COMPILED BY LIFESTYLE BLOGGER, MELANIE BARNES
“I like to embrace the humble beauty of everyday life in the simplest of forms; where dawdling moments are slowly cherished and traditions are born and treasured, lasting for generations.” Folks have been embracing the art of ‘slow living’ for centuries, but the term as we know it today is being utilised far and wide ever more. Used to define a way of life that offers a humble approach to the hustle and bustle of the twenty-first century, it encourages an unhurried pace; valuing a more mindful outlook, with the aim of being present and whole.
It all started in 1986 with the concept of ‘slow food’. When a fast food establishment tried to open an outlet near The Spanish Steps in Rome, local residents, politicians, and officials opposed the idea. This single event prompted Carlo Petrini to found ‘The Slow Food Movement’ as an alternative to convenience nourishment. Its aim was to defend traditions, celebrate the pleasure of food, and highlight the emotive connection between where our food comes from, our planet, and how it ends on our plate. Over the last thirty years, notions behind ‘The Slow Food Movement’ have tiptoed into mainstream culture.
With working weeks seeming longer, schedules more rigorous, and society appearing busier than ever before, it makes perfect sense that there is some sort of resistance against this; naturally bringing the concept of ‘slow living’ to the fore. Unsurprisingly it is easy to get swept away with a demanding day, time can pass in a bit of a blur and we often fail to feel like we were really there for any of it. By embracing a slower pace, one is consciously yearning for more from each and every day. To me, the art of ‘slow living’ is in finding the time to be wholly present with ourselves and others, allowing space to linger over the small but often the most memorable moments. Essentially, it’s that glorious feeling you have during a trip when you realise that you are truly relaxed and are breathing a little deeper than before; ‘slow living’ is about revisiting that sense of calm as much as possible in everyday life. Once you start thinking of time as a commodity, it’s incredible how it changes what you decide to plan to spend your hours on.
‘Less is more’ is a good mantra, not just in terms of the doings you arrange for yourself and loved ones, but for your belongings and at home too. For me, I find that I am more content if there are less possessions in sight, it keeps me composed and allows me to focus in on what truly matters. By de-cluttering, naturally it’s easier to keep on top of things at home. Plus, there are fewer distractions as, after all, a simple home makes for a simple life.
I really do believe that everyone can hold a part of slow living, you simply should establish how to weave it into your current lifestyle. Pick one thing to concentrate on and start there, and when you are ready, move on to something else that you’d like to simplify. With a few easy adjustments, you too can slow down and find more treasured moments and newly born family traditions in your days.
Like with anything, it is important to discover your own comfortable rhythm. There is a common misconception that you have to do everything slowly if you are an advocate of ‘slow living’ and that you avoid stress all together in your routine.
This of course can feel a little daunting, which is why I recommend turning your attention to living more slowly in small doses and eventually it will begin to feel effortless. If I can mindfully tackle any difficult moments in my week by being open and calm then that’s a pretty fulfilling start – a light-hearted attitude can go a long way.
Melanie has written an e-book ‘The Slow Living Retreat’ with advice on how to slow down and reconnect with yourself; you can download your free copy at geoffreyandgrace.com Melanie Barnes, mother behind UK lifestyle blog Geoffrey and Grace, is a writer and photographer embracing a wholehearted and creative approach to everyday life.