Earlier this month, I shared about my journey to slower living. I’ve been able to incorporate that mentality into my life even more these past 5 years of living in small-town Minnesota! Like I said in my previous blog post, it’s been quite the adventure to get here, but I eventually settled into this lifestyle.
Slower living, to me, means having a “take a deeper breath” approach to life – soaking up the small joys, relishing routines and meaningful tasks, and focusing on relationships. And this approach has become more and more important to me over time! I’m grateful for that, because transitioning into more of a slow living lifestyle has brought with it many benefits!
Today I’m sharing some of the reasons why we ought to embrace slower living…and then, to kick off the month of September, I’m inviting you to join me for a 30-Day Slower Living Challenge! I’ll offer more explanation and the free printable calendar at the end of the post.
Benefits of Slower Living:
It lessens anxiety. My anxious thoughts and situations tend to swirl up when I don’t allow myself to slow down. When I’m worked up, I’m more apt to make mistakes, get hurt, or say something I shouldn’t. The problem is, when I’m anxious, I feel I can’t pause or I’ll lose whatever emotional momentum I have! (Anyone else like this??) But think about it – one of the first things someone says to you when you’re feeling panicky is: Stop! Take a deep breath. Just take a breath. Count to 3. Then move on. As counterintuitive as it sounds, stopping what you’re doing – slowing down even for one minute – can really reduce those anxious, worked-up feelings. Slower living = a more peaceful feeling overall.
It makes you refocus on the important things. As much as we’d like to think scrolling through our phone is crucial, I think there’s a lot of fake urgency surrounding technology. All of the notifications and “pings” going off make us feel like that is what must take priority, over whoever we are conversing with in person. I’m not saying we can’t enjoy slower living with a phone in hand, but I’ve found that being intentional about setting my phone aside has brought me a lot more meaningful conversations with my friends and family. We have to remember the incredible value of the soul standing in front of us. Whether it’s your husband you’re in a room with, or a friend, or a coworker, there’s a reason you’re with them at the moment. Challenge yourself: how can you make them feel cared about? If we’re constantly distracted from the people in our life and our relationships with them, then we’re not attuned to their needs (or even our own). And it’s painful to even think about, but we’re not guaranteed tomorrow. Each day, we need to live to encourage and interact with people to the best of our ability. Life is short. Let’s put people first.
You’ll actually find you enjoy tasks more. I love the idea of simplifying your life so that you can relish the tasks in front of you even more. It sounds almost frustrating at first, right? After all, we just want to get the dishes done. We want the laundry folded and put away. But I came to the realization a couple years ago that the true beauty of simple living is changing mindless tasks into mindful ones. If we had a dishwasher, then I wouldn’t know the peace and thinking-time that standing in front of a sink full of sudsy water offers me. It’s almost spa-like. And I didn’t own a clothes dryer for 4.5 years. If I had had one from the start, then perhaps I wouldn’t know the peace that streams into my heart when the sun hits my face as I pin clothes up on the line. I wouldn’t know the soft-rush-of-air sound that bedsheets make as they’re floated by the wind. I wouldn’t know what it’s like to go to sleep on sheets that smell like sunshine. Everything these days is made to hurry life along, but sometimes speeding up a task forces us to really live it and therefore enjoy it! When we focus on actually enjoying a task – just the simple movements of routine – then we’re suddenly more mindful of our senses and we’re better able to relax and think. These routine chores can be a blessing in disguise!
The chaos of multitasking evaporates. I like to multitask, too. It’s so common in our culture now days that no one really thinks anything of it. But it’s always been worth it for me to set my phone aside, or when I choose to listen to peaceful music instead of watching a show. Just stepping a little more towards slow living can really pay off! Also, productivity is never really top-notch when we’re multitasking. Being intentional about only the situation in front of you takes away the flustered-feeling quality of multitasking.
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You gain a bigger, more accurate perspective. For me, slower living often comes intertwined with my faith. When I’m relying on Jesus moment-to-moment, and when I have a wider, eternity-focused perspective, then I suddenly find myself not caught up in all of the running-around stresses that this world gives us. I think there’s that craving in each of us, where we do feel there should be something more to life than chasing after the things of this world. Thankfully, it’s true! What a blessing that Jesus offers us this free gift of salvation!
The 30-Day Slower Living Challenge!
As I shared in my initial slow living post, it does take patience, time, and intentionality, but it is so worth it once that attitude shift happens.
What better way to reteach ourselves to slow down, than to make a daily calendar of it?? A step-by-step, every day, guided tour of slower living: that’s intentionality for sure! 🙂
So, I’ve created a slower living challenge for you, friends! I’m inviting you to join me for Just Bee’s 30-Day Slower Living Challenge! I’ll be participating in it alongside you, and I’m looking forward to kicking off the month of September this way!
There’s a reason I picked September for the challenge. September is full of fresh starts – it’s kind of like the secondary New Year every year! With scheduled activities, school years, and the new fall season beginning, a lot of things try to vie for our attention in September. So I wanted to approach the upcoming busy month with intention. It IS possible to incorporate slow living, even into a busy season.
The gist of the challenge is this: we’ll be doing one conscious slow living action per day, on purpose. Will there be other opportunities to slow down that day? I hope so! But we’re going to work on reteaching ourselves to slow down in baby steps, with the hope that more and more of this approach will work its way into our lives. So, to begin, just strive to do the one task on the calendar that day!
It’s a FREE printable September calendar, full of simple, actually doable ideas for your slower living this next month. Whether you work or you stay at home, these are easy-to-accomplish ways to slow down and savor the little but meaningful things in life.
In the printable calendar below, I’m also giving you a little space to record any other little moments that you were able to be intentional about that day. For example, yesterday, I would’ve recorded: “Spent a few minutes in the florist section of the grocery store, showing Sophie the wind chimes.” 🙂 In this way, we’ll be practicing extra mindfulness and we’ll be watching for opportunities to slow down or to soak up something sweet about life.
Print the calendar out! Keep it on your fridge, at your desk at work, or on your bedside table. Check in with it every morning or evening so you know what little action to watch for next. Cross off each day once you try that slower living action – and definitely record your favorite slow living moment from the day.
Here’s to having a “take a deeper breath” approach to life – soaking up the small joys, relishing routines and meaningful tasks, and focusing on relationships. 🙂 I can’t wait to have you join me this next month!! As always, you can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me on Instagram (@hannahbeeolson) if you have any questions, or if you’re just plain excited!
The challenge starts this Saturday!!! Happy slower living, friends!
PS – Like talking about slow living? Catch up with my first post on this topic: My Journey to Slower Living!