Autumn is probably my favourite time of year.
I love consuming every variation of pumpkin – pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ravioli. Sign. Me. Up.
While there are so many cozy and wonderful aspects to autumn, it can also be an incredibly stressful time. If you have school aged children, they’re getting back to school (whether in person or virtually). There are also plenty of holidays during this time of year that usually require a lot of preparation and — let’s be honest — a little recovery too. All that scheduling, organizing and planning can take its toll. So it’s more important than ever to introduce slow living into your life to maintain some semblance of balance.
When you take a step back and prioritize your sanity over busyness, you gain so much. Slow living asks us all to slow our pace and savour the moment. If that sounds appealing to you, ask yourself how you can carve out some calm time outside throughout your day.
If your mornings usually consist of hitting the snooze button and racing around to get yourself, and everyone else for that matter, ready for the day ahead, practicing slow living in the early hours might bring a lot of peace to your day. That might mean preparing a little more at night and going to bed earlier. Starting your day with calm will help you bring that energy into the rest of your day.
So set your alarm 15 or 20 minutes before everyone else wakes up in your home, grab a cup of coffee and sit out on your front porch. You can sip your coffee and listen to the birds singing, meditate, write your to do list for the day, read a book or do whatever is meaningful for you.
It’s incredibly easy to lose track of time and work straight through lunch without even being aware of it! But stepping away from your desk can only be beneficial for you. Why not set an alarm to make sure you get some food in your belly and head outside for a walk during your lunch hour? It doesn’t have to be a power hour – this is not fast living, after all – but just a quick 10 minute walk in the great outdoors will do you a world of good. Breathe in some fresh air, listen to the leaves crunching underfoot and disconnect from work.
Weekday evenings can sometimes be even more rushed than mornings with hockey practice and homework and all of the tasks that need taking care of on a day to day basis. You might not be able to create a calm environment every evening, but on the days that you can, relish it.
Grab your gardening gloves and prepare your garden for the winter. You don’t (and quite frankly shouldn’t) try to get it all done in a single day. The point is to take a little time here and there to work on it. Maybe one day you can clean fallen leaves out of your pond or compost raked leaves. On another day you could cover your rain barrel or water trees before the first frost. Approach your tasks with patience and resist the urge to complete all the backyard tasks on your to do list. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
While you’re outside, take that time to really notice what’s around you. When was the last time you stopped to notice which birds were visiting your garden? Fill your bird feeder with nutritious seed and make sure the bird bath is clean and full of fresh water. Next take a few minutes to see what kinds of birds visit. It’s possible your garden will be an important spot for migratory birds to rest and refuel for their long journey south! And when you’re embracing a slow living lifestyle, you’ll have the joy of seeing them come and go.
If you have school aged kids, you can help them enjoy the benefits of slow living too. Ask them to join you outside and ask them to help you decorate your home for the autumn season by collecting pinecones or fallen leaves! You can make it a family affair by bringing out heaping bowls of chili and eating your dinner al fresco. Make sure you instill a no phone rule for these evenings!
However you slow down and enjoy the season outside, I hope it brings you some comfort in these brisk autumn days.