More and more people (myself included) are trading in their modern, stressful lives for a quieter existence that involves spending more time at home. This is how I started living a slow life after moving to the seafront of Hastings last year. Slow living, has since, become a lifestyle that aligns perfectly with my values. It helps me stay balanced and allows me to enjoy a quieter pace of life. The best place to start integrating slow living into your life is at home.
You’ve probably heard of simple living, conscious living and mindful living, but what remains less well known is the concept of slow living. Shifting the focus from quantity and speed to quality of life remains at its core, and its effects have been transformative for me. Not only has slow living helped me to reconnect with what’s essential to me, but it has also saved me money because frugality is a key component of following this lifestyle. I have learnt to utilise and make the most of what I already have, stop any kind of waste (especially food) and most importantly; simplify my life and live within my means.
Just to get clear and before I continue: slow living doesn’t mean doing everything at a slower speed. Don’t get me wrong, this might apply to some activities, but on the whole slow living is more concerned with prioritising your time to appreciate simple pleasures (watching the sunrise and sunset, visiting the local marketplace to buy seasonal produce, cooking nourishing meals, potter around at home, read a book, sip a cup of tea and so on). You prioritise and focus on what’s essential and what truly matters to you.
Slow living is an ethos that encourages us to reclaim time for what we value most. It’s about identifying the things and people we can’t live without and cultivating spaces devoted to whatever brings us joy and meaning.
Simply put, it’s about reconnecting with the world around you, living in sync with the seasons, but most of all doing all those things you love to do and bring you joy. Slow living embraces a simple lifestyle full of home-cooked meals, and rituals, being fully present in the moment, making every day meaningful and spending your time wisely.
So how can you embrace slow living and all it entails?
Let me start with what my own experience with lifestyle change has taught me and that is that nothing happens overnight. It has taken me nearly 3 years to get to the place I’m at now. In this process (and it’s ongoing), I’ve given away / sold / donated / upcycled / thrown away more than half of my belongings, and truth to be told; if only kept what I USE – half of my current belongings would be gone.
As mentioned above, I only started practising slow living when we moved to Hastings last year, it felt like the time had slowed down – which was refreshing. As I had spent the last couple of years de-cluttering my possessions and simplifying my life, this process allowed me to get clarity on what I wanted my life to be like and what kind of woman I wanted to be.
I worked hard to pay off any debt and decrease my living costs; I cancelled Netflix and Amazon Prime, cancelled our phone and my tablet contracts (early termination) – paid them all off and opted for pay-as-you-go, I paid all bills a year in advance (little by little) and then set-up standing orders for future bills – by doing this, I am a year ahead of all regular and essential bills. I’ve opted for a low-waste lifestyle, soap bars instead of liquid soaps in plastic bottles, I take my jute bags when I buy groceries etc.
Not only this; because I’ve simplified our home, day-to-day life, gadgets etc., daily ‘chores’ have become meaningful routines, I love pottering around at home, keeping it clean, rearranging furniture, changing the decor according to the season we are in – I’ve created more time and space for what truly matters to me.
I cook healthy, nourishing and comforting meals with seasonal produce, I go for walks along the beach, I spend my money more mindfully, I’ve curated a capsule wardrobe, skincare, make-up, fragrance and jewellery collection – I’ve only kept what I LOVE, NEED and USE. Everything else I’ve let go of.
Here are my 5 tips for embracing this new lifestyle that you can implement right now:
- Today, decide to cook a meal from scratch. Try to buy local and seasonal ingredients and take your time to enjoy the cooking process. Just before eating pause for a minute and be gracious for the simple pleasure of a delicious dinner.
- If you’re feeling a little disconnected from nature and the world around you, take a few moments to get grounded by standing outside barefoot – stand for however long feels natural and take a few deep breaths, embracing the weather that surrounds you.
- Bring nature into your home by picking a few stems from the garden, or to keep it simple bring in some greenery to display on your mantelpiece. For just a few minutes of activity, you’ll have a week or so of pleasure.
- Live in sync with the seasons; as we’ve entered Spring here in the UK, I’ve decorated our home for Spring, taken out my Spring mug, my seasonal capsule wardrobe, make-up and skincare, curated a music play-list etc. PLEASE NOTE: I do not buy new decor every year, I use the same seasonal decor (cushions, curtains and decorative pieces, prints etc.) each year.
- Tomorrow, set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier than usual, grab your camera or notebook and get outside. It doesn’t matter if you’re still in your pyjamas, bleary-eyed and a little off balance – the whole point is to rebalance your awareness as the day begins.
While these tips can make a difference right now, changing your lifestyle to live more slowly does take time. Changing our mindset is a process that has to be worked through like any other, but I promise you it’s worth it.
Slow culture isn’t only about being where you are right now. It also takes a long-term view on what’s best for you, and the planet, in the future by encouraging slow and sustainable travel, fashion, food, love, wellness, work and money. It contributes to your happiness both today, and tomorrow, and helps to ensure future generations have a viable planet and world economy.