We’re so busy doing everything, pleasing everyone, and saying yes too all.the.things, that it seems we’ve forgotten the most important person to say yes to is ourselves. The gentle act of slowing down in a fast paced world seems to be perhaps one of the most forgotten rebellious acts we can engage in. It seems everyone is caught up in the turmoil of life, rushing to school and work in the morning, to grocery shopping and catching up on all our emails and endless notifications.
Are you waiting for the day when life will be a little quieter, a little less rushed, a little slower? Sadly it seems this day often only appears when we hit a wall, and our health declines due to overwhelm, anxiety, stress and a much too-long to-do list. Instead, we can create change in our lives through intentionally choosing how we spend our time, what we say yes to, and what we decide to focus on.
Here are five simple ideas that you can begin this week, to actively choose to create slow and find creativity in your days.
1. Choose what you spend your time on. Have you looked, lately, at how long you spent on social media today or this week? Check it now, on your device battery settings. Half an hour? Or more a whole lot perhaps! The mindless scrolling of social media apps is not only quite detrimental to our physical and mental wellbeing, but also robs us of actual hours of our life without us realising it. Next time you find yourself opening Instagram, instead pick up your sewing, knitting, punch needle or drawing.
2. Learn to say no. In an age where we can do anything, no one ever said we had to do everything. Saying yes to every request that comes your way quickly fills your diary and your brain – from baking for your kids’ school, to volunteering at the local community centre, to doing an extra hour of work to finish someone else’s projects it seems there’s always someone asking for something else. Gently and politely, but firmly, learn to say no. Saying yes to activities and chores out of a sense of guilt, every single time, leaves you feeling depleted. By saying no, you’re giving yourself space to have more time to say yes to the things that are really important to you. This is about choosing what brings you joy.
3. Small moments of creativity, in small pockets of time. Every day there are little moments, pockets of time. At the doctors waiting room, on the bus or train, at school pick up, sitting at a café waiting for friends, even standing in line at the bank. Instead of pulling out your phone, pull out your bag of crafts – I always carry some stitching with me, something that’s easy to pick up and put down, with no dropped stitches to worry about, and where I don’t have to follow a pattern.
4. Find the right project to fit into your life. Some creative projects need a lot of space and a lot of time, whereas other projects fit better into the little moments in your days. Choosing a project that you can easily attend to, and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your bag, on your kitchen bench, beside your bed, in the car means that you always have something to keep your hands gently working. A complicated knitting project might be best to keep for long Winter nights on the couch, whereas a smaller scarf can fit into it’s project bag and go along with you to work meetings, parent groups, appointments or even while the dinner is cooking.
5. Progress over perfection every single day. If you’re new to crafting, you might worry about making a mistake when you only have small moments of time to work on your craft. Rather than getting hung up on it needing to be perfect, or the idea of when it will be finished, instead take joy in the contentment of simply making something. The process of making, moment by tiny moment, will guide you in learning to seek the simpler aspects of life. Appreciating the sound of needle through thread, or the enjoyment of watching your work grow slowly row by row by row over weeks or even a year. Use this not as a way to make a finished thing, but more as a way to change your approach to how you spend your time.
Tell me - I’d love to know what tips you could share on how you intentionally create slow in your days… leave a comment below, so we can all unbusy our lives a little more.
This post is part of my ‘Conversations with Slow’ Arts Patron space; where I share craft projects, recipes, slow living tips & ideas, intentional creativity and simple ways to slow down your days (things that I don’t generally share publicly). If you like my writing, my creative work, or my free projects & tutorials, perhaps you’d like to support me via a monthly donation. All the details are here.