Before embarking on our entrepreneurial journey, both Michael and I had demanding jobs and life was very busy but looking back, we find we had a pretty relaxed lifestyle after all and plenty of time for ourselves and our loved ones and time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Now with a 7/7 schedule, we sometimes find ourselves longing to (and dreaming of, yes!) SLOW LIVING.
With the pace of modern life picking up at what seems like an ever-increasing rate, it’s easy to feel hurried, harried and always on the go. Everything has to be sped up – communication, postal deliveries, cooking, you name it. You can even find books of 60-second bedtime stories and speed meditation classes now!
Whatever happened to kicking back and letting nature take its course? To taking time out every day to stare into the middle distance and dream, or just empty the mind of work worries, deadlines, bills and family niggles? In recent years, quiet time has fallen by the wayside (maybe it couldn’t keep up) as everyone wants to appear busy, busy, busy. Busy means popular, busy means successful, busy means in demand. Busy can also mean burnt-out, exhausted and anxious. It’s time to hit the pause button… but how?
Take your feet off the pedal
Slow living has always been around; after all, once upon a time it was the only way to live! People had to go with the seasons, planting crops, raising cattle, waiting for trees to mature and bear fruit. Without TV, smartphones and games consoles, people talked to each other, whiled away the hours by working on long-term craft projects and just enjoyed the simple things in life. Every activity was slower – even games enthusiasts could play chess or Diplomacy by post – no hurrying, no urgency, much less stress.
Look around and appreciate what you have
You don’t have to give up your job, or move to a distant island to become a crofter, you just have to think about how you can take some time out of your day, week and month to stop and smell those roses. Daily, it could be taking a bath in the evening with your favourite music or just silence. Weekly it could be a (non-speedy) meditation class or a long walk, and every month you could take a day out to do something you really love.
The point is to give yourself some time when you’re not watching the clock, thinking about targets, schedules and deadlines.
Slowing down can actually save you time
It’s counter-intuitive, but taking some time out of a hectic schedule to think about things can make you more efficient. Invest in a slow cooker and spend an evening chopping and sautéing enough veg and browning enough meat for a few meals. Then, you can put these half-prepared mixtures into freezer bags, ready to be deposited in the slow cooker in the morning. When you get home from work, you’ll find you have one less thing to hurry around doing!
It’s also important to create a physical space that says sloooowwwww. This can be in your bathroom, or a nook in a hallway, but it should have a bookshelf (no electronic devices!), a comfy chair, a simple table for your tea and a luxurious throw or two.
Then all you need to do is to make a regular appointment with this corner!