“What the soul cries out for is a resurrection of the senses…” C.S. Lewis
We live in a fast paced world. Information is being thrown at us 24-7, we’re working longer hours, hitting the gym harder and struggling to achieve the ‘perfect bake,’ all while ensuring that our homes, lives and pouts are Instagram worthy. Phew, we’re tired already.
Well we say enough! It’s time to stop and smell the geranium and rose scented candles. This month’s blog is dedicated to slowing down so that we can try and sap the delicious beauty out of every day, yep, even the rainy Monday’s.
The truth is that we cottoned onto this slowing down business some time ago, when we realised that there’s no shame in not being busy 24-7. Since we took our foot off the gas a little we’ve felt lots happier and less jaded, here’s a few tips to help you do the same…
1. Keep a journal. If you don’t fancy the whole, ‘dear diary,’ vibe, then try jotting down 5 things that you’re grateful for that day. A soya that didn’t burn your tongue on first sip, the sun on your face, your new socks, the lights being green the whole way home, a nice chat with your mum, it all counts and helps you take stock.
2. Prioritise your time. Yes, you’re super busy but do you have to be? Try writing down all your commitments and think about what’s really essential – do you need to go to that rye bread making class as well as cross stitch? By doing less you can make each action count.
3. Daily meditation is a great way to switch off and regroup. You don’t have to be cross – legged on the floor in a cloud of incense. Just closing your eyes for a few minutes and focusing on the feeling of your feet on the ground, or the sounds around you, is enough to give that chattering brain a little down time. This can be done in the office, on the train – anywhere, actually maybe not while driving or operating heavy machinery.
4. Unclench your jaw! Many of us are so wound up that our jaws are permanently clenched. Close your eyes and relax your face right now, loosen your jaw, feel the tension fade away from your forehead, take a deep breath, right down to your belly, pause, breathe out with a sigh – see how good it feels?
5. Simplify. Obama famously wears only wears grey or blue suits as he doesn’t want to waste his energy on trivial decisions such as what he’s wearing or eating every day. We might not be as high level as him but we’ve found that a capsule work wardrobe and some staple mid-week meals have made Monday –Friday a lot easier. Instead of worrying about whether our new peasant blouse goes with our Zara skirt we can make more important decisions, like whether to re-watch Breaking Bad or the Sopranos.
6. Declutter. In the spirit of simplifying, less stuff equals less decisions and an easier life. It’s true what they say, a tidy house is a tidy mind, and that goes for your wardrobe, car, desk and handbag too. If it hasn’t been used or worn in a year then it’s time for it to go, don’t get sentimental about material objects! We’re quite ruthless this way.
7. Make down time a thing. Ensure that your living room is a soothing and cosy space that you want to spend time in. We love lighting our candles, closing the curtains, slipping into our pajamas and pottering around, chatting with family, reading, or just having a lie down and you know how we much we enjoy a soak in a candle lit tub. We now associate our favorite candle scents with being relaxed and have them burning all the time. Life is hard, be kind to yourself and don’t feel guilty for looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.
8. Be present. It’s so easy to be distracted, you might be walking through breathtaking countryside but thinking about the best angle for your photo, talking to your best friend but looking at that Youtube video of a cat on a hand glider, hanging out with your little ones but checking Facebook. Try being completely present in the moment, put away your phone, really listen to what the other person is saying and concentrate on what you are doing. It’s hard but it’s very rewarding.
9. Get outside. We used to plod away on the treadmill in a clammy gym after work but now we run free and feel the wind on our back and the rain on our faces, well we are based in Scotland. Getting outside every day does wonders for the soul and gives us some much needed vitamin D. You don’t need to be pounding the pavements, a bracing walk is a great way to collect your thoughts. Philosophers have long made the link between a walk in nature and our creativity. For Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Kant, Rousseau and Thoreau, walking was central to their work, so if it’s good enough for them!
10. Stop juggling. Multi-tasking is all good and well but what’s really brilliant is focusing on one task and doing it fabulously. When that’s done tick it off and move down the list. Cool, calm and collected is the order of the day.
11. Literally slow down. Eat slower, drive a bit slower if you feel that you’re getting agitated behind the wheel, collect all your belongings and leave the house slower (we left in a rush yesterday and forgot our lunch *sobs*) The time that you save in not having to correct mistakes and the peace that you find mentally is really worth it!
Savor the moment candle lovers!