I used to feel a strong sense of guilt and failure especially in my younger years, for having the tendency to take things slower, reflect, linger over books and poems. Mum worried that I would not amount to much, I seemed to lack drive contrary to my brother who was always ahead at school later becoming a successful musician playing multiple instruments. But while I was so joyful for his success this was not what I strived for; my dreams were quieter, all I wanted was to write about things I reflected upon or observed, those little nuances that are overlooked when rushing through life. These might not really seem like high achiever characteristics but they fulfilled me.
Leave the crowd behind
There’s a story in the Bible where masses of people were following Jesus, he healed the sick and spoke for hours yet there were still many waiting to be healed. Despite this, Jesus left the crowds behind to go into quiet time alone. His followers were angry (I’d probably be too if the one person who can heal my child leaves for some quiet time).
This teaches me that even thousands of years ago (whether one believes in the Bible or not) someone understood the importance of taking things slower, setting boundaries and recognizing that there is always going to be somewhere to rush to, something that needs getting done and someone who thinks you are not doing enough. Jesus knew people would be angry with him yet, he understood the importance of slowing down and taking time out, the importance of being in tune with his own inner rhythm, not being a slave to someone else’s tempo and opinions. One could say that Jesus was the ultimate essentialist who understood the value of now.
slow living habits that restored my mental health
On the week-ends, I tend to turn my phone off (kind of sort of but mostly)
I do not fill my schedule with meet-ups, which leaves enough space for ‘me time’ (I’ve learned to know myself, what causes me to be overwhelmed and what to do about it).
I no longer spend hours cleaning my home over week-ends instead, set aside about 30 minutes to one hour every day to freshen up the apartment before I go to bed (this has been the single most AMAZING habit that I’ve cultivated). As a result, my week ends are almost totally free to enjoy with my daughter.
Decluttering my home over a period of 6 years has allowed so much fresh and free space and relaxed living.
I’ve learned to prepare quick, light, simple, healthy and tasty meals consisting of natural food (meaning, I am not exhausted afterwards from standing long in the kitchen)
I’m okay with not always being with it or on top of everything, needing to own stuff that end in a pile one year later. Although curious by nature, I have also learned what’s all the rage today is tomorrow’s redundancy. I’ve become so happy with just being as opposed to always needing achieve or do things.
Quality over quantity: For the most part, I consciously reduce time with friends or family who spend significant amount of time on their phone when we meet or simply engaging in gossip and negativity. I have come to realize even more so now that time is so very precious, tomorrow is not promised and I’d like not to waste anybody’s time or have anybody waste mine.
Grocery shopping on the week-end when stores are more busy are kept to an absolute minimum, however, I must add that we have no food in tins, no flour, do not eat rice, pasta or frozen meat; this has significantly reduced the time I need to spend in food stores. Instead, we love going to the farmer’s market for fresh, natural food which is so much more FUN and less stressful by far. Oh how I love our farmer’s market visits.
“Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished”.