Life in the time of coronavirus: A Slow Living Deep-Dive

“What we need now more than anything is more compassion and grace.”

Season 5 has thus far been a pandemic-free zone (mostly because all episodes previous to this one were recorded before the world turned topsy-turvy) but that changes today. 

After having a couple of weeks to process some of the changes in our own lives and the world at large, Ben and I spend the first half of this week’s episode chatting about where we’re at right now, and the huge shifts in pace and productivity that have happened. Ben shares the impact the crisis has had on his business while I talk a little about trying to work around home-school responsibilities, heightened anxiety and a new normal. 

There is no doubt that slow living has given us a lot of tools over the years, many of which have been helpful in the first weeks of the pandemic and lockdown, so we dig a little in to what they are and how they’ve been helping. We also discuss:

  • The impact the crisis has had on Ben’s business
  • Working from home while also trying to keep on top of home-schooling responsibilities 
  • What’s helping us the most right now
  • Why limiting inputs of news and social media is so important
  • How we’re allowing ourselves to ‘feel all the feelings’ 
  • Why single-tasking has become more important than ever

The second half of the episode resumes normal transmission with the final catch-up with a guest from Season 4. And honestly, what a way to finish! I catch-up with Elisa who shares some of the changes she’s implemented in her days, before going on to shed some light on one of her biggest ongoing challenges.

One of Elisa’s children has medically-complex needs and working out how to apply intentional living to those additional requirements is something she and I discuss in-depth. Through all of this Elisa reminded me of the power of resilience, and the strength in being able to encompass the messiness of life and the warrior of motherhood – and everything in between.  

Enjoy!

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Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening.

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Self-Care: A Slow Living Deep-Dive

“The roots of self-care was born in underserved communities that recognised that no-one else was going to care for them.”

Today’s episode is another one we recorded PP (pre-pandemic – more on that below), but just like last week’s chat about technology, it’s a pretty timely conversation. Ben and I dive deep in to self-care, a movement that’s been commodified and stripped of its true intention over recent years, but that is going to prove incredibly powerful for all of us over the coming months of uncertainty and challenge.

Slow living and self-care have kind of become synonymous in the mainstream, featuring a lot on Instagram and in books and blogs and magazines. There is undoubtedly a lot of crossover between the two, but there is also a lot of consumerism and privilege tied up in the modern-day vision of self-care. We kick today’s show off with my thoughts on that, as well as a brief look at the roots of the self-care movement and why it has very little to do with face masks.

Ben and I then talk about what we each think self-care is, how it applies in our lives and why it’s so important. We also talk about:

  • The origins of self-care as a movement and how society defines self-care now
  • What it means to advocate for yourself
  • How we each manage self-care
  • Where the words ‘want’ versus ‘need’ fit into self-care
  • How important exercise is within our own self-care
  • The enemies of self-care
  • What self-care looks like for us in practical terms

The second half of the episode features our Season 4 friend of the show, Amy, and we follow up on her waste-reduction efforts in beautiful rural Maine. Amy shares how she’s taken on board a lot of the changes and experiments we discussed in our last chat, including some composting ideas (and what she learnt attending a composting conference!), and the ways she’s finding balance between working from home and spending time with her family. 

I really hope you enjoy this episode, as I think there’s a lot in it that will be helpful in our current challenges.

Also just wanted to let you know that following lots of listener requests, the final couple of episodes of Season 5 will feature more discussion about the Coronavirus pandemic as well as a lot of practical talk about home schooling, working from home and managing anxiety amidst massive disruptions to normal life. We’re also working on a few other projects, as well as Season 6, which I hope will bring some more light and practical advice to your ears over the coming weeks and months.

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening.

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Technology: A Slow Living Deep-Dive

If only all screens had a view like this…

“Look beyond books, podcasts and movies and find time to focus on what slow living means for you.”

Carl Honore

Is slow living anti-tech? Is it possible to have an intentional relationship with tech, when virtually all of our interactions use some form of it? And what about kids? How can we show them what mindful tech looks like if we are still struggling to find out for ourselves?

In today’s episode Ben and I dig in to one of the most requested topics for this season of the podcast – our relationship with technology. Or more specifically, in a phrased coined by Ben (and repeated at least ten times this episode) what is the impact of connect-tech on our well-being and slow living at large?

We’ve spoken before about our tech strategies and boundaries but as our work has shifted and the kids have grown, our approach has changed over the past couple of years and I think it’s important to talk through the good, the challenging and the uncharted waters so that we can all realise no-one has all the answers and no-one is walking around feeling like they’ve got it all sorted. In this episode we talk about: 

  • The elephant in the room  – is slow living anti-tech?
  • How we make technology work in a way that feels slow
  • What we actually mean when we talk about tech
  • The mindset we adopt when managing our relationship to connect-tech
  • Tools we use to develop and maintain tech boundaries for ourselves while working
  • Other ways we manage tech use with the kids and ourselves when not working
  • How important it is to be a role model when it comes tech (and how challenging that can be)
  • Whether we feel good about our relationship to tech or if there are things we’re still working on (hint: yes, there are many things we’re still working on).

