The Skill of Slow Living - How to Make it Work

What do you imagine when you think about your childhood?  I see a lot of the outdoors.  Living in Maine, being outside was second nature.  As a child I was told to play outside or read if I was bored, activities on the weekend were playing in the woods and enjoying nature, not running around to as many activities as we could possibly fit in.


I am one of the first of the Millennial generation, and I know that I am probably one of the last to remember an early childhood without screens, without the academic pressures of today, without so much negativity.

I don’t know if I was just protected from it, or if the addition of social media and an online presence from a very young age now changes the way that children perceive life in the “real world.”

Margin.  That is my word of the year.  Margin.  White Space.  Quiet.

These are some of the words that have been rolling around in my brain for the past month.

I haven’t quite found my footing in 2017 yet.  It seems like there is just.so.much. going on out in the world to really feel comfortable with any of it.  The negativity is draining.  Watching the news is draining.  Trying to keep up with the general day to day is draining.

It reminded me of a term that I held dear for many years – slow living.

The term slow-living seemed to come around the same time that slow-food entered into my life.

Slow food is just what it sounds like – taking the time to appreciate the delicious food that we have available to us.  But, it started to go farther.  It was a movement; a movement about getting back to the basics of life.  About enjoying the process of making food, about finding food in our local food shed, about remembering the cost to bring that food to our tables. 

Slow living is much the same. 

Instead of the constant stuff, instead we see experience, instead of going going going, we take a step back to slow down and experience life instead of letting it pass us by.

The past several months have been full of busy for my family.  They always are.  Between school, basketball, church activities, the holidays, the political climate, it is a lot of busy, a lot of constant information to be dealt with.

But my word is margin this year.

Margin.  I need more of it.  I need that permission to slow down.  To have a lazy Saturday drinking coffee and reading a book, to be able to say yes to a last minute outing with my mom, or to have an impromptu movie night with friends.

Instead, it seems when there is a moment to breathe, I don’t want to do anything else, because I have been so overwhelmed.  Because I know that there is another something that needs to be done soon.

I need to slow down.  I know that I need to re-prioritize.  I need to start thinking about self-care more, and less about the fear of missing out for my children, for myself.

It is a good time for me to reflect on the changes that I want to make in our daily lives.  Basketball is done for the year!  It is the dead of winter, and we are in our final stretch of homeschooling for the year – we will go straight through to the middle of May and then be done for a bit.

I’m not sure what the changes are that I will make, or how I will make them; I’m not sure what slow living looks like for us, here, in 2017.  But, I am ready to start exploring those themes the way I did back when I only had one little one in the house.

Evaluating our schedule, what we desire for in our days, the most important items; those will be the first steps.  What is essential?  What do I want to say Yes to?  What am I saying Yes to begrudgingly?

Living slow is not something that happens easily.  It is something that you have to fight for, and make adjustments frequently.  It is too easy to get caught up in the current of life, and you forget to slow down, to enjoy life.

Have you heard of slow-living?  Is that something you desire in your own life?

45 comments:

  1. I like the idea of slowing down. For me, that might mean letting go of some other things and prioritize what really grounds me and makes me happy.

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    1. Oh I love that "prioritize what really grounds me..." That is definitely something to keep in mind, and a different way of thinking of things. I love it!

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  2. I need margin in my life too, in order to as you put it slow down and really appreciate what life can bring me. I will use this as my motto from now on!

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    1. Although cliche, I know that as I have gotten older (and especially since having children) time has started to go into warp speed. I notice in my busy seasons I blink and they are done, and I don't like that feeling. I am trying to savor life more.

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  3. The idea of slowing down has always been so foreign to me. I am so used to busy but recently we have been trying to slow down more.

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    1. I think you can definitely get into a pattern of busyness - and that isn't a bad thing! As long as it is your choice and you are able to hold on to what is important during that time.

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  4. Since having my kids I have definitely learned the value of slowing down and being present not just there. It really does change your perspective on everything.

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  5. It's so hard to slow down in our fast-paced lives where kids are supposed to be in so many classes and activities. We try to have a "jammie day" at home once a week just to slow down and spend time together just enjoying life.

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  6. I know exactly how you feel! I'm trying to slow down a bit recently because I'm always so busy with uni, work and my blog. I usually only get one day off a week so I'm trying to give myself more time to relax and de-stress

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  7. I love the simple things in life, so I naturally love and value the importance of slow living. It makes life more enjoyable that way!

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  8. I pretty much live the slow life myself. So many friends are go go go all the time they miss the special moments and always seem so stressed out.

