Today I’m excited to introduce you to one of my blogging friends from the U.K., Eleanor from Creative Countryside. She is a kindred spirit who writes wonderfully about the concept of slowing down, being present, practicing gratitude, and appreciating the rhythms and seasons of nature. Her posts are accompanied by lovely photos from around her home and the British countryside. Eleanor generously agreed to share some of her thoughts about slow living, which I know you will enjoy.
How to Embrace Slow Living
You’ve probably heard of simple living, of conscious living and of 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. Over at Creative Countryside I blog and teach others about this lifestyle, and today I’m so happy to be writing about slow living for Eliza here at Happy Simple Living.
Let’s get one thing straight before going any further. Slow living doesn’t literally mean doing everything at a slower speed. Don’t get me wrong, this might apply for some activities, but on the whole slow living is more concerned with prioritising your time in order to appreciate simple pleasures.
It’s a process of reconnection: with the world around you, with the seasons, but most of all with the things you love to do, that somehow get so easily lost in the chaos of modern life. Slow living embraces a simple lifestyle full of home-cooked meals, traditional celebrations and rituals and time spent wisely. There will never be enough hours in the day, but we can shape and mould the time we have according to our wishes and desires, and once we can do that, we’re able to live more slowly, mindfully and with care.
So how can you embrace slow living and all it entails? Well firstly I want to say upfront that my own experience with lifestyle change has taught me that nothing happens overnight. You’re not going to read this article and change everything by tomorrow evening, so patience (something I’m really not very good at!) is key. If (like me) you like to get started straight away here are some simple tips for embracing slow living that you can implement right now:
- Tonight, 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 with nature and the world around you, take a few moments to get grounded by standing outside barefoot. Scrunch your toes and feel the blades of grass tickling the underside of your feet. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or cold – 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.
- Pick out a seasonal celebration that’s on the horizon and make plans to celebrate. In the UK Lammas – signifying the first day of harvest – is on the horizon (1st August) so we’ll be making corn dollies and baking Lammas bread. Invite friends and family and plan to cook up a feast to celebrate.
- 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. Depending on where you live you’ll be privy to the sunrise if you’re up early enough, and observing this primitive ritual is a stark reminder of a greater existence.
While these tips can really make a difference right now, changing your lifestyle to live more slowly does – rather aptly – take time. Often we become so used to hurtling through our to-do lists at speed that we don’t realise that there could be any other way, and that life doesn’t have to be quite so chaotic. Changing that mind-set is a process that has to be worked through like any other, but I can guarantee you it’s worth it.
If you like the sound of slow living, I’ve got a free 7 day email course that would be perfect for you – it guides you through 7 simple steps to slow things down and includes free resources and templates to help you design a lifestyle you love – just click here to sign up and start embracing positive change.
Thank you Eliza for allowing me to share my passion with your readers!