The slow living movement can have a different meaning to each one of us. Mostly, it is a lifestyle encouraging slower approaches to every day life. This also means to take moments to enjoy the activities you love and being intentional while your doing them.
By moving to France, I have noticed how actually stressed out people are in North America. Everyone just seems to be stuck in a day-to-day rat race and struggle to have a work-life balance. Often, this leads to experiencing high stress and having general discontent with your life.
When I moved here for my husband’s work and opportunities, I was receiving so many questions from our friends and family like “What will you be doing there? — “Where will you be working” and “Aren’t you going to get so bored?”. I would take a couple seconds to think and answered spontaneously, "To be honest, I just want to start by taking some time for myself and work on some personal creative projects that I have been wanting to do for awhile".
These questions seemed a bit discouraging to me considering I had just quit my full-time job back at home. I just wanted to at least try to experience life in a more intentional and slower way. This is where I decided to stop feeling guilty and realised that there is no harm in putting yourself first.
By living in a very rural town by the mountains, I haven't had the choice to live simpler and slower. I just feel like the French way of life is made for people to enjoy life and take time for themselves. For example, French commerces are closed every day from 12-2pm. Additionally, commerces are closed on Sundays, and sometimes even on Mondays which sounded crazy to me.
Just to be clear, I don’t think your life will be more fulfilling or better in another country (because trust me, France can be frustrating) but I do think it’s important to analyse the differences and to take what works for you from that country.
By experiencing this lifestyle, it has been easier for me to explore this new slow-living movement and learn how to appreciate more the little details around me. Here are some small tips that helped me and hopefully they will help you!
1. Taking care of your mind
Your mindset is everything. Above all, try to be the best version of yourself but do this with patience, compassion and respect to your own journey. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, everything is up to you. Your emotions, your thoughts, your perceptions and your reactions are up to you. By taking care of your mind you will find it easier to take the time to slow down in your everyday life. Go ahead, unplug from social media, write down your goals, take a warm bath and light your favourite Linen Vale candle.
2. Taking care of your body
Taking care of your body isn't only about doing intense physical activity. It isn't about forcing yourself to do something you hate. It's okay if you feel too tired after a long day of work and don't feel like going to the gym. You can simply move your body by taking a nice walk outside enjoying the smell of flowers and looking at the beautiful houses around your neighbourhood. These moments are so important to your journey because they make you feel aware. On the other hand, if you feel like your body or your mind is tired, it’s important for you to allow yourself to get some rest. Give your body what it needs and listen to yourself.
3. Identifying your passion
If you are stressed about going to your job, or find yourself regularly lacking motivation, or find what you’re doing boring and repetitive, maybe it's time to start looking for a job that stimulates you and that doesn't feel like a heavy burden.
Aside from trying to find a job that passionates you, it's time to find some activities that awaken your senses, stimulates your brain and simply makes you a happier person. Finding activities or a job that you love helps you live a more fulfilling life.
4. Taking care of your relationships
What is better than sharing life's simple pleasures with a good friend or family member? Not much right... Through this life journey, make time for more fulfilling relationships in your life. Spend a good amount of time to truly engage with one another. Taking care of your relationships sometimes even means to end some friendships. It's important to respect yourself and not allow friends to control you. Sometimes, you get to the point where you are having one-sided friendships and this means it's time to re-question that relationship. All things considered, try to bring more slow, depth and intention to your friendships.
Certainly, this slow living movement can be difficult if you feel like you don't have enough time in one day to accomplish everything that you want. However, there are always ways to go a bit slower and you can start small. You can start by changing one thing about your daily routine by doing this one thing slower. Resulting, in a little more peace and stillness in your day. My question to you is, where can you bring more slowness, intention, and joy into your life TODAY?