7 Tiny habits of Slow Living
Hello my dear friend ! How are you doing today? I am so happy to bring you this episode today. Never in my dreams have I ever thought of talking on this topic. This is so opposite to my nature. I am always doing something, going somewhere, filling my day with countless small chores but from the last few months, I was feeling burned out. I was not feeling accomplished even though I sifted through my daily to do list. I always turn to books when I don’t find an answer to something and recently I came across a book on slow living called Simple Living for a Frantic World By Brooke McAlry. It opened a complete new world to me. I then read Chasing slow by Erin Loechner. I could not recommend this book enough. In the world, where everybody is telling us to do more, have more, work more, this was a completely fresh perspective for me. I fell in love with the concept. But to be very honest, it was very difficult for a fast paced person like me, who has a job, kids and several hobbies and passions. It was extremely difficult for me to slow down. Then I thought, why not apply myself day by day, step by step approach here. I decided to break it down to the tiny habits and focus on one habit every single day. I am working on myself to slow down, live in the moment and enjoy life as it unfolds. These small habits really helped me to feel more centered and grounded amongst the chaos around me. Today, I want you to help you to calm down that inner chaos and feel the calmness and serenity within you. I am sure that these tiny habits will help you with that. So, come and join me in today’s episode where I will be discussing 7 tiny habits for slow living. But before that Happy Moment of The Week.
Happy Moment of The Week.
Actually, my happy moment for this week is very short and sweet. The other day I took Mihir to his cricket practice. His practice goes on for more than two hours. They play on a big playground so I thought this is the perfect opportunity to complete my steps for the day and get some exercise in. I decided to walk around the playground while he is practicing. I started my walk. My mind was wandering in many different directions. On my walk, I saw a lady with a stroller. She was also taking a walk with her baby. She was talking to the baby and telling the baby everything that she was seeing while on the walk. She was talking about the kids playing, birds chirping, and new flowers that were blooming on the side of the road. I could hear her clearly as she was talking a little loudly so that the baby in the stroller could hear it. She was so involved with this conversation. She was not in any rush to complete the steps as I was initially. She was just enjoying her time with her kid, being fully present with the baby and with nature noticing every small thing around her. I don’t know why but I felt that scene could have been a beautiful picture of a mom with her baby. Those books on slow living were fresh on my mind and now this incident made me realize the beauty of being present in the moment. Suddenly, I thought of a podcast episode idea. I kept thinking about it while I was walking. After a few minutes, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to talk about. I always carry a pen and a small diary with me because you never know when and where you might find inspiration. I pulled my little diary and just scribbled the entire outline of today’s episode. 7 tiny habits for slow living. I wish I knew that lady and can thank her for the inspiration. But nonetheless, she taught me an important life lesson that day and gave me a beautiful, meaningful memory to cherish forever. This was definitely my happy moment. Now, it’s your turn my friend, I would love to hear from you. I have a Facebook group called, Morning Cup of Sunshine. I would love for you to join me there. We talk a lot about life goals, inspirations and of course happy moments. Come join me there and share some joy, happiness and positivity around.
Alright, time to dive into today’s topic. 7 tiny habits for slow living. Do you know what slow living is? According to Wikipedia, Slow living refers to a lifestyle that encourages a slower approach to aspects of everyday life. Slow living is about creating opportunities to disconnect, (literally) slow down, and be more present. It is the lifestyle and it helps you become more mindful and present with yourself. But to be very honest it is very difficult to completely slow down and just reduce the pace if you have tons to do everyday. It needs some practice and baby steps. Today, I am going to share 7 tiny habits that you can implement in your day to day life to experience the beauty of slow living. You can pick one tiny habit for each day of the week and focus only on that single habit for that day. You don’t have to work on all 7 habits every single day. There is no pressure, no force in slow living. It teaches you self compassion and self grace from the get go.
