot. I’m giving myself the gift of time. I achieve this very simply, making that my only focus.
Here’s my opinion on time, we do have time.
We spend hours on social media, watching TV and binging Netflix series. You do have time and I’m not suggesting any more than a few minutes for something much more beneficial to you than the latest Facebook posts or Instagram stories. It’s a fact, we waste time. It’s so easy to carve 5 minutes. Trust me. Now back to my coffee…..
I don’t scroll through my phone or watch TV, it’s me and that cup, and maybe a stare out of the window. During normal weekdays, I drink it while I have a conversation with my kids as they get ready for school, it can be done!
We don’t have to be entertained at all times.
We have become creatures of immediate gratification and everything being fast. You can order online for products the same day with the magic of technology. Faster isn’t always better.
I’m going to pop in here and say I am not a technology or smart phone hater. Not at all. I can lose myself in a TikTok as much as the next guy.
But it’s a huge part of our lives that has added to instant gratification, influence and mental illness. My social media has been constructed by me for me. It’s my space on the platform and I’ll share and comment on content that works for me. Inspiration, friends, humour, connection, positivity and my small eco friendly business.
Which then brings me onto over consumption of stuff.
I haven’t got a better word for it but I was an impulse buyer. That feeling of joy of buying something new. That joy didn’t last long and it wasn’t even real joy – it’s a rush of chemicals in the brain (if you google what retail therapy does to our brains you’ll be shocked). Although I haven’t watched it myself, simplicity has been made popular recently by Marie Kondo on Netflix, to not have anything that doesn’t bring you joy.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”William Morris
I am known in my family for being ruthless when doing a declutter, even before I was committed to sustainability.
Showcasing an array of products, clothes and ‘hauls’ have taken over social media becoming a trend that encourages more people to buy buy buy. Whether that’s cleaning products or cheap clothing (both of which I’m strongly against for a multitude of reasons) it encourages the viewer to go out and buy ‘stuff’ and share it. They wouldn’t even want it if there wasn’t 100s of 1000s of likes and comments.
Buying stuff has become entertainment.
As I feel I’m starting a rant and going on with myself I’m going to publish a part 2 of What is Slow Living focussing on the grind culture, work and commitments.
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Love, Light and Green Vibes,