Thursday, February 18, 2010

Frugal Tip Thursday: Slow Down

Here's another great post from our friends at The Greenest Dollar...

A Novel Idea: The Slow Home Movement

My life has been feeling pretty hectic lately. It feels as if I’ve got too many balls in the air,  that I’m too plugged in, too “in motion” all the time. It feels as if I’ve just been skimming on the surface of things, going too quick to really absorb and reflect on the thoughts and information I’m processing all the time.

I’m sure you’ve had that feeling before. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that most of you feel like this a good deal of the time. Rushed. Overstimulated. Out of control. Stretched too thin.

It’s not good!

The point here is that I’ve just been feeling frazzled, and I’m not sure when I became so obsessed with Getting Things Done. I’ve been trying to figure out how to fix it, but I couldn’t really put my finger on what was wrong, you know?

Well, I was on Facebook yesterday (of course!) when Planet Green posted a great article on the Slow Home Movement.

As soon as I read it, I was like YES! This is what I’ve been searching for!

I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to share this with all of you.

The Slow Home Movement

Author Shannon Honeybloom just wrote a book called Making a Family Home. And, it’s all about how to create a slow home.

According to Shannon, a slow home is all about creating a slow, nurturing environment where you do everything from cleaning to cooking with thoughtful intention. It’s about putting rhythms and rituals back into your life. It’s about giving yourself permission to do nothing. It’s about creating enough time to be bored and to let your mind wander.

To me, this just sounds lovely. After all, when was the last time you were bored? For me, it’s been ages. I’ve always got too much to do to be bored.

But, that’s the whole point. Most people do too much. We’re Facebooking and Twittering. We’re watching hours of TV a day. We’re taking our kids to endless events and playdates, helping with homework, cleaning, cooking, checking email on the Blackberry…it never ends!

As a result of this crazy pace. we’re more stressed out than ever. The human mind needs, and craves, empty time to think and be creative. But, most of us are too busy to give it this luxury.

The Slow Home Movement is the direct response to this frenetic pace. It’s a way for us to learn how to slow back down.

So how do we do it?

How to Create a Slow Home

So, how can we create a slower home?

Well, I couldn’t find a ton of information online. And, I haven’t bought the book (since I just learned about it yesterday) so I don’t know what’s in there.

But what I did find, and come up with on my own, is this:
  • Set limits on TV and Internet time. Close the door to your home office.  Lock it if you have to.
  • Take time to have a slow breakfast with your family at least once per week. Light candles, make pancakes, and visit with each other.
  • Take baths. Long ones. With candles.
  • Stop multitasking. Science has proven that our brains truly can only focus on one task at a time. So, do one task well, instead of two poorly.
  • Stop being afraid to take a nap. They’re not just for seniors and toddlers.
  • Drink a cup of tea. But instead of drinking it while you’re on the phone, or writing an email, or vacuuming the floor, drink it in an actual chair, while you’re staring out the window.
  • Talk slower. Instead of just using words to get information out as fast as possible, think about what you’re saying. Remember, conversation used to be an art form. To learn more about this, read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
  • Consider reading Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy. I bought this book years ago, and forgot all about it until I was looking for ideas to slow down. I dug it out of my bookshelf this afternoon, and wondered why the heck I hadn’t picked it up in so long. This lovely book is full of essays, geared towards women, on how to slow down and find your “authentic self”. The writer, Sarah Breathnach, is amazing. She’s warm and intuitive, and reading this book is like getting to talk to a great friend who understands exactly how frazzled you are, and who has the wisdom to guide you through it. There is one essay for every day of the year, and they’re all delightful.
  • Follow the advice of Zen Habits: if you were going to take tomorrow off, and spend it entirely by yourself, what would you do? This no-holds-barred look can really put you in touch with what your heart’s been trying to tell you you need.
Last Word…
I’m declaring, here and now, that I’m going to make the effort to create a slow home. I have to. All I have to do is look at my desk, which is currently scattered with papers and books and unfinished projects, to know that I’ve been doing too much.

I need to get back to a time when I don’t wake up at 6 a.m. and immediately head upstairs to start working. Or, rush through my workout so I can “get back to work”. I need to get over the fierce drive to create something everyday, to knock stuff off my list, to have an uber-clean house. It’s just too exhausting!

I’d love to hear back from all of you on this. What do you do to slow down? Have you heard about this Slow Home movement? If so, how have you created a slow home?

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