For most of us, everyday life feels pretty much like being on a continual treadmill; life is just so busy, can be rather stressful at times and passes us by so quickly. We know we can’t go at this pace forever without burning out and ultimately impacting our mental health. As a result, more people are looking for ways to take back some control.
The only way we can truly acknowledge what our life has become is by pausing, reflecting on our lifestyle, re-evaluating which parts we want to change and taking any action to make it more of what we want it to be. This concept of slowing right down, reigning things in, considering what matters most to us and demonstrating mindfulness as part of our day-to-day is called ‘slow living’ and it’s something we’re really passionate about practising and encouraging others to do…
THE BENEFITS OF SLOW LIVING & AN INTRODUCTION TO HOW TO PRACTISE IT
Slow living allows us to have the time to live life more mindfully and with purpose, creating an all important mind/body connection and stopping life from running away from us. By doing so, we can finally get off that treadmill and become more in touch with ourselves; focusing on what is important to us and what we need to live a happy, healthy, stress-free and fulfilling life. It’s all about having the time and space we need and living a life that suits us. By tapping into the time we have available to us we can prioritise quality over quantity – focusing on one thing at a time and putting our best efforts into it rather than spreading ourselves too thinly and not really getting anywhere. This also gives us the time to do things that we love.
Slow living may also indirectly assist in relieving any financial stress you may be experiencing. You may become more frugal as buying fast fashion or owning material possessions become less important. You pay attention to what you already have, which products can benefit your health and mental wellbeing and generally just appreciate life more. By saving money on material possessions you can actually live a healthier lifestyle.
When was the last time you sat and did absolutely nothing? We bet you can’t remember! Niksen is a Dutch concept of doing nothing which helps to relax and calm you whilst improving mental wellbeing. “Niksen is about letting go and having no purpose at all. It’s taking time out, allowing our brain to temporarily switch off, and to sit and relax with your own thoughts.” (source). Try to sit somewhere comfortable every so often for 5-10 minutes and just stare – out of the window, up at the clouds, people watching. Many people will find this quite difficult but it becomes easier to sit with ourselves the more you practise this.
Whether you can or can’t get on board with Niksen, why not try to spend some more time alone to reconnect with yourself and clarify your boundaries? Leave all technology in another room or put it away in a drawer and find a space away from all distractions. Each weekend leave one day where you have no plans at all – just make time to relax. Don’t feel guilty about saying no to invitations; it’s so important to put your health needs first. Instead, two great practices which are an invaluable use of your time are breathing exercises and meditation. Breathing deeply causes your body to produce endorphins whilst meditation relaxes your mind and your body.
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One of our favourite (and more natural/holistic) approaches to looking after ourselves is slow beauty as we’ve found this can also improve our physical and mental health. This is not just about products and treatments, it is about living a life which involves having a more mindful routine, including a healthy diet, an exercise regime, plenty of sleep and carefully considering what you are consuming/applying both inside and outside of your body. These all contribute towards a happier, healthier life and will help alleviate stress. Stress not only affects the way we feel but also the way we look.
- One of the reasons we enjoy skincare and makeup routines so much is because we no longer rush through this or see it as a quick fix. Rather, it’s an essential part of self-care. You don’t just have to go to a beauty salon or spa for this – why not pamper yourself at home? Allow yourself the time to unwind and relax during this process. Close that bathroom door every evening and spend 5 minutes on yourself, giving yourself a face massage using your fingers or a face roller (our rose quartz roller is cooling and soothing to the touch) and our face oil (which contains jasmine – a natural mood enhancer), bringing positivity into the end of the day. Pay attention to the ingredients in your products (where possible use natural and organic) and what benefits they have in relation to your skin. Make the time each day to focus on your beauty routine, making a ritual out of it. Not only are you nourishing and caring for your skin but remember that touch has huge health benefits and brings the body and mind together.
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- It is a scientific fact that the food we eat can affect our mood. Cooking at home from scratch, using fresh, wholesome ingredients provides us with the nutrients we need to keep our body and mind healthy. Foods rich in Vitamin C may help lower your stress hormones and foods which contain Omega 3 have a calming effect on our mood. Instead of drinking caffeine-rich drinks like coffee, give hot lemon a try. It not only helps to clear the mind but enables you to get a good night’s sleep so that you feel rested and ready to enjoy the following day. It also helps to give you clearer skin. Cooking also affords you the time for you to unwind and relieve any stress you may be feeling. We aim to cook from scratch at least twice a week (mid-week), and every meal at the weekend. If your child/children enjoy cooking, it can also be an activity that you all do together.
- With just 30 minutes exercise a day, your mind will become clearer and your stress hormones will be lowered. Exercise boosts endorphins (‘feel good’ chemicals) which improves your mood, enhanced further by choosing an activity that you enjoy. If vigorous exercise or being in a group isn’t for you, start small by getting out into nature. We love nothing more than to walk aimlessly around the local park!
The above are all great ways to just get started with slow living but there’s lots more you can do and build into your routine until it becomes a positive habit in your life. It’s all about finding what works for you.
HOW DO YOU EMBRACE SLOW LIVING?
We’d love for you to tell us in a comment below.