Circling round the internet, soft at first but now a tad louder, is the idea of slow living. Our society as a whole has been moving quite quickly over the years with our fast food, fast careers, fast communication and overall fast everything. I fully believe many of us are experiencing burnout after all this progress and advancement, and I, too, used to be addicted to the idea of being busy.
I love the modern world. I enjoy scrolling through Instagram and getting inspired via stranger’s adventures in the form of beautiful images. Information is conveniently at my fingertips day and night. There’s a grocery store near me that’s open 24/7. And texting with my family and friends has been a lifesaver at times as a convenient form of instant communication.
I remember writing about being “happy in the busy” years ago. Sprinting around taking advantage of technology and opportunities and downtime that should have been spent decompressing. Yet that sense of urgency “to do” was forever on my mind. Eventually all that busy caught up with me, and over a period of about three years, my body decided it had enough.
A skin condition erupted; headaches became more frequent; and I felt nauseous most of the day. Next came a mild facial paralysis and heaviness in my legs that would go away eventually, but nonetheless, still happened. Yes, my doctors found a few annoying conditions that were lying dormant in my body, but this amazing team of professionals all mentioned that flare-ups are worsened by stress.
I came to the realization that most of my “busy” was self-inflicted stress, and it was time for a change. A wife and mother and writer does not have time for mini-strokes and crazy skin flare-ups, she’s got stuff to do!
Something had to give.
Emily Matchar of “Psychology Today” sums up the idea of bringing life down a notch perfectly in her article, “Do You Believe In Slow Living?”
“I get these Slow Living movements. They’re reactions to a high-tech, sped-up world. They all offer a connection to local tradition in an era of globalism and mass culture. They all claim to offer a path to a more reflective, more fulfilling life. And who wouldn’t want that?”
Well, I want that!
Matchar goes on to talk about the rise of new domesticity, where people unschool their children and can their own fruit, yet I find that is not the best option for my lifestyle either. I need a slow(er) living option.
So what’s in the middle of slow and fast?
Steady living? Meh. Anchored living? No, too rigid. Hmm. What about Spry Living?
I believe there’s a happy medium. Living in the wonderful convenience of our modern world yet taking moments to pause frequently through the day to reflect and be.
Here are five ways to downshift from being “busy” to being “spry.”
1. Be fruitful, not busy: Were we created to be busy or fruitful? I first heard this idea of making “fruitful” choices instead of overloading my schedule while listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast. She’s a Jesus girl, too. Just before He died, Christ said to his crew (which always makes me want to high five the Savior): “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Tapping into Jesus’ peace means making decisions that give you peace in your heart, not send you into a frenzy of hectic living.
2. Let stress be your guide: Is everything stressful in your life? Well, it shouldn’t be. Listen to that little voice in your head that says “slow it down, sister” before your body starts to shut down by way of physical ailments and anxiety attacks.
3. Be slow with your kids: I might not be the perfect example of this yet, but having 20 windows open on my computer while I am listening to a podcast about how to DIY something as I am washing the dishes and getting a snack for my kids with my feet, is not the best example of slow living for my family. (OK, the last part about me preparing snacks with my feet is a bit silly, but some days, not too far off.)
4. Promote a slower vibe in your décor: Now don’t donate all your home goods and go boho, instead make an honest assessment of whether or not you truly desire or need an item before it even comes into your home. Clutter is a peace stealer. While you are tidying up your space, place miscellaneous items into the trash or arrange for a pickup from your local AMVETS or Salvation Army.
5. Don’t try to be both: Taking the idea of slow living and dumping it onto your already busy life is not the way to embrace slow living. Start saying “no” to requests that come your way that will leave you in a ball of panic and stress later. It’s hard to say “no” to people at first if you are a “yes” person like me, but once you get the hang of it, the word “no” will leave room for a lot more slow living.
Seeking the right balance between slow and fast takes time and practice. I’m only half kidding with the Spry Living movement, but there has to be an in-between movement for girls like me. Any suggestions?
Smitten with domestic life, but not to the point of unhealthy obsession, “The Modern Domestic Woman” author and St. Charles resident, Elizabeth Rago, is a freelance writer who spends her days writing for PB Kitchen Design in Geneva. You can visit her blog at thecircularhome.com or connect with Rago on Facebook at facebook.com/TheModernDomesticWoman. Rago’s column in the Kane County Chronicle runs the first and third Thursdays of the month. Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This article was originally published by the Kane County Chronicle on April 6, 2017)
Image credit, CC0 Public Domain, PublicDomainArchive on Pixabay