“We get such a kick out of looking forward to pleasures and rushing ahead to meet them that we can’t slow down enough to enjoy them when they come.” Alan Watts
In today’s culture, our lives are measured by the ‘doing’ rather than the ‘being.’ Being forced to go into lockdown by the coronavirus has given us all an opportunity to re-evaluate, not only what we do out there, but also what we do in here, at home. If you take a moment to run through your average week day before isolation you might have a longing to get back to it. However, some of you may actually be enjoying the opportunity to slip into a slower pace of life.
In Praise of Slow #
In my mid-thirties I became a quick learner of slow living to avoid a complete burnout. Up to that point I had filled every moment I had with ‘tion’s’: motion, production, consumption, communication, education. Even before the explosion of social media, being busy and getting stuff done and fast was, and still is, a form of validating who we are and what we do. Fast is better? Surely, because it gives us more time to do the things we want to do? Or does fast just increase the pressure to do more of what we feel we ought to do? As the pace of our lives continues to accelerate, where exactly do we think we’re getting quicker?
These and many more questions are posed in the brilliant book by Carl Honore, ‘In Praise of Slow’ that changed my relationship with time forever:
“A fast approach tends to be a superficial one, but when you slow down you begin to engage more deeply with whatever it is you’re doing. You’re also forced to confront what’s happening inside you – which is one of the reasons why I think we find it so hard to slow down. Speed becomes a form of denial. It’s a way of running away from those more deeper, tangled problems. Instead of focusing on questions like who am I, and what is my role here, it all becomes a superficial to-do list.” - Carl Honoré
Everyday slow doesn’t mean you navigate your whole day at the same speed. It’s more like shifting gears in a car; it gives you more control over your speed and, more importantly, your journey. Choosing to slow down at times in your day will give you a sense of empowerment to help you meet your daily challenges.
Slow is not a luxury. Slow is where we all started, with nature: rising with the sun and resting from sun-down. Slow is attainable to each and every one us if we are willing to open up and make it our own each day.
10 Things You Can Do to Bring Slow Living Into Your Everyday #
1. Aim to do one thing at a time. Eat. Talk. Work. Socialise. Rest.
2. Write instead of type occasionally. Numerous studies have shown that writing by hand stimulates both sides of our brain. The act of writing itself induces a sense of calm and helps us to be more focused.
3. Take the long way round. Swap the motorway for a minor road; use your bike or walk instead of taking a bus.
4. Listen instead of talk. Giving all our attention to someone (especially to our kids) whilst they are talking, and not rushing to get our point across, is real listening. This leads to more meaningful conversations and relationships.
5. Become speed aware. Most of the time we’re on autopilot and unaware of how fast or slow we are moving. If, however you find yourself rushing all the time, ask yourself one question: ‘Why am I rushing?’ It’s OK to drop into a lower gear if you’re not running late or behind on a task. Enjoy the moment instead and make a conscious speed choice.
6. Swap a digital read for a physical read. We read faster when we’re online and our brains are stimulated by UV light. The touch of a physical object we’re reading also helps to ground us.
7. Leave space. If you scheduled each day before the lockdown with no room for spontaneity, downtime, self-care or the unexpected, create a little each day so you can feel comfortable in knowing you have room to breathe.
8. Savour instead of devour. If food is simply a fuel for getting you through the day, aim to enjoy one meal a day and relish in its textures, aromas and taste. Give it the attention it deserves, as this will benefit your digestive system as you chew slower and take smaller bites.
9. Ditch the watch or clock. Clock-time is everywhere. Do we really need to know the time all the time? Just for one morning at the weekend, cover or turn off your clocks and phone and allow yourself to settle into your own sense of time. You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll get back!
10. One change. We all know if you want to achieve anything in this life it all starts with one thing - one thought, one decision, one step. When you do finally venture outside, start with one of the tips or aim to keep doing one thing you have loved about your slowdown lockdown in your everyday.
Finally, wherever you are, enjoy this time as best as you can. As we know, it’s a unique time but remember it’s YOUR time. Stay Safe. Stay connected. Stay creative.
Daxa Parmar #
Daxa Parmaris a professional Artist based in Mallorca with an affinity to the concept of time. She produces artwork with the aim to slow down the experience of time for her and her audience. Read more about Daxa Parmar>>
#coronaviruslockdown #covid19 #slowdown
By Guest Writer Daxa Parmar
5 April, 2020