Tiny habit 1 : Breathe
This is the simple exercise which will hardly take a couple of minutes of your day. There are no restrictions on when to do this exercise. This is the perfect tiny habit to start practicing slow living. This is called square breathing. I was introduced to this by my husband. Not sure where he learned. But this technique is quite simple. You just have to start by sitting in an upright position. Inhale through your nose slowly to the count of 4. Then hold your breath for a count of 4. Then gently exhale through your mouth to the count of 4 and finally at the bottom of your breath , pause and hold for count of 4. It is like a square, hold your breath on while on two horizontal lines and inhale and exhale while on two vertical lines. This is one tiny habit, you can work on it anywhere, anytime. I want you to work on this tiny habit today. This will help you reduce the stress, make you feel more in control. We often breathe so shallowly, especially when we are stressed. We don’t pay attention to our breathing most of the time. It is time to create this tiny habit, for more intentional living. Breathing is the essence of life, breathe deeply and live fully.
Tiny habit 2 : Food
All these habits that I am talking about in today’s episode, you don’t have to work on them all in one day. Pick one week and work on one habit every day of that week. All these habits are purposefully named tiny habits because they are not going to take more than 10 minutes of your time. Stil, work on one tiny habit each day and enjoy the baby steps towards slow living. Alright, this second tiny habit that I want you to work on is related to food. How many of you just chug the food down in the rush of work? How many of you don’t even serve yourself food properly instead just eat what’s left on kids’ plates and feel too full to actually eat a meal? How many of you have on the go lunch most of the time? I know I sometimes in the rush of the work, have my lunch at my desk where I don’t even look at the food, I just eat without even realising what I am eating. But today, I want you to pick one meal of the day and serve yourself the plate as if it is just prepared for you, as if you are eating that same food in a restaurant. I know this sounds silly. But try this today. Serve yourself the plate beautifully and then sit on the actual dining table, not in front of the computer or TV not while you're on soccer duty but sit actually at the table. Look at all the colors of food on your plate. Eat every single bite intentionally. Feel how good that warm meal feels. Actually feel the taste of every single thing on your plate. Even if you are too busy to eat a complete meal, then pick breakfast time as this intentional time. Just spend 10 minutes with the food more intentionally today. Mindful eating is slowly becoming a lost art but it is one of the crucial steps in finding the lost balance. Appreciate the food that you are eating as it is not only nourishing your body but your mind and soul too.
Tiny habit 3 : Feel
This is a very simple tiny habit. I know, life is busy and we all have a million things to do in a day. We all are rushing towards something, somewhere all the time. In that rush of the time, we sometimes forget what really matters in life and what really brings joy to us. Most of the time, we are on autopilot mode. We don’t live, we just breathe. There is no time to have those big, bold feelings. There is no time to express or even feel the feelings. Today, in this tiny habit, I want you to focus on feelings. I am not asking you to open your deep down buried box of those complicated feelings. This is a tiny habit and we are going to focus on tiny feelings that most of the time go unnoticed. Today I want you to spend a few minutes feeling different textures, smells, touches in your life. Feel the warmth of your coffee cup, the smoothness of your blanket or those extra special cuddles from the kids. Feel how good it feels holding that warm cup in the morning. Feel how secure and comfortable it feels under that fuzzy blanket. Feel how lovely it feels when you get those extra cuddles from kids. Don’t drink your coffee today in a rush, hold that cup, feel the steam coming out of that hot cup of coffee. Drink your regular coffee of your choice with more intention. Devour that taste, the warmth of the cup. Appreciate every single sip of your coffee. Don’t wake up with a list of million things to do in your head, rather spend a couple of minutes feeling the warmth of that cozy blanket. Take your time to slowly wake up with more intention. Today, when your kid gives you a hug, don’t try to escape it quickly in order to complete something on your to-do list, instead spend that extra minute to feel their love, noticing the love that you feel for them. Take that extra minute today to feel those beautiful tiny emotions that go unnoticed most of the time. It is time to feel those tiny emotions and appreciate them.
