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slowing things down | A progress update
It’s easy to say “I’m slowing things down” but you might wonder (as did I), how does that actually translate in practical terms? In a real and demanding world of juggling *all* the elements required to stay afloat?
I decided to pop this title in my post drafts on January 5th to remind me to genuinely report back on how it’s going. And knowing myself as I do, being accountable for reporting back would mean that I had more chance of staying on track with my slowing down intentions!
At the time of writing this, we’re going through a somewhat difficult family time (life update here), so I’m glad that I’ve made a few notes throughout the year, recording the different elements to slowing down and how I’ve drifted towards them. I choose “drifted towards” over “implemented” as that feels like too fierce a word for something that’s really a lot more holistic.
And don’t take this update as a sign that I think I’ve “achieved” a slower life… box ticked, job done. I’m learning that it’s an ever evolving process. One you need to regularly check in with, tweak, adjust and reevaluate what it means for you at any given time…
changes on the work front
I’ve gone from posting on Instagram from three times a day to just once. Here I talked about why I was posting three images a day and because this was pre-algorithm, I truly believe that it not only helped me grow an audience but also figure out the style of imagery I love to create. But I’ve noticed that posting once allows me to be more selective, think about what I want to write, express something with more meaning (if meaningful is the order of the day), and also have time for more conversation and genuine connection with Insta friends in the comments.
I now know that two blogs posts (and sometimes just the one) per week is perfectly okay when other areas of work are demanding a lot of my time. Again, it comes down to quality over quantity and writing about what I love. Not only that, the time it takes to plan, prepare, shoot images if necessary, draft and edit a post is significant. Rome was not built in a day!
Saying No to things that cause me stress. Or things I don’t enjoy doing… but would have previously done because they paid well or “raised my profile” – a phrase I’ve come to feel more and more detached from over the last couple of years. Slowing things down a little gives you the head space to consider what feels like a good fit in terms of work.
When life demands more of my time, attention and focus, just like it’s doing right at this very moment (the irony of this is not lost on me), I’m getting better at not fretting about work. In this industry it’s so easy to slip into the trap of feeling you must and absolutely should do A,B,C, X, Y and Z in order to survive. Oh and don’t forget that evil beast, comparison. Comparing your totally cr*p day to someone else’s top notch, best moment of their life blog post/Instagram image/YouTube video moment is a fool’s game. Do. Not. Go. There.
a new approach to living
Sometimes when we’re busy running amok in the manner of headless chickens, there’s no space left to think or find anything remotely approaching a state of clarity or calm. This not only applies to the things which are majorly important but also to the smaller details that might seem insignificant on their own, but when you add them up, can amount to so much more.
How does this translate in real terms?
Recently I realised that when stressed or feeling under pressure, I’ve been developing a new habit. Rather than acquiring more things and stuff in an attempt to salve the soul, (shopping… surely one of the most common knee jerk reactions?), I have the urge to get rid instead.
I’m learning that by having the time to think and figure out what I’m really experiencing , I actually want to dispose of things, de-clutter and simplify… over and over again. It’s amazing how, if left unchecked, the small things can chip away at your daily irritation levels.
Such as having to scrabble through a huge make up bag of items I rarely use to find the five or six that I use every single day religiously. And in taking time to look at what these items were, I realised I’d unconsciously moved towards the simplicity of make up that I applied and smudged on with my fingers. Bye Bye brushes, hello one very happy teen daughter who now has my cosmetic cast-offs to experiment with!
Or how about the three dried hydrangea stems that I put on the patio table in a pot, only to retrieve them from various corners of the garden every single goddam day after the wind had scattered them! So I brought them inside… and spent time picking up all the bits that kept falling off. So I put them in the bin. Turns out they weren’t one of life’s necessities after all.
Self care habits
There were a number of things on the self-care front that I had in mind when I set my slowing down intentions at the beginning of the year. Some I’m making good headway with and others not so much. But that’s what a check in is for right?
E A T I N G & D R I N K I N G M O R E M I N D F U L L Y
I get a tick for a decent breakfast and eating it on time. I’ve been making smoothies or overnight oats and making sure that I eat before 9:30am. When it comes to planning weekly meals, I feel I could participate more in this and help to dig out some more healthier recipes but overall, whilst we might stick to the same tired and tested dinners when life is busy, we do eat well. I need to improve vastly on my lunches and not resorting to copious snacks when stressed or looking to evening red wine as an escape route from the tough times.
R E A D I N G M O R E B O O K S
I’m nailing this one! I haven’t read as many books as I have so far this year in ages and I’m loving it. That in itself is proof I’m allowing myself more time. Keep an eye out for a list of my favourites coming to the blog soon.
M O V I N G M O R E
Hhmmm… sometimes yes, sometimes no. Dog walks and Pilates most Thursdays is good progress in my book. The rest I’m still trying to figure out. I aim to work in some yoga and I have a sneaking suspicion that my running days are in the past *glares at right knee*. However I’m not averse to an energetic hike through the New Forest or over sandy beach terrain… or an impromptu dance session with the dog.
S T E P P I N G A W A Y F R O M T H E D E S K
I’ve found that small breaks in the day really help my inspiration and productivity levels quite a bit. I’ve stopped that flogging a dead horse mentality – if the creativity ain’t happening, I’ll walk away for a bit. I just need to work on stepping away earlier in the evening a few more days a week so I can reconnect with family and domestic stuff. Who’d have thought that I could trick myself into thinking that folding laundry could be mindful?
So that’s where I am on the slowing down journey so far. And in the spirit of celebrating our achievements rather than feeling that we always have another goal to reach, seeing it all written down on the page makes me realise how far I’ve come since this time last year.
over to you!
What would slowing down mean to you? And have you tried to implement any changes this year?
S T Y L E C R E D I T S : Tux Shirt – J.Crew | Bracelet – Links Of London | Concept Ring – Tutti & Co. c/o | Watch – Michael Kors | MacBook | Laptop Case (old) – Kate Spade : Love the polka dot version! | Jeans – J.Crew | Shoes – Mango : Similar here
Photography: SarahLou Francis