Summer is upon us and for some of us it can feel like a blink, and for others, it can come crawling day by day, either bringing excitement or anxiety, depending on your situation and schedule (especially if you have little ones at home). My hope in this post is to inspire a life at home that is filled with more ease and stillness, whether you're in a busy season or a season of slowness. I hope to encourage you that slow living is not as far as it seems, but can be embraced in whatever season you are in. You don't have to live far away in the countryside and you also don’t have to throw away the thought of slow living if you have a busy schedule or kids.... Wherever you are, this is for you!
1. Plan your time
This might sound contrary to slow living, but what successful people have actually discovered is that just like how buying bulk at the grocery store saves you money in the long run even though you're spending more up front, so is the same with your time. If you buy more time up front by planning, it will actually save you time and energy in the long haul. Even just planning your time according to a weekly schedule for meals, activities, home and self care, you will save so much time and energy in the long run that you will be able to be more present and in the moment with yourself and your loved ones. I have personally created a weekly planner for this very reason, that you can enjoy it too for FREE at no cost to you. Plus, by doing a weekly planner, you will notice where you can manage a little bit more, or planned too much, as well as help you cover all bases with your personal health and relationship goals while also managing the big and small tasks you have to do at home. Planning your time is an easy way to embrace slow living, all by working smarter and not harder.
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2. Do your home chores slowly and more thoughtfully
The whole purpose of Home+Life is to inspire beautiful daily living at home and a huge part of that has to do with slow and thoughtful living. My personal goal is to enjoy the daily mundane tasks and to connect with myself and others in a meaningful way while doing the dishes, folding laundry, or even cleaning. It is something I am not perfect in and am definitely working towards, but I notice that when I am enjoying the tasks, so are my little ones. It is a great way to teach them that it is a joy to tend to our home and is a great time for them to learn simple skills and important traits and habits along the way. It will take a little set-up if you're wanting to incorporate your little ones like communicating up front about what you're doing and what the reward is for doing it, but you can even romanticize it a little bit and make it fun by playing some music with singing and dancing in between. As long as you are enjoying it and feeling connected in the process, that's all that matters.
3. Tackle only 1-2 tasks a day for those slower days
There will be those days where either you're out on vacation with days away at home, or maybe even a whole day for a running errands or a family outing, but even just 2-3 days at home for slower living can make a difference in our mood. During those days at home where you want to be fully present with yourself and your loved ones, it's important to only 1-2 tasks total for those slower days. Those tasks might look like a mini decluttering, laundry or house cleaning, but if your days are consistently about getting things done all day long all the time, it can defeat the purpose of practicing slow living and can also kick your body into flight or fight mode, leaving you feeling anxious or overwhelmed and never satisfied. Set yourself up for success where you feel like you won at the end of the day, by being present while doing the things that add value to your home and daily life. If you're someone that only has 1 day to work with to work towards slower living, then start there and evaluate how that works for you and makes you feel, leading up to our next point...
4. Notice your daily state
With slow and thoughtful living, it has less to do with the 'all or none mindset' of letting go all of your plans and has more to do with remaining in the state of self awareness and peace. For instance, while I'm doing the dishes, am I noticing myself remaining in a calm state, or am I rushing through it, feeling anxious to get the next thing done? This goes hand in hand with not doing too many things in a day. Though it's not always realistic to go slow in all of our daily tasks and constantly be in a state of awareness, even just tuning in once a day is huge progress. For me, I realize that the more I'm focused on tasks, it can be easier to lose myself and I'm less connected to what's happening inside of me, which then results in operating from less of a calm (feminine) state and more of a rushed and get-er-done state (masculine). Though men and women both have feminine and masculine traits in terms of being nurturing and productive, historically and scientifically, men are predominantly wired to be the conquerors in productivity, and women predominantly the nurturers. Our true and best selves are represented when our naturally dominant trait is the most forwardly expressed. When we can live in self-awareness of our state, we can then better manage our current and future state for the well-being of our home atmosphere. As a woman and a nurturer of my home, it is my joy that I get to create stability and safety by bringing my true calm and feminine self so that I can tend to myself, and have my family along with the masculine find true rest and comfort as well, all because I am able to manage my state and the state of my home. The more I notice my state, the more I'm able to adjust my days so that I (and we) can feel lighter and happier.
5. Have a daily practice of accepting emotions
When we are in the practice of noticing our state, we are then invited into the world of our needs and emotions. This may sound scary to those who may be on the wheel of busyness (me included at times), but my hope is to bring a shame-free approach and an invitation to bring acceptance and validation wherever you are. With self-awareness sometimes comes the overwhelming reality of what we are feeling or the circumstances we are in. I have learned that the more I can accept that reality and validate myself in it, the less scary it becomes to face, and the less stuck I become, and able to move forward. At first, this might seem daunting and even impossible. But with a little daily practice over time, I promise it will get easier and come more naturally. Acceptance and validation can also look like "I'm not able to give out as much, and right now, I'm learning how to get filled up. I am still enough even when I don't have much to give." Acceptance can also look like, "I am feeling a lot of anger because (fill in the blank) happened. It's ok that I feel angry and I'm learning what feels safe and unsafe to me while also expressing it in a way that does not hurt other people." Especially with anger, it can feel like such a scary emotion, that scares us and/or others, so a great and practical way to deal with anger is to move it through your body through a physical action, whether that's through jumping up and down, clenching your fist, taking a cold shower, or going on a walk or a run. It will help to get the blood flowing back in our brain, kick us out of fight or flight and into logic, reason and problem solving. In the practice of self-acceptance, we find ourselves keeping the guilt low and the ability to work through emotions and the ability to be present and restful.
