There is something hypnotising about the summer that encourages a slower pace. I have written about it before, that particularly during the warmer months people noticeably have a strong desire to slow down.
Traditionally it’s when people go on holiday, which automatically invites a different rhythm from the rest of the year.
Bound by school terms for a large portion of childhood, maybe it’s ingrained in us from an early age, that the summer is the time to kick back and play. As adults with children, the free summer months still represent later starts and no school runs.
Perhaps also the warmer weather invites a slower lifestyle. Heat can definitely make you feel lethargic, after all the tradition of siestas became commonplace to help people avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day.
Most importantly though I think having a holiday reminds us that there is another tempo available. Like a muscle we have forgotten to use – if gone un-flexed for a while, it needs a gentle nudge to remember what it’s meant to be doing. We notice we don’t have to hurry, rush, and speed our way through things constantly. Suddenly our bodies register how good ‘slow’ feels. In fact, more than that, we realise that ‘slow’ is instinctively what our bodies need.
For many, their holiday is the first opportunity for a while that gives them the space to tune into and connect with their bodies again, and it’s only by taking the time to listen to ourselves in this way that we can we understand that rest, relaxation and a more mindful pace is essential for our wellbeing.
The very context of being away makes us adapt our routine, which helps us find that slower rhythm. Lots of the small changes we make on holiday are easy enough to bring home and implement in our day-to-day life. Imagine what impact it would have on our health, if on our return, we were to just hold on to a few of them.
Things like making time for a leisurely breakfast, a pause in our day to read a book for pleasure, making some time to just sit, or simply breathing a little deeper, are all examples of straightforward things we can do to put a halt to any haste that creeps into our day. Or (when possible) trying to enjoy the freedom that comes from no schedule and no plans. I know it’s unrealistic to think we can do all those things every day, but one or two of them should be achievable. And I think we’d be surprised by what a profound effect these easy changes would have on our mood and how mindful we would be.
Since August is dedicated to a month of slow, I thought it would be useful to focus on different aspects of slow living. I know the term ’slow living’ still confuses many, or is unheard of even, so I want to explore some of the common misconceptions, and particularly look at some myths about stress, productivity and slow living.
I also will share some posts with actionable things you can do to bring some more mindful and slow moments into your days, things that I do to help me find (and hold on to) a slower pace when I have got a bit lost in the business of life. Not to mention a look at why creativity goes hand-in-hand with slow living, and a look at slow fashion.
Plus of course, we will announce the winners of #slowliving_explore (see here for details of how to enter and what you could win), as well as an introduction to a brand new hashtag. (As I type it out here it is dawning on me that there is no way I will manage to share all of this with you during August, not in a slow way – ha 😉 …so some of these posts will undoubtedly spill into September also.)
If you have any specific questions or queries about slow living and wellbeing that you would like me to touch on, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy slow days to you all.