Many of us are feeling that our days are a rush of frazzled nerves with a lack of personal connections. Some are discovering that a return to crafts, cooking, gardening, and activities of the past help to restore a sense of having more time than when we rush through our daily lives.
To begin, we must recognize that slowing down is a choice we can make. Start small; choose a way in which you can tame just a little of your daily routine. The Slow-Living idea started with the Slow Food movement, begun by Carlo Petrini in the 1980s in Italy. He proposed that workers move away from fast food to Slow Food, mindful eating and conversation rather than gulping down food and racing back to work. Slow Living takes this idea a step further and suggests that we all slow down enough to enjoy life – how we eat meals, get to work, and spend free time.
IDEAS TO SLOW DOWN YOUR MEALS:
– Sit down at a table and eat from a real plate, even if the meal is takeout.
– Take a full, deep breath before you begin to eat.
– Put your laptop, phone, or book away; focus on each bite.
– Invite co-workers to eat lunch with you rather than eating alone at your desk.
– Make an effort to have family dinners.
CONSIDER YOUR COMMUTE
Is it stressful? If you can, modify or eliminate the traditional commute. If possible, ride a bike, walk, take public transportation, or telecommute one or more days each week. If you can’t avoid the daily commute, see if leaving earlier avoids the worst traffic, listen to an audiobook or favorite music, or possibly try a different route for a change of scenery.
Our daily routine can provide a ritual for slowing down. Focus on a routine activity such as making the coffee and consciously enjoy the aroma, breathing deeply before each sip. Doing one morning task slowly may help to start an incredibly busy day with a bit of peace.
What used to be called “free time” is often used now to check email, update social media, shop online, or watch television. These activities become very time-consuming and don’t always provide much-needed relaxation. We can choose to do something else. Start by choosing one day a week as a “screen-free evening” to do something else. Learn to knit or play an instrument, or just rekindle that old hobby you had when you “had more time.”
DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE A LITTLE BORED
Try just sitting, enjoying the sky, lying in a hammock, doing nothing, talking to a child, walking the dog. It’s all right and healthy to slow down to find peace.
As the holidays approach, give up some of the rushing around so you have more time to enjoy them. Decorate the table with herbs or evergreens from the garden. Make or bake small gifts. If you find pushing and shoving at the mall is stressful, shop online. Take time to sip hot cocoa by candlelight or twinkle lights.
Slow parenting is good for parents and kids, who often rush from school to sports to arranged activities with “free” time spend on homework and screen time. Schedule some unstructured time with no planned activities or electronics; provide creative materials (blocks, building or art supplies) or time in the yard to “play.” Explore a nature area or park; spend time as a family working in the garden.
Discover the satisfaction that can be found in making something from scratch that you would normally buy. Rather than a movie and a dinner out, cook with your spouse or friends; get together to bake bread, can some fruit, make soap or scrub, or sew or do needlework.
TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO STUDY THE SKY
Open the shades or blinds and discover how the light and shadows move from morning through the afternoon. Get up from the computer to look out a window from time to time. Create a habit of stepping outside early in the morning; take a deep breath. You’ll feel better!