A Year of Living Slower, July: Slow Living and Seeing Things Differently

Woven basket bag with blanket

Welcome back to A Year of Living Slower. We are officially halfway through having completed six separate challenges. The next few months are set for more interesting and thought-provoking topics around living better, not faster, including sustainability and slow living in the city. At the halfway point, we reflect on the challenge so far and introduce July’s intriguing theme of ‘seeing things differently’.

We kicked off A Year of Living Slower with the basics in Januarytips for a calm bedtime ritual to improve sleep quality. In February, we focused on putting the slow back into sundays and making time for ourselves before the week begins. For March‘s challenge, we explored about slow food and seasonal eating. The year-long challenge turned to the power of getting back to nature in April. And then in May, we shared tips and inspiration around the theme of slow travel, from practising the art of slow looking to London day trips. Finally in June, we focused on slow tech and Cal Newport’s digital minimalism – a framework to manage our relationship with our phones so that they remain a tool, rather than a distraction.

Seeing things differently in July

The enthusiasm for making change and setting goals that flows in January and the spring has most likely waned as we reach the halfway point of the year. We’ve settled comfortably into our routines and are prone to exclaiming, “time flies!” or “can you believe it’s already July?”, while perhaps internally lamenting inside that we’re not where we hoped we’d be at this point.

The focus for A Year of Living Slower was and continues to be an alternative to unrealistic New Year’s resolutions that we forget or give up with soon after we’ve made them. In July, we revitalise our impetus for achievable change by seeing things (the everyday) differently. We’ll focus on switching off autopilot to become more mindful and exploring how small changes to our routines can lead to larger changes, or perhaps, just a boosted joie de vivre.

In July, we take inspiration from Van Gogh, who is quoted to have said, “great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together”.

Join us for July’s challenge to become more mindful and thrive from the impact of small changes.

A Year of Living Slower, June: Slow Tech

Offline is the new luxury quote

Welcome to the sixth month of A Year of Living Slower, a collection of 12 monthly challenges in living better, not faster.

A Year of Living Slower started in January with tips for a calm bedtime ritual to maximise your sleep. In February, we focused on Slow Sundays and making time to practise self care. In March, we discussed slow food and seasonal eating. As Spring sprung, the challenge turned to the power of getting back to nature in April. And finally in May, we shared inspiration and ideas around slow travel, including how to get more from your trip, whether that’s going off-grid and recharging in the countryside, or practising the art of slow looking on a city break.

This month, we’re tackling tech, something that both enables and arguably complicates our lifestyles. The aim of the month is to gain a better understanding of your relationship with your phone and to know if switching off more regularly could actually help you recharge.

Talking About our Relationship with Technology

While we’re immensely privileged to live in an era of knowledge sharing and connectivity and we’re far from advocating digital luddism, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the more negative aspects of technology. That includes, in particular, the way our 24/7 digital interconnectedness and FOMO-culture affects mental health, productivity and our relationships. Research is still developing and technology use is likely to affect us all differently, yet one thing is very clear: smartphones, social media and digital communication are a huge part of daily life and are here to stay. It’s vital that we become equipped to deal with their impact.

The following stats from Deloitte’s 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey highlight how reliant we have become on screens and are a good place to start when considering your own screen time:

  • 34% of UK adults check their phones within five minutes of waking up.
  • 53% of 16-75-year olds use phones while walking and 11% would continue doing so as they cross the road.
  • 78% of us use our phones in the hour before going to bed, jeopardising our sleep quality due to blue light exposure.

If you’re fed up with wasting time on your phone, join us in June and start exploring the concepts of slow tech and digital detox.

A Year of Living Slower, May: Slow Travel

Slow Travel in Toulouse

As the blossom trees fade and wisteria and lush green leaves take centre stage, nature tells us that we’ve reached May. A handful of sunnier days promise that winter will soon be a distant memory and it’s time to start planning our summer escapes. In this atmosphere of excitement for the thought of swapping multiple layers for sandals and alfresco evenings, we’re a third of the way through A Year of Living Slower, our year-long challenge in living better, not faster. In May, we focus on slow travel, a key part of the slow living movement.

To refresh your memory, we started the year focusing on getting a good night’s sleep – crucial for living and working to the best of our ability. In February, we aimed to put the self-care back into Sundays, reminding ourselves that there is value when we slow down and do less. March explored slow food, the origins of the slow movement. And finally, in April, we shared why the power of getting back to nature shouldn’t be underestimated and where to escape into green space in London.

Gaining More from Travel

A break from the grind, our trips promise new experiences and time to recharge. However, a YouGov survey revealed that 60% of British holidaymakers check their work emails when away, despite 80% saying that they’d rather switch off completely. Our always-on digital culture makes it more difficult to escape from work, while paradoxically we feel we must cram every sight and attraction into our precious and limited annual leave.

May’s theme of slow travel shares inspiration and ideas around how to better connect with the places you visit and return home feeling rested, rather than exhausted.

If you’re making summer travel plans, whether that’s at home or further afield, this month will be packed with useful tips. Share your experiences using #AYearOfLivingSlower on Instagram and let’s celebrate our fifth month of living better, not faster.

A Year of Living Slower, April: Slow Living & Getting Outdoors

Slow living and getting outdoors

We’re a quarter of the way through A Year of Living Slower, a challenge in living better, not faster. Throughout the year-long challenge, we explore twelve themes, inspired by the slow living movement.

We kicked off the year exploring the basics; the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. Next, in February, we focused on putting the self-care back into Sundays. During March, we explored the roots of the slow food movement, from motivations for cooking from scratch to seasonal eating and London’s zero waste shops. It took the slow living movement one step further, not just focusing on ingredients and culinary heritage but also on food packaging and taking time to enjoy the food on our plates.

The Power of Getting Outdoors

With the first signs of Spring arriving, we turn our attention to April’s theme; slow living and getting outdoors.

This month seemed to be particularly tailored to city-dwellers, but in reality, it seems that getting more fresh air could be something we should all consider. It’s reported that UK adults spend 90% of their time indoors and 36% of parents don’t think their children spend enough time outdoors.

With this in mind, April’s challenge is about slowing down to reconnect with the reassuring pace and pattern of nature; a constant in our ever-changing world. We explore how getting outdoors can affect our happiness and mood and share some of London’s finest green spaces.

How are you finding the challenge so far? Use the hashtag #AYearOfLivingSlower on Instagram to share your experiences.

A Year of Living Slower, March: Slow Food

Scandi inspired dining room decor

Welcome to the third month of A Year of Living Slower, a year-long challenge in living better, not faster. Each month, the experiment focuses on a different theme, encouraging us to make small, positive lifestyle changes, inspired by the slow living movement.

In January, the challenge explored the theme of sleep – something integral to our well-being. And in February, we focused on slow Sundays. We shared inspiration around where to enjoy a quieter Sunday in London and also asked four simple, slow and eco-conscious bloggers for their ideas.

The first two months of A Year of Living Slower have concentrated on self-care and slow living on an individual level. As we head towards spring, we take a more macro approach and turn our attention to the very heart of the slow living movement: slow food.

Embracing Slow Food

In March, we seek to understand the roots of the slow food movement, initiated by Carlo Petrini in Rome. We delve deeper into this topic and understand slow food from different angles, from supporting local producers and sustainability to finding joy in the process of cooking from scratch and being more present when eating.

This month’s challenge aims to help us consider our food choices, especially in a city setting. And on a personal level, it encourages us to slow down and enjoy our food, rather than eating on the go, or while scrolling on our smartphones.

Join in the conversation and share your photos using #AYearOfLivingSlower on Instagram.