Tiny habit 4 : Gratitude but not just for obvious
I think this is the most important tiny habit that is the backbone of all other tiny habits we are talking about today. Gratitude but not just for the sake of gratitude. Today, I want you to say thank you as often as possible and not just for the sake of saying. Feel this emotion. Our life is filled with unsung heroes and we hardly feel grateful for them. There are countless people who help us throughout our day but we take them for granted. Today, I want you to notice all such unsung heros. Say thank you to the delivery man who delivered your amazon parcel today. Take time and say thank you to your house help. Say thank you to your kids for getting ready on time for school and helping you conquer the morning. Say thank you to yourself for taking care of your beautiful home. Say thank you to this wonderful life. Gratitude turns your chaotic life into a beautiful and calm journey. A moment of gratitude completely transforms your attitude. There is calmness to life lived in the joy of gratitude.
Tiny habit 5 : Look
This is easy. Now that the weather is warming up, I am sure most of us have started taking a walk. I am being very honest here. I am guilty of not following this tiny habit. Even though this is one of the simplest habits, I somehow could not follow it for days. I actually have to make an effort to follow this tiny habit. Next time, when you are taking a walk, unplug. Don’t listen to music, books or anything with headphones on, rather look at the things you see while on your walk, listen to the birds chirping, the sound of the wind, sound of leaves rustling. Don’t be on autopilot mode and just focus on your steps, destination, rather enjoy the journey. Notice the path you are taking. Look around and really see the beauty around you. Just feel that magic of nature. Every single branch of a tree is different, unique but together they make such a huge tree. Listen, look and love nature. Today, just spend at least 10 minutes outside and really look at things differently. You might not have noticed that the bushes near your home are blooming roses now. You might have totally missed how much that flower bed near your home has grown. Take time to look at your surroundings and again feel grateful for this opportunity to live in a world that is so beautiful.
Tiny habit 6 : Listen actually listen
Slow living is feeling all your senses more intentionally. I notice this so many times when I am having a conversation with someone, my thoughts tend to wander or I try to find the response while the other person is talking. Sometimes, we have to add our experience immediately after they finish telling us their experience. You know what, the same thing happened to me as well. Have you heard yourself saying similar things? Do you tend to think about what to say while you are listening to the other person? Do you tend to listen to only words but sometimes, completely miss what they are actually saying? I know this happens a lot so today, engage in a conversation with the sole purpose of listening to the other person. Don’t think of your response while they are speaking, don’t think of adding your experience to justify how similar you are, try not to think about other things while you are engaged in a conversation. Be present when you are having a conversation. Listen while you are listening, pay attention to their thoughts, their emotions and have a lively conversation. Today’s tiny habit for you is simple, isn’t it? Talk to your friend, or family member, or even your own kids either on phone or in person and have a hearty conversation. Remember every good conversation starts with listening.
Tiny habit 7 : Read
Finally, the last tiny habit for this week is to pick up that book which has been lying around your home for months now. If it is new, great, even though you have already read it, that is okay too. Sit in your favorite spot of your home and just read for 10 minutes. I am not asking for more. Just 10 minutes. Read an actual physical book, not an audiobook, not a YouTube video. Feel the letters on each page, smell the fragrance of that book. There are countless great thoughts gathered in that book, try to grasp and enjoy those. A little reading is sometimes like a therapy needed to get out the negative feelings and get back to feeling amazing. Love these quiet moments with a great book. You open a book and just sink into it. You can escape from the world into a story which is way more interesting than the trivial problems you are holding on to. Reading can give meaning to your day. But if you don’t love reading much then start small, just for today read 10 minutes. Spend those 10 minutes with a book without thinking of your to-do list, your chores. Slow living is about being 100% present in the task that you are currently doing and reading for 10 minutes is a great way to begin your journey of slow living.
Alright, these are the 7 tiny habits, work on one habit every day for this week. Tell me how you feel? Do you feel more peaceful, more calm, more centered. I would love to hear from you. I am also embarking my journey of slow living with these steps and I felt a very big difference in my week. I was more at peace, more grounded and felt really nice, I hope you also feel the same. Always remember, Once you stop rushing through life, you will realize how much more life you have time for. Just promise yourself that, today I will slow down, smile more and enjoy it!!