We’ve been at home for a long time now, and I’m sure that a lot of us are wanting to get out of the house and get done with everything that we might have missed so far this year. The rules are lifting, the world is slowly beginning to return, and the anxiety of living a ‘normal’ life again is weighing heavy on people’s shoulders. In these times it is important for us to remember, firstly, to stay safe and to stay responsible, but also we should remember that we can still continue with life at our own pace. The world might be returning but that isn’t necessarily our cue to start rushing through every day again. We as a society need to get better at enjoying the smaller things in life. We need to start learning to love what doesn’t cost much. Learn to keep your wants simple and refuse to be controlled by the likes and disliked of others.
I’ve been spending a lot of time recently thinking about what changes I want to implement into my everyday life once our routines begin to change once again. Something that’s really stuck with me throughout these past few months of reflection is slow and simple living. If you’ve read my recent post ‘what it is to live simply’ then you’ll know a little bit about simple living and what the topic means to me. Slow living is definitely a lifestyle that I want to maintain once the world has ‘returned’. For this reason, I thought it would be suitable to talk about what sorts of things we can spend our time doing, whilst also maintaining a slow and simple lifestyle. Below, I have created a list of different activities that can help us to slow down in the accelerating society around us and help us to stay grounded in these uncertain times.
Learn to love reading.
When was the last time you read a book just for the sheer love of reading? My bookshelf is stacked for the summer season and I’m anxious to get back into reading – on rainy days where I can sit by the window and lose myself to what are more than just words on a page – or under a tree in on a hot summer’s day, enjoying the breeze, with the sun on my back and my head in a completely different universe. Reading doesn’t have to cost you a thing. Swap books with your friends and family. Get new books at the library, listen to audiobooks, find free e-books – the possibilities are endless.
But, if you’re not so much of a bookworm, then you could:
Learn to love walking.
For me, the summer is the perfect opportunity to get out of my house and go exploring. I am very grateful to live in the countryside. After 5 minutes of walking from my backdoor, I can be in the middle of farmer’s fields or stumbling over roots along woodland paths. Learn to love going for walks and hikes. They can be short, acting as a break from your work day, or they can be an entire day long – it’s up to you. Why not pick a day with good weather, pack a picnic, and see where your feet take you? Or, take a walk in the rain (ON PURPOSE) – there is nothing more grounding for me than putting on my raincoat and my wellie boots and going for a walk in the rain, jumping in puddles, listening to the patter of the water against the leaves of trees, the smell of petrichor hanging heavily in the air.
But, if walking isn’t an option for you, but you still want to spend some time outside:
Learn to love gardening.
Whether you have your own garden, or the opportunity to rent a plot on an allotment, or a good windowsill, starting a garden of your own can be a great way to spend the summer. Learn to love caring for something that’s alive and watch it grow! Whether it’s herbs, flowers, an avocado tree from the stone, or a full on vegetable patch, finding something green to invest your time in really gives you a sense of accomplishment and can be extremely rewarding. The practice of gardening can be a very mindful one too – I often find myself entirely focused on the task at hand, instead of thinking about yesterday or tomorrow. Be present, and work with your hands to provide the earth with a little more green.
And what can you do with all the things that you’ve grown?
Learn to love cooking.
All year round you’ll find me in the kitchen, but summer really is the season of abundance. It’s really important to make the most of the seasonal produce grown in this time. Try your hand at making some jam, so that you can enjoy those summery fruits all year round – hop down to the fruit pickers and spend an hour or two getting your fingers sticky with the sweet task of plucking fruit from its branches. Or, how about trying out my everyday summer salad for lunch or dinner or a particularly warm summers day? The kitchen is a space to create and a chance to have fun. Learn to love cooking and baking simply, and with your hands. Next time you’re making a loaf of bread, why not knead the dough with your hands instead of using the dough hook or the bread machine like in my rustic country bread loaf recipe? Traditional and simple cooking is something that I think we should all start investing more time in.
All the activities that I have mentioned above have something in common – UNPLUGGING.
We live in a world where we can’t escape the internet, or social platforms. It can be difficult to find wholesome content in the toxicity of today’s media. The summer is a chance to take a step away from the hustle of the online community (the irony here being that the both of us are currently making use of a blog). Unplugging from your phone, tablet, computer, and TV can be a really valuable way to spend the summer, even if it’s just for one day. We don’t need our devices in order to be happy – stop scrolling and start living. You can do anything that you want in life and investing your time in the right places can make all the different.
Learn to love being present.
“And then one day I decided that hurry and stress were no longer going to be a part of my life. Stress is self-created; I decided to stop manufacturing it. We can choose an internal calm and joy even amid the chaos.”Brendon Burchard
Thank you for taking the time to invest in slow living! Let me know what you’re getting up to over the summer, how you’re managing with the return of the ‘normal’ world, and what you favourite summertime activities are! I hope that you were able to find some comfort in this post, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact us or tag us on Instagram @rhythmandgreen
We look forward to hearing from you soon!