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S l o w living; an introduction

So, this is how it started.

I did a social media detox in August. I made this decision because I was spending nearly 3 hours per day on my phone; sometimes creating posts and stories, but mostly, scrolling through the never-ending feed of bright colours and glitzy images. I convinced myself that I was being productive by spending that amount of time on Instagram, getting ideas for my grid through other inspirational posts, or connecting with people in the local area. However, the reality was very different. I spent much more time mindlessly scrolling as a way of escaping into a world of so much – supposed - promise and potential.

When every bit of my spare time was in front of a screen, whether that be when I wake up in the morning, when I go to bed, or when I am watching TV and simultaneously checking my feed, it felt like my head was in a constant state of ‘doing’, productivity and busy-ness. It felt like my mind was always filled with TV static, crackling away in the background, waiting for the next dopamine fix.

Of course, I recognise that socials are not all the blame for the constant productivity and dopamine addiction. We only need to reflect on our own lives to notice that employers want more time from us. A plethora of TV and film is at our fingertips to occupy our evenings. And since covid, it feels like our lives have become busier than ever before, due to home-working and the minimisation of the work-life balance.

My relationship with social media now? Well, it is complicated. I have had a love-hate relationship with social media for a long time - I liken it to a toxic relationship. Initially, the thrill of possibility and potential for this new relationship is alive, but in the end, it becomes a crutch from which pulling away feels difficult. The challenge now is that being immersed in the self-employed world means social media is regarded as a necessity to stay relevant and connect with other people. Therefore, I am pulled in different directions – on one hand, I do not want to be on socials for my mental wellbeing, but for the success of my small practice, I need to have a presence.

Despite feeling conflicted, my experiment of leaving socials was pretty successful. The world did not cave in since I decided to go offline.

I still got therapy referrals. I could still function as a small practice.

But even more surprisingly than that, my world slowed down just ever so slightly, and this has been profound.

It has made me reflect on how time is a finite resource. Since dropping one of the things that occupied much of my free time, I started to engage in activities in a slower way - and I am now fascinated with this idea of slowness.

Slow in latin is translated to ‘tardus’, which also means words such as ‘sluggish’, ‘dull’, ‘late’, ‘inactive’ ‘lazy’ and ‘slothful’, all of which do not exactly have positive connotations. Consequently, the negative association with this word reverberates in our society today. We are perpetually busy and productive, and it is often regarded as a badge of honour to be in this state consistently. As a result, being busy often equates to being valuable to society. Paradoxically, if slowness is associated with being lazy, it would suggest that working or looking after children at a slower pace means we are not as valuable to society.

And I am not the first person to recognise that this belief. The self-care movement promotes taking time out, switching your phone off and looking after yourself. But even that can become a component on the to-do list, where we feel satisfied that it is ticked off, but do we truly feel calmer and more relaxed?

Cue: the reason for this blog.

S l o w living is not just about self-care, it is about the way we live our lives. When I apply slowness to any aspect of my life, for example, cooking, breathing or yoga, I already can feel the benefit. Cooking feels more mindful and intentional. Yoga feels like I am getting into my body more. Breathing feels deeper and fuller.

As if by creating more space during these activities, and not completing these tasks at 100 mph, it allows me to expand into the present. It creates more softness within me. And I think it today’s world, this is exactly what we need.

By writing this, I hope to inspire others to create more slowness in their lives, but also to hold myself to account. I easily get sucked onto the conveyor belt of life, but through writing this series, I hope to be able to step off the conveyor belt when I see it is necessary. I will be writing about s l o w breath, spaces & cooking and more to explore how we can create more slowness in our lives and turn the word ‘slow’ from a negative to a positive way of being.

V x


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