Sometimes life can feel as though it is filled to the brim with busy schedules and to-do lists, commitments and the buzz of notifications. It can lead to us feeling tired and overwhelmed to the point that we hit burnout.
But how can we avoid burnout yet still make time for ourselves and our families?
One way is through slow living.
Slow living is a lifestyle that takes a slower approach to life. It is the act of slowing down and living in a way that encourages us to look after our physical and mental well-being. It is taking a moment to pause and breathe.
Taking time out and slowing down doesn’t mean we have to completely stop, though. There are lots of great things we can do at the weekend, many of them involving the whole family, that can keep us occupied and help us to slow down.
Here we have compiled a list of 7 ‘slow hobbies’ that can help you to live a more simplified life; one that can help you to find more balance and create moments of calm and joy.
Starting or ending the day with journaling can be a great way to not only reflect, but to take notice of your life and where you are. One way you can do this is through gratitude.
Write down 3 things that you are grateful for, this could be something small like it being a sunny day or something big that you have achieved. We can also take the time to check in with ourselves — how are we feeling, really? Writing it down can help us to both realise and accept our emotions. With journaling we can also ask ourselves questions about our values. What do we value most in life? Are we living your life according to our values?
These are just some ideas of some journaling prompts, you can write about anything you feel you need to. But writing things down can help us to be more mindful and present in our own bodies.
You can also do this with younger children, in a more creative way. Get the paints or colouring pencils out and encourage them to draw or express on paper how they feel. They could draw their favourite thing in the world, or write a poem about what they love most.
It’s the time of year when Spring is here, the days are beginning to become warmer, and the sun feels inviting and welcome. With this, being outside feels even more important for our well-being.
A great way to implement walks in nature into your life more frequently is to make it part of your routine. One way to do this is to go for a walk when you wake-up, before you take on any tasks for the day. Not only is it great exercise, but it can help you to freshen your mind and feel connected with the world around you.
One great activity to do on your walk is to take a moment to stop and pause. Take note of everything around you, what you can hear, what you can see — pay attention to your senses. Being mindful while in nature is a great way to feel present and to have a moment’s pause from life’s daily stresses.
If you have children this can be a great way to help them to live slowly too. On your walk together you can invite them to be mindful — to breathe in the smell of nature, to sit and watch the birds. Sitting in nature and drawing the plants or animals they see can be a great way for them to take time to be mindful and present.
Sometimes all we want to do is make the food that is quick and easy so that we have time for other things. But occasionally taking time out to make something from scratch can be a great thing to do with children and/ or a partner. With baking you not only have that sense of fulfilment of creating something, but it is a process that takes time and patience. Enjoying the process of creating helps us to have that patience and live slowly.
Doing jigsaw puzzles is another hobby that takes patience, but can really help you to enjoy the process rather than the finished product. Spending that time to just sit and focus on the thing in front of you, rather than thinking about other things in life, can be a way to be present and let go of anxieties.
This one may not seem like a hobby, but it is one thing we can do to live more slowly and simply. Often we find ourselves surrounded by so many things it can feel overwhelming. By having less things around us we can have a clearer head and more space.
Start small, such as with your wardrobe. Go through and find the items you haven’t worn in the last couple years, the clothes you no longer want or are no longer in good condition. Sell them or donate, or even recycle them. This can help you to feel productive while also making the home clearer and cleaner.
You can also get the kids involved — let them know how much their unused clothes could mean to another child. Have a box that needs to be filled to help filter out the items that are most loved. You can get them involved with where to donate, so that they know where their clothes or toys have gone to and who they might be helping.
Reading is another really great hobby that encourages us to live slowly. It helps us to have time away from screens and stop thinking over our daily life. Instead it invites us to sit down, to get cosy, to have a drink, and to be present in another world.
Whether it's taking some time out to read for yourself, or reading with the children, studies have shown that reading helps to reduce stress and alleviate depression. Making it a part of your day can therefore help you and your kids to have better sleep and feel more calm. Even if only for half an hour, taking the time to read could give you more time in the long run from helping you to sleep more easily.
In those quiet moments in the evening take the time to just have a pause. This could be switching off the notifications from your phone, taking a few minutes for a deep breathing exercise, or it could be meditation. Whatever it is, taking some time to just be and to disconnect from the outside world can really help us to escape the constant noise of everyday life.
Slow living is about living a more mindful and intentional life that makes you happy. It is about taking the time to shut off, to have a break, and to look after our health.
These are our top slow living hobbies that you can do with your family to slow down and escape the busyness of modern day life.