If there was one positive thing about 2020, it’s the fact that lockdown allowed me to spend time on the things that I really enjoyed and loved to do by embracing the art of slow living. Before lockdown, our lives were defined by speed, rushing around, fighting against the clock to get things done. I used to travel internationally every other month, and I would always have the mindset of ‘I’m too busy’ – too busy to meet friends, too busy to go for walks, too busy to workout etc. I was always tired and living in a constant state of overdrive.
But in lockdown, the pace of life slowed dramatically, and for me personally it was the best thing that could have happened, I actually realized how much I enjoyed a slower pace to living. Simple yet fulfilling things like, reading a book, easing into my mornings, going for walks etc. Post lockdown I made a decison that the slower pace to life was something I wanted to maintain by embedding it into my everyday life.
My Slow Living Manifesto
To take my first steps in maintaining a slower pace to life, I decided to create a slow living manifesto that outlined my values and priorities, this allowed me to create boundaries, avoid procrastination and maintain my energy so I could get more done and dedicate more time to the things that mattered most to me. Here’s what my slow living manifesto looks like;
Easing into my morning
Waking up early, enjoying my coffee, reading a few pages of my book and mentally preparing my priorities for the day. If I begin by feeling present, grateful, and organized, I infuse the rest of my day with the same qualities.
Making our home beautiful and perfect for us.
The correlation between our homes and our mental health is super interesting, interior design can help with anxiety and depression just as it helps with mood. This is really important to us, especially because I work from home so creating a space that’s comfortable and beautiful is a big priority and one that we have heavily invested in.
Going for regular walks
Abz and I did a lot of this during 2020 and we absolutely loved it. Even a short walk of 10 minutes increases mental alertness, energy and positive mood. I try and go for morning walks, as I feel like it sets me up for the day, and the sunrises are stunning!
Work smart not hard
The key to greater productivity and bigger results is to work smarter, not harder. How? by doing less! I apply this 80/20 rule, 80% of accomplishments come from 20% efforts. For example, at the start of a new week, I set a vision to do a few things and do them well, this helps to focus my energy and in return get better quality results that make me feel more satisfied. I apply this 80/20 rule to most things in my life, including career, business and personal goals. Less volume of activity, more concentrated effort = greater results!
Living in the present moment
So many of us wish away the present moment hoping for something better, thinking that if we get it we’ll be happier. But what’s the real goal here…what you want or the desire to be happy? The answer is being happy, and that comes from gratitude. Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and allows us to be present in the here and now.
Getting enough sleep
Scientifically sleep benefits the brain with 3 main cognitive benefits; improved memory, improved task proficiency, and improved creativity. To function at our best and make the most of these benefits, we need adequate and consistent nightly rest- at least 7-9 hours every night. For me, it’s an important part of my manifesto not only because it helps me to perform at my best but how it makes me feel. I wake up feeling refreshed, energized, motivated, happy and well rested. I highly recommend a great book called ‘Why We Sleep’, by Mathew Walker who is a scientific expert and explores the benefits of sleep based on science. I’ve linked it below for anyone that’s interested in checking it out.
How to create your own slow living manifesto
If you’re interested in taking your first steps towards slow living, start by creating your slow living manifesto. Remember this will look different for each person because we all have a different way of living and that’s ok.
Ask yourself and answer these questions:
- When are you most happiest?
- If you had one free day to yourself to do what you wanted – what would that look like?
- What do you want to do more of?
- What’s important to you?
The answers to these questions is your slow living manifesto and the idea is to imbed those things into your day to day life. It doesn’t need to be a long winded exercise, just think about what you want to do more of, and how you can imbed that in to your daily routine.