In quarantine, we have an opportunity to live differently than before. We have the option to do less or to live at a less hurried pace. Even for those with children and work right now, every day doesn’t have to be a sprint. We can choose the pace at which we live in order to add more peace into our lives.
This is slow living. A life that is not characterized by rushing, or a list of never ending tasks, but a life that is about being present in all you do with the people you are with. While there are many activities you can add into your life to maintain a sense of presence, the first step in slow living is addressing your work-life balance.
Are there ways you can implement breaks into your workday?
Can you cutback on some projects to avoid having to do work late at night?
If you’re working around a kid’s schedule, could you wake up earlier to get some things done beforehand?
Work is very important – it is the way you make your money and hopefully, a source of joy. But ultimately, you also want to show up in your relationships because the people you love love you and they are vital to your happiness.
Figure out a way to build your relationships into your life in this season. Perhaps a phone call to one of your parents every few nights. A Facetime chat with a friend in the evenings. A socially distanced picnic on the weekends. Pouring into work matters but pouring into your relationships is pouring back into yourself.
What do you reach for in the morning?
Is it your alarm? Is it your glasses? Or is it your phone? Before social distancing and COVID-19, I would hit my alarm and get ready for the day. No sleeping in for me. Now I snooze that alarm or I scroll on my phone in the morning.
Instead of being inundated so early in the morning with what’s going on in other people’s lives, try starting off your slow living routine by waking up and drinking water or tea. Or the far inferior of the two: coffee.
Something as simple as drinking some tea in the morning revitalizes you. Living a slow life you are so much more aware of what is going around you and in you. You are aware of every breath you take and every step you make. It’s easy to become grateful for those small moments. When you become aware of what a gift it is, you are thankful!
Another slow living activity is taking a walk. Quarantine has made this possible. After working for a few hours, take a break. Grab a water bottle, put on some sneakers and get out the door. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Take a walk in a park. Take a walk to your grocery store and back. Just get outside. Hear the birds sing. Don’t plug in your headphones. Get away from technology and get into the outside world. It’s such a good way to stay grounded.
If walking is too boring for you, get active. Do some pushups, lunges, and squats. Dance around your living room with some of your favorite songs on. Just move and do something good for your body. Sitting all day at your desk or more likely, at your kitchen table, will just make you tired. When you move, you rejuvenate your tired body and give it some energy. Which you will need to get through the work day.
I can honestly say my screen time has never been as worse as it has been in quarantine. Since there’s nothing I have to do right now (that’ll change very soon), I’ve been spending a lot of time in front of my computer and my phone. Sometimes it’s like this – writing blog posts. Most of the time it’s scrolling through social media and watching hours of Netflix.
Side note: Little House on the Prairie is on Amazon Prime and it’s such a wholesome show to watch with your family.
It’s tempting to sit and watch SO MUCH tv. However, it’s not healthy. Now is a good time to set those boundaries for yourself. After 8, shut off your computer, take a shower, and read a book before bed. Don’t turn on your phone until 9. Only open apps on social media if you plan to post. Put your work ahead of your scrolling. Set up time limits on your apps so that you don’t spend 5 hours on Instagram. When you want to be entertained, listen to a podcast instead of watching tv.
Setting boundaries for yourself is something that will help you post quarantine as well as now. Train yourself to need your technology less. Turn your desires for your phone into a desire to settle in with a good book or to begin baking.
This leads me to my next point – have hobbies. Bake, knit, sew, read, write, play piano. Do something without technology. Weirdly enough, my hobbies are to read and write and given that the library is closed, I have ebooks and I write this blog on my computer. There are still other hobbies to be had, and you can find one that best suits you. The point is to get off your phone and into real life.
Take a breath. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed – by the amount of work you have, by the way the hours seems to pass by when you have free time but slow down when you have work *cough cough* (not that I’m speaking from experience) – just take a breath. When you finish one task, take a breath before you head into another. Sit still for a moment and become aware of your breathing.
Some days it’s easier to live on autopilot, to let your body do the work without recognizing the work that it does. Take time to be mindful of yourself for yourself. You will catch yourself if you feel overly tired or feel tense. Get sleep or do yoga. You will know how to respond if you listen to what your body has to say.
Breathe and remember that breathing is important. The slow living philosophy is to live as if every breath matters. And to your body, it does.
Slow living in quarantine comes down to this: focusing on a single thing at a time and finding a piece of joy there. When we are fully in one task, we bring our best effort and our full attention. It is easy to find joy in something we are working hard at. The work itself becomes the reward. You are invested and that’s when your actions bring you joy and peace.
If you want to have a slow living lifestyle, you have to measure each moment as important – spending time with friends, working diligently, taking breaks to be outside, walking in nature, taking up a tech-free hobby, and each breath that fills your lungs – they all matter.
Don’t rush your time in quarantine away, friends. Live slow with purpose.
Which slow living habit will you be implementing in your quarantine? Have you tried a slow living lifestyle before?