The whole slow living thing first came on my radar a few years ago when someone from Slow magazine asked me to write an article for them.
Obviously, I was thrilled. It was a new, funky magazine and I was stoked that anyone wanted to publish my work but I have to admit I was quite confused.
There was nothing slow or mindful about my blog back then. Truth be told, finding slowness and mindfulness in my blog now isn’t exactly a thing. I’m all about efficiency, productivity, hustle and grabbing life by the short and curlies. I’m stoked if you can fit some exercise, sleep and greens in there too but if you can’t, no biggie.
Cut a long story short, my article never ended up being written as I think they changed editors or something but I’ve been a fan of the mag ever since. It’s pure voyeurism for me. My very organised, very Type A personality is fascinated by people who have actual chill in their lives. People who yoga. People who meditate. People who manage to get things done without writing lists. It’s like watching a really awesome documentary about an ancient culture.
Having said that, despite being a workaholic, I do have quite a few slow habits. If I’m hanging out with my mates I never check my phone. If I’m ducking to the shops for 20 minutes, I often won’t take it with me. I like cooking things from scratch, I crochet, I go camping. I also really, really love playing cards and board games.
I find that sometimes people treat movements like this with a little bit of disdain but I think if you’re finding yourself resisting something like this, the trick is to water it down. You don’t have to buy chickens and start tanning your own leather to get the benefits of slow living.
If you’re like me and not sure the slow living life is for you, here a few tips to get you started.
1. Grow some things
I have three house plants I’ve had for about 8 years and they’re all still alive. This makes me very proud because they’re quite beautiful and I really enjoy watering them, cutting off their dead leaves, moving them in and out of the sunlight. It’s a lovely, little pottery thing to do every now and then. Just lovely. Grow anything – flowers, plants, herbs. It’s so satisfying and not even a very big commitment.
2. Eat your meals without doing anything else
Mr Smaggle and I both work from home and when we break for lunch, we stop and eat together. No TV, no screens. Just us and our lunch. We don’t even plan it, we just kind of do it. I used to do the same thing with my mate Browny who I used to work with when I first started my blog. We’d take our lunch out to the grass and have a lovely 20 minutes, screen and boss free. Try your hardest to not have screens around when you’re eating.
3. Have a hobby
It seems that people get very stressed about finding the right hobby and sticking to it but you can have several hobbies and jump and back and forth between them. I’ve done jewellery making, sewing (very badly), theatre, writing and now I crochet as well. Try a whole lot of different things but try to make them screen free if possible.
4. Be bored
I did a digital detox last year and my favourite part about it was not having my phone when I was out and about. I can remember waiting for my partner to come and pick me for 15 minutes and I was SO BORED without my phone to scroll through. So I watched people, made friends with dogs, looked in shop windows. It was lovely and it made the time pass slower which is perfect because time passes so freaking fast, it’s good to make things chill for a bit.
5. Make some things
I love making stuff. I wouldn’t even say I’m particularly good at it but I enjoy it and it’s fun. You can make DIY beauty products, cleaning sprays, clothing, food, jams, preserves. Find something you enjoy creating and go for it. You can even make beer. Do that! Make beer. I’ll come drink it with you.
6. Pretend TVs and computers don’t exist
Mr Smaggle and I once rented a caravan that didn’t have a TV in it. Each night we’d eat dinner, chat, read, play cards. It was probably the happiest and most relaxed we’d been in years. We still often have TV free evenings. We listen to the radio or read. It’s really nice and makes the evening not slip away while your eyes are glued to the TV.
7. Mend things or have them mended
Having things mended is so satisfying. Mr Smaggle went out the other night and I spent the evening in front of the TV, sewing buttons on dresses and ironing things. I even had a sneaky glass of wine and it was so ace. It was a weirdly wholesome experience and I honestly almost wished I had more things to iron. Who even am I?
8. Enjoy things that take a long time
I used to get cranky if I had to take a long train or tram right but now I embrace it. One of my mates recently moved not that far away but in a weird public transport zone, that means it takes about an hour to get to her house. I just pop on a podcast and sit back and enjoy the time out rather than get annoyed that I’m wasting time. Lovely.
9. Do something you usually couldn’t be bothered doing
Give the dog a good wash, vacuum under the couch, swim some laps in your local pool just to relax. The next time you catch yourself rolling your eye and planning shortcut, just do the thing the long way and see what happens.
This week on Straight & Curly, Kelly and I are talking about life admin and how to manage it… so you can spend more time doing lovley things instead. Ace right?