When you think of your everyday life, do you feel calm? Fulfilled? Content? Living day-to-day can be hectic. We often cram way too much into our tiny 24hours. We're told to bust our arses off to get what we want, while rarely taking a moment to be in the present and rethink what it is we actually want. When you're making a cup of tea, are you thinking about how you feel, or how the light shines through the window in a morning, or are you worrying about your day before it has even begun? We're always concerned about things that haven't happened, overthinking situations that we can't change and spend time comparing ourselves to digitalised versions of people we don't even know online. Slow living can help you feel more in-tune with yourself and appreciate the real and present world we're in, helping you to see the bigger picture and understand what really makes you happy.
What is slow living?
There are lots of definitions of slow living online, but at Rabbit Nose we think of slow living as being present, taking time and care to complete everyday tasks with more intention in our actions.
Slow living 24/7 is not always possible. It's an absolute privilege to even be able to practise it at all, never mind every single moment of every single day. But I'm going to give you some examples of how you can introduce a little bit of slow into your daily routine.
How can I "slow live" ?
The truth is you might be practising some acts of slow living without even realising. And there are no exact ways to do it either. Slow living is essentially a form of self-care.
Turn routine into ritual
Every day most of us have some kind of routine. Whether this is a simple get out of bed, stretch, shower, eat, go to work routine or one with more steps that include getting the kids up, taking the dog out and seeing to everyone else before checking on yourself, we often get into the habit of doing this routine without even thinking.
Next time you do your routine, give yourself a little extra time and focus on the details. Slow living doesn't mean you have to do anything slowly; it's all about taking your own time and thinking with intention while doing it.
Properly brew your tea by the instructions. Light a candle while you get ready. Use fresh ingredients in your breakfast. Water your plants around the house. Only use products in the shower that have scents that you love and make you feel happy. Repeat positive affirmations to yourself as you brush your teeth.
Simple steps like these can help turn your usual routine into a soothing ritual.
Turn skincare into self-care
While applying skincare products, use this time to really relax and unwind.
If you like to start your skincare ritual in the shower or bath, try to focus your mind on your body and environment around you rather than worrying or stressing about what has or hasn't happened that day. Focus on the beautiful scents of the soap you're using, the feel of a body scrub when exfoliating and the sensations of the warm water against your skin.
When moisturising your body, give yourself a massage, focusing on knots or tense areas like your neck, shoulders, calves. Do the same when applying oils and serums to your face, giving yourself a super relaxing facial massage.
There is so much more to self-care than skincare, but turning your usual skincare routine into a ritual (by including external things like drinking a cup of tea while your face mask is on, lighting candles, incense, wearing clean pyjamas, getting into fresh bed sheets - just to name a few) can help you detach from the worries and stress you might be experiencing, and focusing more on yourself.
Do one thing at a time
This sounds simple enough, but there are so many times in a day you will be multi-tasking. So start single-tasking.
Put your focus into one thing, and do it mindfully. Whether it's putting your phone down to make a cuppa or just completing one work task at a time instead of jumping between two, single-tasking can bring a calmer sense of structure to everyday life.
While it's a skill, and definitely beneficial at times, to be able to multi-task well in our busy lives with hectic schedules, actively stop yourself from doing too much at once to make you feel a little less buzzed and a little more calm.
Step back and do "nothing"
At the time of writing this, we are experiencing a global pandemic and the majority of us have been working from home and not doing the things we would usually be doing. You might have hated this time or you might have realised that half the things you had planned you maybe weren't as passionate about as you thought. That's because sometimes we may feel pressured (without even realising) to say yes to events because of FOMO. I strongly believe in JOMO (joy of missing out), because the feeling of not being somewhere you really didn't want to be is actually very nice.
Nothing doesn't mean sitting in a dark room with only your thoughts and absolutely nothing else. Doing nothing is more the act of doing something more consciously in the present moment with yourself. Not being on your phone, sucked into the attention economy, not half watching Netflix, but really doing something that can benefit your mind and body in some way. This could be reading, working out, meditation, watering plants, going for a bike ride, baking a cake, crafting, rearranging the furniture, painting - anything you want.
The importance of "doing nothing"
I once read in the (amazing) book 'How to do nothing' by Jenny Odell, that "doing nothing" sits under the umbrella of self-care so that we can "think, reflect, heal and sustain ourselves". Everyone is different - some people love to take a step back and relax while others hate even the thought of it. But doing so can give us time to reflect, repair and tune in to what we really want.
Why do we love slow living?
I've always spoken about taking things slow, making moments for yourself and tuning into the way your body and mind feels with Rabbit Nose. Because I do yoga and treat myself to sports massages every couple of months, my friends think I'm some sort of self-care whizz. But while these are 100% valid forms of self-care, there are so many more ways to really take care of yourself that don't include the obvious ones like yoga and massages.
Slow living itself is taking care of yourself. It's noticing small details, enjoying the little things and doing things at your own pace. Not over-exerting yourself and actively self-preserving. It's not punishing yourself for not looking like someone you've insta-stalked for over an hour without even realising. And it's not rushing around doing a million things at once without even one thought about how you feel about it.
While I cannot slow live all of the time, I always try to do one task a day in the slow life way. We now have a 'slow living' highlight on Instagram, to share tips, positive affirmations and other things to brighten up your feed and remind you to s l o w down.