How slow living can help you thrive (and not just survive) this new year

Happy new year dear reader! Here at Pineapple Farmhouse we sure are glad to see the back of 2020 and we’re feeling excited to take on all the wonderful opportunities a fresh new year brings.

For many, 2020 was a year of merely getting by and surviving the year, both figuratively, and with the very real threat of serious illness amid a global pandemic. 

Despite the unexpected circumstances we found ourselves in; our year of travel cancelled with no home to return to; multiple broken bones; surgery and multiple other health issues; my family and I were very fortunate to come out the other end of it without enormous hardship and in many ways I owe this to our new slower lifestyle, living regionally in a less populated area, great community support networks and our living debt free.

During this time of great upheaval and uncertainty I felt so truly grateful for slow living and all the things it has given us to make us more resilient and connected. The year has tested us, but we have come out stronger.

So moving into the new year, now more than ever, we are dedicated to continuing our vision of building a slower, simpler and more self-sufficient life for our family to ensure each year we are thriving and not merely surviving.

You too can jump on this bandwagon with our top tips on how slow down your lifestyle and make the most of this wonderful new year so it might just be your best one yet.

What is slow living?

Slow living is an antidote to the stress, noise and pace of modern day life.

Emily Shaw

Slow living is an ideology and a choice. When you choose slow living you are choosing a healthier and more sustainable way of life. It’s about changing your mindset, designing your life around the things that serve you and living in an intentional way aligned with your values and goals. It is about achieving balance and stepping away from the fast pace of modern life, if only for a few precious moments each day. It’s about having the courage to say ‘no’ to the things in your life that cause you busyness and stress, and ‘yes’ to the things that fill your cup.

When you live slowly you are able to better appreciate and emphasize the small moments in each day that have a big impact on your life such as preparing and eating a nourishing meal, creating a comfortable low-tox and affordable home, and fostering relationships that nourish your mind and soul. In a way, it’s about getting back to basics. Slow living and simple living are not the same thing, you don’t have to sew, cook, and grow your own food to be living slowly, but these two lifestyles do compliment each other beautifully.

Slow living promotes a commonsense approach to health and wellbeing including healthful eating, making time for movement, mindfulness, self care and stress reduction. Living this way requires no gimmicks, no memberships and no strict rules. Just an understanding of the basic principals of good health and an emphasis on making intentional choices towards your own wellbeing each day.

When you choose to live slowly, you know good things take time. You can relax a little knowing that it’s the journey that counts and not just the destination. 

So why aren’t we all living slowly?

In many parts of the modern Western World slow living is counter-cultural because it goes against the norm that faster, bigger and more expensive is better. As humans we all have a fundamental need to feel loved and accepted by our kin and wanting to ‘fit in’ is a basic survival instinct. Hence the eternal drive to be ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.

Sadly, the older, slower ways of living don’t fit very well with our highly industrialised, commercialised and individualised post-modern world so they have taken a backseat in mainstream culture. But the problem is that these systems were all invented to produce profit, not wellness, and so we are now paying the ultimate price. Unfortunately we humans have not evolved as quickly as the world around us, and we are struggling to keep up.

In many ways slow living is about regaining control of your life and taking back the driver’s seat.

Emily Shaw

Slow down and thrive

Let me just say now I don’t believe we should all just quit our jobs and go live off-grid in the woods, however romantic that may sound. This is the real world and I believe we need to balance our wellness and financial needs and desires with ethical and environmental concerns. Through slow living I am optimistic we can find this kind of elegant balance.

So without further ado, here’s our top tips to help you you slow down and thrive in 2021.

  • Write down your goals for the year, ensuring that they are realistic and attainable. This might sound obvious but make sure they are your actual hopes and dreams, and not what you think you need to do to meet the status quo. Focus on areas such as your wellness, home, career, finances and so on. For each goal include a timeframe, a measure (how you will know you have achieved the goal) and actions or strategies you will put in place to reach them. Keep your goals visible so they are top of mind throughout the year.
  • Assess your work life balance. If you’re not doing what you love, or if you’re experiencing work-related burn out, consider whether you can cut back your hours, pitch to your boss a passion project you would like to work on this year, find another job or even start your own business. If you’re owed leave, take it. Instead of a pay rise or bonus, ask for time in lieu. It might take some trial and error and some financial sacrifices but this could be your year to work less and live more.
  • Regularly make time to engage in a passion or hobby. Sign up to a class or carve out some time each day, week or month to enjoy yourself. We are all creative in our own may. You might like to start painting, or attend a cooking class. Whatever it is, do it for you.
  • Declutter your home and your wardrobe. Donate things you haven’t used in the past 12 months and make sure everything has a place. Use this time to check the condition of your things and if anything needs a repair or refresh, make plans for that now. This process will help you become much more aware of all the wonderful things you have, and how little you really need.
  • Take stock of your current state of health and vitality, listen to any queues your body is giving you, and think about what your body needs from you this year. Make that doctor or physio appointment you have been meaning to do. Think about how well you have been eating and whether or not you need to make any changes to your grocery list or meal times to fuel your body and enhance your wellbeing. Are you moving enough? If you’re not feeling vital and energetic, consider how you can incorporate more movement in your days.
  • Reflecting on the past year, think about the days that you felt overwhelmed or over scheduled. Can you identify any triggers or patterns? Make a conscious effort to avoid these situations moving forward. If you are feeling too busy, decide which task or activity is the least important to your goals and eliminate it. It might be that you can reduce it’s frequency, combine the activity with something else, outsource it, or simply say no to it. This is harder then it sounds but see if there is something you can scratch of your to do list to create some extra margin in your days.
  • Create a little book or menu of self care activities that you enjoy. These don’t have to be time consuming or expensive. For example, you might like to take a bath with essential oils, sip a herbal tea, paint a picture or take a walk in nature. When you are feeling stressed, open up your little book and choose an activity.
  • Accept who you are and focus on your strengths. Heck write them down and build yourself a shrine (just kidding on the shrine). Take the pressure off by acknowledging that we can’t be everything to everyone. Focus your efforts on the things you enjoy and do well. It’s great to learn new skills and strive to improve in various areas of your life, but sometimes the pressure of perfection can actually do more harm than good.
  • Read a slow living book and be inspired. Check out our blog for ideas. You can also find inspiration by checking out other podcasts and blogs in the slow living community.

Make time to be you and thrive.

Emily Shaw

I am looking forward to reviewing and setting my own goals for 2021 in these first few weeks of January before the year gets underway with school and work.

We hope you have found some inspiration in our slow living tips to help you make this year the best one yet. Please let us know your thoughts using the comment tools below.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska courtesy of Pexels.com

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