“Slow Living” has been a bit of a buzz phrase over the past few years, and it’s something that is really easy to ridicule. Most of us instagram and pinterest obsessed readers have been exposed to accounts and people that take the Kinfolk aesthetic too far, until the movement starts to sound like a Portlandia sketch.
Which is an absolute shame because I’ve been a proponent of slow living before the phrase even came into my lexicon.
So what does slow living mean to me?
To me it means having time alone for self-care. Setting time aside with loved ones. Spending as much time in nature as possible. Going on long walks whenever there is an opportunity. Breathing fresh air. Trying to element stress and hurry out of my life.
I welcome slow living in other aspects of my life. It’s no secret that I love food, and I hold the slow food movement quite dear to me. I love trying to eat locally, organically and seasonally. I love baking my own bread and learning traditional recipes to serve to loved ones. I dream of having my own vegetable patch or allotment one day. (I realise the irony of this – I kill most plants. But luckily I married a green-thumbed man.)
It’s one of the reasons that I reduced my meat consumption to only a day or so a week and my dairy consumption to only little bits here and there, as they both have large environmental impacts. The originator of the slow food movement, Carlo Petrini, said in an interview once, “As long as quality is seen as a luxury, everything is a disaster. Quality should be a right for everyone. We should be producing less so there is less waste. We can’t go on with the same levels of meat consumption. I also believe in eating locally.”
It means admitting that I don’t want to lean in / be a girlboss / everyday hustle. I work hard and want to be successful, to be able to feel financially secure at all times, but to me success is coupled with having space from your work. Space to spend time with people I love, to reconnect with nature, and to enjoy hobbies and life, in general.
I don’t like being busy. Space breeds creativity in my life. Society really glorifies busyness. But when I’m too busy, I start getting sensory overload and my anxiety kicks in. For example, Sam and I are both a bit overworked at the moment, when one of the other of us is frantically working as the clock chimes midnight. Coupled with lots of exciting family and friend hosting on the weekends, I’ve had little room to fully relax.
After a particularly trying day last week, I had a panic attack in the aisles of Aldi. (Exacerbated by the fact that Aldi isn’t laid out in any logical fashion at all, so I couldn’t find any of the food on my extremely long list that I had to shop for quite quickly.) Luckily Sam was with me, so he was able to take over and I went and had a lie-down in the car. I was pale as a ghost – well, even more pale than usual – and shaking by the time Sam loaded the groceries in the car boot, but I had control over myself again. I’d pinpointed the culprit: overstimulation, busyness and lack of connection to things that I genuinely care about. You know, the actually enjoying living your life stuff.
I don’t want to race through my life and have my head constantly spinning.
I want to have time with a cup of coffee outside in the sunshine with a good book. I want to have room for ritual in my life; be it daily meditation, time journaling or a bit of yoga. (Does that sound a bit too woo?)
Let’s face it: faster isn’t always better.
If you want to read other posts I’ve done about slow living or sustainability check them out below: