3 WAYS TO CREATE MENTAL WELLNESS THROUGH SLOW LIVING

Feeling mentally healthy and happy is worth the effort it takes to be more conscious of your routines and habits, stop running on autopilot, and start making meaningful memories. #slowliving #unbusy

SLOWING DOWN A LITTLE

Time flies when you're having fun, but some would argue that time just flies, period. And it can feel like the older you get the faster time passes. This is an experience that people all over the world can identify with, and it’s in response to it that the ‘slow movement’ has arisen. From slow and mindful eating, to minimalist living spaces and the Becoming UnBusy™ Movement, there are plenty of ways to help slow down your experience of time and, in so doing, improve your mental wellbeing.

Feeling mentally healthy and happy is worth the effort it takes to be more conscious of your routines and habits, stop running on autopilot, and start making meaningful memories. In collaboration with Retirement Now, here are three practical ways to do that:


1. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT

People tend to remember the periods of their life when there were new experiences and milestones. Without these, phases of your life can seem like they just merge together into a grey blur. While it might not be wise or practical to force new milestones by relocating or going back to school just for the sake of it, you can embrace significant new experiences--even the small ones.

As you grow older it may be more comfortable to stick to your tried and trusted ways, but small adjustments can make a big impact. Travelling to your favourite getaway spot? Instead of booking flights, try travelling by train, coach or bus, and pay attention to what you encounter along the journey. When you get to retirement age, you will benefit from discounts for pensioner train travel. Buying groceries? Go to a different store and buy a few ingredients you don’t usually buy. Scrolling through social media? Read a chapter of a book or take a stroll outside instead.


Feeling mentally healthy and happy is worth the effort it takes to be more conscious of your routines and habits, stop running on autopilot, and start making meaningful memories. #slowliving #unbusy

2. CULTIVATE CONNECTIONS

Connectedness is a vital element in engaging meaningfully with life and making vibrant memories, and that’s not in reference to your wifi connection. Put down your phone, walk away from your computer, and really see the people who are around you. This doesn’t mean that you have to be with people all the time or make as many friends as possible; alone time is also valuable. But try to approach your existing relationships with fresh eyes, and aim to meet a new person now and then too.

Having some fun traditions with friends and family is one way to rejuvenate the relationships. Set up Tuesday Teas with an old friend, or Monthly Market Day with a younger family member for exploring different craft or food markets and festivals. Once you mature into retiree status it becomes especially refreshing to keep up your relationships with younger family members--and valuable for them too!

The anxiety associated with meeting new people can be greatly lessened if it’s in the context of a hobby. Join an art or dance class, a casual sport team or a choir, or start volunteering for a cause close to your heart. This way you are sure to meet people with whom you share some commonality, but be open to engaging with those you wouldn’t ordinarily interact with too.


Feeling mentally healthy and happy is worth the effort it takes to be more conscious of your routines and habits, stop running on autopilot, and start making meaningful memories. #slowliving #unbusy

3. SORT OUT YOUR SPACE

The idea behind minimalist living spaces doesn’t have to be complicated. You may have heard about the Danish concept of hygge--enjoying life’s simple pleasures--applied to interior decor and spaces. But equally valid is the simple concept that owning fewer possessions means having less to clean and organise, which means more time and space for some of the more meaningful pursuits you’ve just read about.

Feeling mentally healthy and happy is worth the effort it takes to be more conscious of your routines and habits, stop running on autopilot, and start making meaningful memories. #slowliving #unbusy

Admittedly, making your home into this kind of sanctuary is going to take some initial cleaning and organising. But feel free to tackle the task slowly, and try to enjoy the process. Start with a small section in your home and identify the things in that space that you dislike, don’t need or don’t feel attached to, and set them aside to recycle, give away, throw away, or sell. The idea is that you work toward creating spaces that you love.

Joy and thankfulness are powerful pieces in your mental wellness toolkit. As you endeavour to slow down your experience of time by embracing new experiences, connecting with people, and having a decluttered home, observe how your joy and gratitude levels are affected. There will always be things you need to get done, and routines can be very helpful, so don’t throw them out completely. The slow movement is less about becoming ‘a free spirit’ and more about being mindful about what you do and finding ways to appreciate how you are spending your time.


Feeling mentally healthy and happy is worth the effort it takes to be more conscious of your routines and habits, stop running on autopilot, and start making meaningful memories. #slowliving #unbusy

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you slowing down a little to enjoy life more? Are you trying new things and staying connected with the world around you?

RELATED POSTS


Feeling mentally healthy and happy is worth the effort it takes to be more conscious of your routines and habits, stop running on autopilot, and start making meaningful memories. #slowliving #unbusy
Feeling mentally healthy and happy is worth the effort it takes to be more conscious of your routines and habits, stop running on autopilot, and start making meaningful memories. #slowliving #unbusy

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28 comments

  1. Hi Leanne, I am usually a cup half full type of person, although I am stepping it up on the mental wellness right now. I have never understood why time seems to go faster as we get older. I love the reminder about new experiences. I sometimes fall into too much of a routine. Now is a good time to sort out our space since I think most of us are spending more time at home. Great post, especially right now!

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    1. Hi Erica - I know what you mean about life feeling like it's flying by. Every time I have a day with no social commitments I stop and breathe and appreciate the chance to be home and to go a bit slower and savour life and all its small joys. With the world going crazy atm I'm enjoying being home even more - and you're right about it being the perfect opportunity to look around and see what needs sorting :)

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  2. Hi, Leanne - Your posts on slow living are very wise and extremely timely. Currently, the Universe seems to be saying that we need to slow down, rethink and reset. You have given great tips to reflect upon!

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    1. Hi Donna - I think you're right. Some people react to situations like the Corona virus with a frenzy and panic, I find though that it's also bringing us opportunities to slow down, to stay away from the hustle and bustle, and to show kindness to others. I'm also learning to be grateful for the things I take for granted - my own good health and my family's safety, basics like power, gas, water, fresh air - and so much more. Slowing down is definitely the way to go these days.

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  3. Leanne
    I think slow living is something the current world health crisis has made us all incorporate into daily life. As things unfold, I find myself returning to a simpler life and finding joy in these simple things.

    SSG xxx

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    1. I'm the same SSG - staying home is a joy for me and has become my haven in these crazy times. I'm happy to not be shopping or milling around in crowds - and having a clutter free home just adds to that sense of serenity.

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  4. Leanne
    As I (and thousands of others globally) have had to suddenly shift the daily office space to our homes the thought of a slower and less cluttered existence is so appealing. This whole experience is a tough one and as soon as I am over this initial emotional hump I'm feeling, the house is kitchen cupboards are getting a massive clean :)

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    1. Hi Christine - I'm home a lot more now that I've taken early retirement and decided that I'm not going to be working anymore. My home has now become my haven - and that means keeping the clutter down and having clean, clear space around me. It makes my heart happy when there's room to breathe and when my cupboards are tidy!

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  5. I loved this post, and so timely. It was also very relaxing to read too! :)

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    1. Thanks Suchot - I think it's so important to find the good in the craziness, to re-think how "busy" we are and to look at ways we can be present but in a calmer fashion. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading it x

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  6. This year I noticed that I need to be slower...and I have given myself permission not to be so active or productive. It is so pleasant. Thank you for the reminder. Denyse

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    1. I've been doing the same since I left work Denyse. I think once we get our head around the fact that 'busy isn't better' we open our eyes to a whole new way of living - and slowing down becomes a joy.

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  7. Hi Leanne, we need to go back to 2019 and then start 2020 again. With the bushfires and now CV Australia is certainly taking a beating. I think that we are getting the message that we need to look for quality in life rather than trying to overcommit. I have found lately that late afternoon yoga practice at home has helped me become more mindful and present. xx

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    1. Hi Sue - you're so right - our world seems to be out of control over the last few months. It's only been a couple of weeks since all the craziness started and I'm already weary of it all. I'm actually enjoying slowing down and being in my own space at home - it soothes my soul (as yoga would be soothing yours).

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  8. A very timely reminder Leanne and great suggestions and ideas. I've just come home from 3 weeks interstate and found mice have moved into my cupboards so a clean out was essential before I could even start to relax and enjoy being at home. The days ahead will be interesting to say the least, and we all need to acknowledge our mental health may suffer if we don't take care of ourselves in whatever way works for us. I'm keen to give Sue's yoga routine a go, I'll let you know if it works for me.

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    1. Mice are great opportunists Deb - and I couldn't live with them either - I guess it was a good excuse to have a Spring clean in Autumn. I've definitely noticed a feeling of being unsettled by how quickly everything is changing in the world, but I'm also making an effort to keep my eyes on the positives - and yes keep me posted on the yoga routine. xx

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    2. I'm enjoying the yoga Leanne, I've done it 2 days in a row and as it's only about 23 minutes it isn't too onerous and gives me a chance to get into it without overdoing it too early. Good idea to keep an eye on the positives :) #lifethisweek

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  9. If doing things different makes them more easily remembered, we'll certainly remember these days, won't we Leanne? In some ways, life feels more "busy" than ever with all the news swirling around us, but in many ways we are being forced to slow down. I hope people (including myself) will use this opportunity to be more intentional in their actions and truly slow down. It's certainly a good time to connect with people--though from a physical distance--and to sort through and organize belongings. Stay safe! #MLSTL

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    1. I love that blogging can still go on regardless - we do social isolation in the best way possible Christie! I am struggling a little with all the constant changes, but we can't do anything to control what's happening - other than keeping away from crowds and enjoying being home more - fortunately that's something I really enjoy!

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  10. I love the 'do something different' idea AND the notion of sorting out my space. My study needs a tidy so I think I'll work on it over coming days. I'm currently doing personal and blogging stuff from there and the 1+hour or so of work a day (usually spread over 10hrs) at a different laptop at my dining table. It's kinda working but a bit messy!

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    1. I think we'll all be giving our houses a little look over and be inspired to tidy or to cull or to freshen things up over the months ahead Deb. I think for mental wellness we need to be in a clear and pleasant space - and that will be our homes for the foreseeable future!

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  11. Probably very timely post!! In this confusing time, anything that gives clarity is good!

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    1. Hi Lydia - yes it tied in beautifully since it was written before the Corona world meltdown that is consuming us all atm!

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  12. Leanne, I love this post! I need the reminder to slow down and enjoy life. I am usually multi-tasking, getting a lot done, and driven. That does not always lead to inner peace, as you can imagine. I love the reminder to try different things. Thank you!

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    1. I'm finding that slow living and simplicity are going to be key words for me in the months ahead Laurie. Rather than fighting this self-isolation, I'm going to try to embrace it and just enjoy the peace and slowness that it's enforcing on us. I quite liked the idea of train travel vs air travel when things get back to "normal" again - less breathing of other people's air!

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  13. I read this post and smiled...then I realised that while I'm living a simpler life, my working life has sped up. I'd also got the clutter thing under control and now we've come back from Canberra with boxes of files and other possessions from my mother-in-laws house that I now have to find space for. Sigh.

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    1. Oh dear - that always happens when a loved one passes Jo - all the "should we keep it?" questions. Good luck with sorting and deciding what to keep and what to throw away. And try to be kind to yourselves as you move forward and with the added layer of being stuck at home more too.

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  14. Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, the optional prompt, is for some, the (Easter) seasonally-based 13/51 Chocolate 30.3.2020. Hope to see you back linking up then too. Denyse.

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Thanks so much for your comment - it's where the connection begins.