SLOW LIVING

WORDS: CRISTINA ROSE of VIOLET WOODS

IMAGE: KATE WEINER

Imagine taking the time to be conscious of your actions. This is still a new concept for me to fully grasp. Nesting or meticulousness wasn’t something I was raised on but I have always carried the seed of observance and thoughtfulness in my actions. Although we live in a fast paced world full of new sights and sounds I am taking a step back from a hurried cycle we can grow so used to.

Living consciously isn’t lackluster; it’s meant to be meditative and reflective. It’s taking your actions into consideration. Sometimes I look back and can’t recall what I did a few days before unless I really take the time to reflect. I don't want to miss experiences.

Although our memories are not concrete and we can sometimes paint them in a different light, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be present throughout our waking life. Our experiences should be important and not limited to getting lost in documenting, getting lost in our headspace, or simply being not present. Admittedly, I’ve been a victim to this and I’ve been accepting that I need to let go and be truly aligned with the moment. I want to remember my body full of laughter and why I smiled so much, I want to remember the color of the sky and who I was with. 

Understandingly, slow living may not seem like it's possible for so many of us. Many people do have a lot to accomplish in one day, one week, a month. Others have health concerns or have to live under pressure. But even if we adapt one aspect of slow living, we can feel differently. 

Be present with your actions. Whether it's a ride on the train or a project you’re working on, shift your focus from wanting to get to a destination or endgame (which can cause burnout) to acknowledging the moment in time.

Reconnect with someone or yourself. Responsibilities are important but there is more to life than that. Our families, close friends, animal kin, and ourselves. Let's not keep up with others solely through social media – reach out and interact. Even if it’s for a short while you will remove distractions and hopefully will indulge in communication and bonding.

Create enjoyment. I like my mornings and nights to be rituals. I make my coffee and walk my dog, read a few pages of a book and recall my goals for the day. At night I clean my room, take a warm shower, and set out my clothes for the next day. Does it always go seamlessly? Of course not, but I set intention and care for the rise/unwinding portions of the day/night and center myself to enjoy the moment.

Do things with purpose. Are you going to go grocery shopping or look for a book? Go with an idea of what you need and want in mind. Often it’s easy to be overwhelmed by possibility or new items being projected at us. If you’re prepared, you’re less likely to overspend or purchase something you didn't really need.

Manage stress. I want to believe that slow living requires you to be conscientious of your thoughts and leads you to reduce what is hindering you or causing stress. This requires honesty and intention. Meditations, art therapy, or finding a part of nature to spend time in can relieve stress.