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  9. I am all for slowing down and it's funny because I realize this whenever I go on a vacation. When I am not in my usual environment it helps to slow things down.

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  10. What a great post! I am all about slowing down, savoring the moment. Life is faster than the speed of light lately. We all need to take a moment to take in what all is happening around us.

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  11. I definitely could afford to slow down a bit! Sometimes life goes by so fast because I am so busy and I feel like I don't remember anything!

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  12. Slowing down was something I wanted last year. And it ended up not happening as I had my busiest work year. Definitely trying again this year though!

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  13. Savor the moment, I'm all about that! I am always so fast-paced sometimes, I need to remember this.

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  14. I need to try that out. Slow living. It's something I struggle with, my mind, my body, everything is always going way too fast. So much so that I get so tired. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. I agree it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and the older I get the more I am realizing I want things to slow down.

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  16. Slowing down would be great! I totally need to make time where there is nothing going on.

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  17. My life is seriously out of control at times. Taking a breather and slowing down is important!

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  18. What a great post... its so hard to stop and enjoy whatever it is you are doing.... The world is so rush rush... I miss the day of just sitting and doing nothing! Thanks for sharing!

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  19. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle! I always have to remind myself to slow down and not overwhelm myself with everything that needs to be done!

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  20. I think I would have to defer to my husband for a more relative comment on this. I am always go,go,go and busy,busy,busy. He always takes things in stride and relaxes more than I can. I think he would agree with your statements here.

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  21. Everyone, especially in America, could use a little slow down. We are so hurried to get from this moment ot the next, from here to there, that we miss SO much!

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  22. I agree about that things are so different now. It is still really important to slow down.

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  23. I definitely need to focus more on slow living, I haven't heard of the term before but I am all for making the most of life and it's great for making memories!

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  24. Slow living is absolutely something that we focus on in our home. We live in Atlanta and it's easy to get caught up in the go-go-go of urban life but in our family we focus on slow, relaxed, methodical almost. It's a great way to live once you get adjusted to it.

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  25. I've never heard the phrase "slow living" before, but I like the concept. We're a rush, rush society and we need to "take time to smell the roses" (Yeah, I'm old. LOL)

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  26. I love your word of the year. We cut out most of our kids after school activities over this past year just so we weren't constantly on the go. We are now finding a way to slowly work back in the stuff that counts and keep out the stuff that doesn't.

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  27. So here in New Jersey life is VERY fast paced. It is awful. I hate it! I try my best to keep my own life slow but it doesn't really work without giving me anxiety! I need to read these!

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  28. My life is definitely in overdrive. I could stand to slow it down both with my cooking and daily habits!

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  29. My life is defined not in slow drive. Especially in my house. Someone is always in and out. This year we are trying to practice spending more time together.

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  30. I love this. It's such a good reminder. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. My kids are getting older and I don't want to miss anything.

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  31. Slow living sounds ... hard-to-achieve in this day and age. Possible, yes, but it would take a lot of commitment, I think. I would like to slow down, but then I worry about how I'd take care of my family.

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  32. As a military wife who could barely handle her busy schedule I am truly glad I came across your post. I totally agree that we really need to slow down a bit and enjoy life. In this fast paced generation, it is kinda challenging though but we always have to remind ourselves to stop and take it easy.

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  33. Having a quiet time of the day is so important. More often than not, my quiet time happens after everyone else has gone to bed!

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  34. Living does seem to go by so fast now. I really need to try and slow down life a bit too.

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  35. I've always desired quite time. Though I will say I need to get better at turning off the screens during that time. It's good to just be, whether in a quiet room or outdoors.

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  36. I think we all need to slow down in life! Life definitely gets way to hectic and it's best to take a step back to breath

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  37. And this reminds me an awful lot like mindfulness, taking it all in...enjoying every moment. Great post!

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  38. I love your word of the year, great choice! I enjoyed reading this post because I love this slow living. I won't move to the east coast because of it. My family out there doesn't even know how to slow down. I love where I live so i can truly appreciate life.

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  39. I always say that I need to slow down more, but I never do. Thank you for the reminder. Now I am really looking forward to our beach vacation.

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  40. Slowing down is definitely needed once in a while. Not only is it good for the soul but also for those around you who want to see you happy :) and not pressured.

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  41. Oh I love this. It's like you wrote out everything I've been thinking for the past 6 months! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I'm glad that you liked it! It has been heavy on my heart lately as well. Thanks for visiting!

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