I then have a wonderful chat with Sara from Season 4 who shares not only some of the shifts she’s made since we last spoke, but also some of the feedback she received from family and friends in her community as a result of our conversation back in 2019. We talk about lifelong learning, finding awe and the ways Sara is supporting her community through her slow living efforts (not always in the ways you might imagine).

Sarah also shares some of the discoveries she made on a recent trip to Italy (pre-Covid-19 obviously) where she walked her way through Umbria, away from social commitments and technology. We talk about awe and tilting and prioritising downtime, and how to let go of the guilt that some of these things often bring out in us, being so counter to the norm of busy-ness and rushing.

I hope you enjoy the episode and walk away with some practical ideas on how to change your relationship with tech, or how to reframe what slow living means to you.

Enjoy!

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening.

Love Slow? Support the show!

Community: A Slow Living Deep-Dive

Ah, Bangor ME. How I love thee.

“Values help unravel problems and tricky situations. You look at things differently when you look at them through the lens of your values.”

In this week’s episode we talk about community – that sense of rightness or home or belonging that strikes when we truly feel seen in a place.

In part this episode was prompted by our own experience of searching for and finding community, and in part due to the many questions we’ve received about how and why we settled in our new community after travelling for 18 months.

As we travelled through Canada and the US in 2018, we found ourselves creating a list of traits we’d like to have in the place we eventually settled. We loved the access to nature and wild places offered by some of the smaller towns we visited in the Kootenays. We loved the energy and like-minded people we found in the foothills of the Rockies. We appreciated the local and sustainable focus of cities like Bend, Oregon and Austin, Texas. And above all, we simply appreciated the sense of community these places possessed. So we made a list, a collage if you will, of traits we valued and wanted in our own community when we settled back into our ‘normal’ lives in Australia, never really knowing if we’d find a place that fit with that list.

It’s funny to see now that we kind of did, but the community we’ve settled in looks nothing like we expected it to – which is proof that while we can be intentional in our choices we also need to be flexible in our expectations. To focus more on how we feel rather than how it looks.

We also discuss:

  • How we’ve previously struggled with the idea of community, and what it actually means to us now
  • How our idea of community has changed over time
  • Whether slow living has anything to do with community and if it’s possible to create a slow living community
  • How we were forced to rethink old beliefs, patterns and boundaries as our experience and ideas of community has changed
  • What the ultimate slow living community might look like
  • How you can find community in your work
  • Whether it’s possible to find one community the delivers on all your needs

I then have a wonderful follow-up chat with Lauren from Season 4 to see how she went with her values exercise and whether she was able to experiment with a slow living media ‘fast’.

Lauren shares how her values exercise played out and how the values she was able to zero in on have helped her make big changes already (new job, new city) as well as sharing some of the really practical shifts she’s made over the past few months (gratitude journalling and weekly review). No doubt, Lauren took her homework seriously and shares some insights that will be helpful to not only those in their twenties, but people at all stages of their lives who are looking to live more intentionally.

Enjoy!

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening.

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Reducing Waste: A Slow Living Deep-Dive

“It’s not until you bring people together that change actually happens.”

In what feels like a natural progression from last episode’s theme of Stuff, this week Ben and I dig in to the efforts we’re making to reduce our waste. From food, to clothes, to cleaning, we discuss where we started our waste reduction journey and where we find ourselves now.

As we mentioned in last week’s episode on stuff, our philosophy has shifted somewhat away from our initial efforts to declutter and simplify, towards living more sustainably. We’ve been asked about it a lot so thought this week would be a good opportunity to dig in to what that actually looks like, in what we hope is a really practical way.

None of this is perfect, and as we discuss today, there is always going to be more we can do, but it’s really important to understand that we live within a system that is not necessarily set up for our success. So not only are we making changes against a lifetime of convenience, we’re also swimming upstream, against the food and packaging industries, governments and massive supermarket chains which all benefit from the current system remaining in place.

We talk a lot about food waste, given the statistic from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation which states that, “If global food waste was a country it would be the 3rd largest global greenhouse emitter,” but there are also lots of other kinds of waste to turn our attention to.

In today’s episode Ben and I dig in to the changes we’ve made, those we’re trying to make now, and the areas we feel overwhelmed by. We also discuss:

  • Where our shift from simple living and decluttering to reducing waste and being more sustainable came from
  • How we first started to reduce waste
  • Whether we believe we do ‘enough’
  • Where we’ve found new opportunities to reduce waste and what those opportunities look like
  • How we capture our plastic waste
  • Other than food, what other kinds of waste we’ve been trying to reduce, and how we’re going about it 

I then speak with Georgi from Season 4, who shares the practical and inspiring things she’s done since we last spoke. Not only has Georgi engaged with the communities she’s part of, but has also begun a conversation with her council to explore what changes they can begin to make in her local area.

Excitingly, Georgi also shares the project she’s working on – a handbook for action and optimism, written for young people – which she’s filling with practical and tangible (and accessible!) tips. I’m genuinely blown away by the progress she’s made over the past few months and walked away from our chat energised to keep making connections, keep working, keep creating.

There’s a lot of inspiration – both practical and heart-centred – in today’s episode, and Georgi shows us how much progress can be made when individuals step up and connect with their local communities. 

Enjoy! 

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening.

Love Slow? Support the show!