I’ve been focusing a lot lately on “slowing down” and not glorifying the act of being busy. I have a bad habit of always being go-go-go, and never really shutting down. But I’ve been making a conscious effort to pause, breathe and engage in activities that are “slow” in nature. So I’m campaigning that we make “Slow Living Spring” a thing. This season, let’s all focus on quality over quantity, and taking a moment to enjoy life as it comes. Here are a few things that I’ve tried and recommend you try too for “Slow Living Spring.”
Sign off social media on the weekends
On Friday at 5 p.m., I log out of Instagram, and on Monday at 9 a.m., I sign back in. It’s kind of scary how hard this was the first couple times I did it. My thumb was always mindlessly swiping over to the app, but when it pulled up the login page, it would jolt me back into reality. But now, I actually look forward to this “quiet” time. It’s crazy how much we can get pulled into what other people are doing and feeling the need to document our every move for the purpose of sharing on social media. But logging out for a certain period of time gives us a quiet freedom and the opportunity to engage as fully as possible.
Adopt “slow” hobbies
If you read my monthly favorites, you saw that I have a newfound obsession with doing puzzles. I’ve also taken up cross-stitching, so yes, I am officially turning into my grandmother. But these slow hobbies are such a lovely way to pass the time minus the strain and noise of technology. There’s intention behind your actions when you’re sitting down and partaking in something that brings you quiet joy. Here are some ideas for “slow” hobbies that you could try:
- Cross-stitching or embroidery
- Floral arranging
- Learning to play piano
The opportunities are endless. Who needs a WiFi connection to enjoy your quiet time?
Wake up early
Living slowly means going to bed and waking up early. There’s seriously no better way to start your day than having the quiet hours of the morning all to yourself. If you’re like me and you have barnacle babies or noisy toddlers, these hours are precious and can set the tone for your entire day. Soak in the early morning light, enjoy a quiet cup of coffee and read a book. Which leads to my next point…
Read twice a day
The best way to start and end your day is by reading. Since you’re already going to be waking up earlier, use that time to read a chapter or two. People ask me all the time how I manage to read so many books (71 last year, but who’s counting?), and I always tell them it’s because I read twice a day. Reading in the morning and in the evening before you go to sleep perfectly bookends your day, no pun intended. (Follow Taylor and me on Goodreads and let’s share what we’re reading).
Go for a walk every day
Even if it’s just down the street and back. But getting out into the fresh air and sunshine is crucial. We spend far too much time shut indoors working and doing the mundane day-to-day tasks. This spring, take the time to go outside and really observe nature, take a deep breath of fresh air, enjoy the serenity of water and greenery. Find outdoor activities to enjoy such as nature walks, hiking, swimming, etc. Taking a moment to stop and appreciate the feel of the sun and air on your skin and in your lungs is a beautiful thing.
Try mindful breathing
There’s a difference between meditation and mindful breathing, though they are both incredibly beneficial to your wellbeing. If you find yourself feeling stressed, or you just need to reconnect with your center, try a mindful-breathing practice. Feel the air coming into your body, and feel the stress going out. By fully focusing on each breath, you bring yourself back to the present, and slow yourself down.
One of the biggest elements of slow living is the ability to say “no” to things you don’t want to do. This means social obligations, unnecessary meetings, etc. Ask yourself some simple questions: Do I really have to do this? How can I skip this task/step/activity if I don’t like it? Chances are there are a lot more tasks and commitments that you can easily say “no” to than you realize.
Examine the details
When we have down periods or periods of waiting, what’s the first thing we tend to do? That’s right, reach for the phone. Instead, try absorbing the details all around you. Use waiting time for simple observations and enjoying details. Have you ever noticed how pretty the wildflowers are on the side of the freeway when yo1u’re sitting in traffic? Do you really pay attention to the birds that are chirping outside? It might sound silly and fluffy, but these simple observations create peace and contentment in a noisy, crowded world.