6. Be unplugged & present
While practicing awareness, we may notice how our phones can be the ones that fire-up anxiety, so to set ourselves up for success, it is vital that we have times where we can put our phones in a separate room and be present with our loved ones. We have an Alexa in our living room, for the specific purpose of playing music and turning on some lights around the house, and one way we love to play and be present is by turning on some music in the house, and dancing with our little ones, or playing music while cooking that helps us loosen up and be present with whatever we are doing. Another benefit of having our phones in a separate room allows our minds to capture memories and not our phones for a day. I love to capture videos and pictures of my little ones so that I can look back at them later and reminisce but one thing I have been loving is allowing my mind to let the moment fully sink in not only to my head, but deeply into my heart, which is way more impactful and long lasting.
7. Go outside in the mornings & evenings daily
A great way to spend time being unplugged and present is by getting outside in the mornings and in the evenings. I have noticed for myself, this totally sets the mood for my day to be geared towards connection with myself, my family, and even with nature, as I breathe in the summer air, pick some berries, jump in the pool, and I notice that my kids and I are happier all day long when we begin and end our days outside. Whether I have my phone, or leave it inside, I notice myself naturally inclined to put it down when I'm out in nature. Even if you have a smaller backyard space, even just setting up a cozy spot where you can sip a drink and look out and feel the air or hear the birds will totally change the pace of your mornings and evenings!
8. Try new food and drink recipes
There's something about cooking that really requires one to slow down, and tap into all the senses of sight, taste, touch, smell and sound. I love trying new recipes for this very reason because I notice the more I notice in all of my senses, the more calm I feel and the more I'm able to enjoy the moment. One new habit I've been incorporating weekly this summer is trying a new recipe, whether it's for a dinner, dessert, or a fun refreshing drink. It gets me into my creative, right side of the brain, that helps me connect with myself that alleviates the hard-working left side of the brain that is constantly in problem-solving mode. The key to a healthy and happy home+life is to learn how to let ourselves play and let go of analyzing at times, and for me, playing around with food and drinks is a great and rewarding way to explore new ways to be creative, work with my hands, and enjoy together with family and friends.
9. Write and/or draw in a journal
There’s nothing like processing life on paper… whether you have a journal or not, even jotting down thoughts or feelings on your phone is helpful, but to take it a step further, nothing causes us to slow down more than sitting and writing. Are you overwhelmed with your giant task list? Writing it out releases your brain to hold one less thing. Feeling overwhelmed by circumstances? Writing or even drawing can help you process fully, getting even the hidden feelings out and get you back to a place of hope and empowerment. Are you a dreamer who loves to write poems or things are on your heart? Writing them out will feed your soul, creativity, and can even map out your dreams to your reality. Writing is an incredibly powerful tool that may seem dated or irrelevant, but it can actually connect you to yourself in a way that is inspiring and refreshing, and connect you to the life right in front of you bringing gratitude, thoughtfulness, and a fresh perspective.
10. Take time to dream of the coming months
Where there is vision, there is purpose. Where there is purpose, there is fulfillment. Sometimes we can get so stuck in either the present or the past, that we lose sight of vision and fail to prepare for the season ahead. Or sometimes we are stuck in the future, feeling stuck in our current reality and wondering how we will end up where we want to be. Having vision helps create a plan with goals along the way to line up our reality to our dreams and our vision. I am a natural dreamer, so this takes very little effort for me, but I can imagine that it might take some practice too, and slowing down, but will definitely be rewarding! Just like how planning saves us time in the long run, dreaming can be a fun and relaxed way to envision the life we want to create before we can create the steps to get there. Here's a fun cycle to think of: The creative feeds the problem solving and the problem solving then inspires action-taking, then the action-taking inspires creativity, beginning the cycle all over again. The art of slower living is learning to ebb and flow into each of these cycle, knowing when it’s time to slow down into our connected and creative self, then into our problem-solving and then to our action-taking self and back into our playful and connected self that can then relax again, all while being connected to ourselves and enjoying the process rather than rushing to a destination. It's all about doing it from a place of rest and not for rest.
If slow living feels daunting for you, what is one of these ten ways you want to incorporate this summer? Slowing down in just one way will bring so much more enjoyment to your summer, helping bring more cherished and celebrated moments with your loved ones, and also with yourself as well. My wish is that your home+life will be filled with more thoughtfulness, peace, and joy as you embrace the art of slow living this summer.
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