How are you doing? Being kind to yourselves, I hope. As we prepare for the week ahead and approach those first sun-drenched days of summer, I’ve been giving a little thought to slow living and what that means for many of us during this strange and somewhat uncertain time. In the last couple of months, life - it seems - has slowed right down to snail’s pace. With everything from travel to socialising gently grinding to a quiet halt, for me it’s meant turning my attention inwards and beginning to question what really matters.
In many ways, that’s what slow living is all about. More than just taking your foot off the pedal, the slow living movement is a lifestyle encouraging a slower, more mindful approach to the way we live. It’s about disconnecting from the frenetic pace of life and living in a more meaningful and conscious way. Some have turned ‘SLOW’ into an acronym, standing for ‘Sustainable, Local, Organic and Whole’, but I prefer to see it as taking one thing at a time and really savouring each small joy. Going slow doesn’t have to mean missing out, either. Like me, you might even be surprised to notice - once you learn to live at a gentler, kinder pace - how much more you have time for.
There are plenty of lovely ways to live slowly, from choosing sustainable, repurposed fabrics to wear or furnish your house with, to uncoupling (or at least temporarily unplugging) from technology in favour of more grounding, thoughtful pursuits. But one of my favourite places to slow down in over the last few weeks has been the kitchen. Instead of reaching for one of the many local (and delicious) takeaways nearby, I’ve been spending time nurturing home-cooked dishes instead. From famously stubborn sourdough starters that need a little TLC, to flavoursome slow-cooked soups and stews, there’s nothing like a bit of rhythmic chopping and stirring to put you in a meditative state and remind you just how good living in the moment feels.
So now with the lockdown looking set to lift in the not-so-distant future, tapping into the slow living we’ve become accustomed to and focusing on the simple pleasures we’ve enjoyed could prove just what’s needed going forward, too. I’ll be trying to carry some of the lessons I’ve learned with me as we tentatively head back into that busier, bustling world. Like saying no to things that aren’t essential and creating space for things that are. Unplugging more often to recharge. Swapping the daily commute for the healing powers of nature. And enjoying the connections that taking things slower has brought - after all, purposefully engaging means better connections with not just those around us, but with ourselves, too.
I thought I’d sign off with three of my favourite ways to live a little slower, in case you’d like to join me in the slow lane.
- Lighting a candle. The ultimate act of self-care? I think so
- Slow-cooking a hearty dish for someone you love. This poached pears recipe is perfect for those long summer evenings.
- Writing a letter. You could even pen one to your future self, here.
Go slow, and enjoy the moment – I’ll be trying to.