Confession: simple living isn’t easy.
In fact, it can be really, really hard. We have good intentions. We want to take time to be still, we want to cultivate that slower mindset, bake from scratch and use handmade or slow-made products. But then, why is it so difficult?
My journey with slow living has been a long one, and I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m on my way. Part of going down this path is realizing that it is difficult. Slow or simple living, however you call it, goes hard against the grain of modern society. And it’s hard to be different.
On the other hand, being different creates tight, supportive communities, and the slow-living community I’ve found has been life-changing for me. But what about everyone else who may not share or understand your views?
How do you slow down in a world that is doing the opposite? And how do you compensate when they see your values or lifestyle as unimportant?
The world is constantly telling us to hurry, hurry, hurry. Buy cheap stuff so you can buy more stuff. Eat processed food so you can eat it as quickly as possible, for as little money as possible. Do everything at once. Stay up on social media, the news, etc. and make sure your kids are in 25 after school activities. That tends to be how it goes…and it’s hard not to fall into that. Naturally, we want to do what’s easy, which is going along with the way the crowd is moving.
It’s difficult to stop and be still, and even harder to go the other way.
So how do you continue walking the simple path each day?
1. Get clear about why you want to live simply:
Writing things down always helps me to get more clear about them. Something about seeing them on paper and outside of my head is almost therapeutic. So get out a journal, a piece of paper or even a blank document on your computer, and write down why you want to do this.
2. Set some intentions:
Now that you know why you want to live this way, set some intentions for how you’d like to do it. Start with small intentions: maybe you want to replace your mugs with hand made ones, or set an intention to stop buying paper towels, etc.
3. Work on your intentions each day, little by little:
It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It should be invigorating. Relaxing even, if like me, you feel calmed by the thought of cleaning out your closet (again). Maybe choose just one project, such as downsizing your wardrobe, and work on it for fifteen minutes each day. Or start with changing a behavior, such as reading a (paper) book instead of watching television in the evening.
4. Don’t beat yourself up:
Don’t beat yourself up over a day or even a week that you’ve stopped being as intentional as you’d like to be. Simple living isn’t easy. But it’s easier when we tell ourselves that we can do it, when we get back to our intentions and stop worrying about falling short.
5. Find your tribe:
Share with others why simple living is important to you. Never be condescending or critical, simply share. Try not to be pushy or overwhelm others with your thoughts. Instead, find a community that you can talk all things slow and simple with. Even if you don’t have immediate friends who are interested, reading books, listening to podcasts, and joining the slow living community online is a good way to get involved with others living the same lifestyle.
Over on Instagram, the slow living community is wonderfully strong and supportive of one another. Even on my own account I feel that there’s such a loving and encouraging group of like-minded individuals. Search for hashtags such as #slowlived, #alifeofintention or #theslowdowncollective to find more inspiration within the slow and simple community on Instagram. Or use #theintentionalhousehold to show how you are adopting simple living and intentionality within your home. I’ll be over there to check it out.
My favorite podcast about simple, intentional living is ‘The Slow Home Podcast’. It goes so well with my concept for #theintenionalhousehold, that our home should be a place that both conveys our lifestyle and makes it easier for us to live the lifestyle we’ve chosen.
And lastly, facebook. I’m thinking about starting a Facebook group…
I’m only hesitant because, well, it means more time on Facebook. However, I think when we use it in positive ways (not mindless scrolling) it can be so helpful. The group would be a community for all things simple, intentional, etc. for asking questions and supporting one another. I’m even imagining weekly prompts such as ‘go foraging for natural things to display in the house’ or ‘bake your own bread instead of buying it for a whole month’ and we could all share our experiences…
If you’d want to be a part of something like this, let me know in the comments or over on Instagram (otherwise I will have no idea whether or not anyone would like to!)
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