Born out of a resistance against the ‘busyness’ of modern life, slow living feels like a relatively recent term, but it has been in effect for thousands of years.
As early as Plato, there was the idea that “In order to seek one’s own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life.” With roots in the Slow Food Movement of the 1980’s, this premise still lives today; it is about nurturing the process and present moment through simple and mindful acts of slowing down. Far from just an aesthetic, it is an appreciation of less - both physically and mentally - and a desire to just be instead of always doing.
But with such a broad definition, how can you implement slow living into your life?
Well, slow living isn’t about quitting your job, stopping activities altogether or turning your world upside down. It’s about simple and sustainable adjustments to your daily routine so you can enjoy life more. It’s about finding a balance between work and home, an appreciation of what you have and seeing the beauty of the everyday in all its simplicity.
Attainable and authentic, we could all benefit a little from meaningful adjustments to everyday life and here’s how.
Appreciate what you have instead of looking for more
One of the main reasons people struggle to slow down is because they are always striving for the next thing. In a culture that glorifies ‘being busy’, it’s important, for slow living, to adopt a mindset that appreciates all that you already have. Resisting the need for more can be difficult, especially when we live in a consumerist world. Even if, to begin with, it feels like you have very little, a change of mindset will allow you to appreciate even the smallest of moments and make it easier, in the long term, to live with less.
Define what is important to you
Once you’ve gained perspective, it’s time to think about your values, so start by writing down what you enjoy doing the most. Ask yourself if you’re current lifestyle meets these objectives, and if it doesn’t, then think about how, from now on, you can make sure it does. Slow living isn’t a rule book or a ‘one size fits all’ approach; it is a lifestyle that means something different to everyone. No matter how indulgent it may feel to begin with, it’s about taking the time to do the things that you truly enjoy and cultivate an awareness of what brings you the highest pleasure.
Keep it small and simple
And it doesn’t have to be drastic. Keeping things as simple as possible, especially at the beginning, can be the difference between a few months of change and a sustainable outlook that lasts a lifetime. If you enjoy reading, then take ten minutes out of your day to read a chapter of a book. If fitness is your thing but you don’t have time for the gym, then walking home from work can be the simple, but meaningful, swap you’ve been searching for. Sometimes the smallest adjustments can be the most powerful ones.
Make time for yourself every single day
We can’t stress enough that change to your daily routine is the most effective way to sustain a positive and purposeful lifestyle. Whether that’s sitting and enjoying a herbal tea before bed or taking a walk in your lunch break instead of staying at your desk, try and introduce change that is practical and easy for your routine. If you’re interested in making time for family meals or homecooked food, then have a look at our latest blog post, ‘Mindful Meal Times’ for how.
If you’re struggling to find a starting point, or you’ve begun, and life is already carrying you away, then try heading out into nature. Not only can it help to clear your mind, it is also a means of escape from the routine of everyday life and a chance to refocus on the things that truly matter to you. There is nature everywhere, even if it’s just in your garden, so it should be a simple and easy remedy for anyone feeling a little lost. As John Muir said,“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
Barton Croft is all about handcrafted ceramics for your dinner table, but the idea runs deeper than that. From our simple forms and convenient tableware to our advocacy of a simple, yet pleasurable, life, we encourage you to forge a lifestyle that appreciates the every day, no matter how small or slow that may be.
Are you living your life a little more slowly? We’d love to know how in the comments below.