Everyday slow living for the “normal person” with Ellen Ronalds Keene

Everyday slow living for "normal people" with Ellen Ronalds Keene - Episode 48 of The Slow Home Podcast One of the most common requests I’ve had for the podcast (apart from more singing from Ben) is to talk to more “normal” people. That is, people who don’t work online, haven’t written a book or aren’t teaching others how to slow down and simplify. And I totally get it. For the vast majority of people who listen to the podcast, those who are balancing work, family, friends, health, home and external commitments, the added tasks of slowing down and simplifying can seem incredibly overwhelming. While listening to people who have already worked through some of the process is helpful – we get to benefit from their experiences and insights – it can also feel a little disconnected. A little like, “Well, that’s great, but it doesn’t actually apply to me.” I mentioned this a while ago on the pogpast and received an email from the utterly delightful Ellen, who volunteered to come on the show and talk to me about her ongoing work to simplify and slow down. Ellen is a high school teacher who has battled a variety of health issues over the past few years, and when she shared some of her story with me I knew I had to share it with you too. In this episode we talk about her decision to slow down and the impact it had on her work, her colleagues, her family, her health and her home. We look at the questions she faced and the challenges she has already worked through, as well as the simplifying projects she is currently in the middle of. It was really wonderful for me to talk to someone who is right in the thick of working out what slow living is for them, and I know that Ellen’s experience and insights (and this is one incredibly insightful lady – I found myself making notes of some of the killer tips and advice she shared!) will be super valuable to you – wherever you are on the slow living road. Be sure to give Ellen some love in the comments and over on her blog too, as it was a really brave choice to come on and share her story with us. Thanks Ellen!

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9 Responses to Everyday slow living for the “normal person” with Ellen Ronalds Keene

  1. Just listened and wanted to say that this was a fabulous episode. Ellen had lots of good insights, and it was really nice to hear from someone who doesn’t make their living by way of minimalism/slow living.I was particularly touched by the last little part about just doing something for yourself because you’re a deserving human… Thanks to you both.

  2. Thanks Brooke and Ellen, I loved this ep. I just want to add, I absolutely see where the school of thought is on the slowly slowly approach, its been different for me though. I always felt uncomfortable in my home and just generally frazzled and as soon as I came across the idea of decluttering slowing simplifying and even minimalism, it was like a lightning bolt and I just couldn’t live another day the same. I also hate how long it takes so I couldn’t imagine if I left it for years. Amen to the donate, the money spent initially was never meant to be recovered so release the weight asap. Also I found the ’emotional’ side for me was piling it all up and making several trips to lifeline. ‘How could I have let this happen. Money I needed I flittered away and now its swallowing me?!’ I think I really needed that wake up.
    With the work hour reduction, I HATE that my husband works 60/70 hour weeks and that is normal (self employed trades). He has seen collegues have to reduce their hours (to 30 hours) due to health (usually older blokes who would’ve already been retired 20 years ago) and are ridiculed and ribbed about it. He has often expressed desire to work less hours but we hust do not see that as an option especially if you want to be taken ‘seriously and a hard worker’ I wish we could change this as a society.

  3. Fabulous conversation in an everyday-inspiring kind-of-way… thanks Ellen for putting yourself up for this and Brooke for gently guiding such an insightful conversation x

  4. I really really enjoyed this episode! I have always liked the interviews with people in the minimalism/slow living world but didn’t realise until I listened to this podcast with Ellen how much I would enjoy listening to the story of someone ‘more like me’. Would like to me hear more too :)

  5. Neat to hear insight from someone whose experiences in random situations parallel my own.
    As a mom, my struggle with the guilt became obvious. As if it were a cafeteria queue and the lunch lady gave me an extra helping of guilt. My plate was so full of guilt, over everything; things that others wouldn’t take ownership of, suddenly it somehow was linked to me. And the guilt then fed into obsessive perfection. Since we’re not perfect, the guilt would gnaw at me. After repeatedly falling apart emotionally and trying to “be better”, I finally sought out the root of the problem. Awareness is the only way for me to keep from sliding into those feelings.
    I do think it’s common for obligers to struggle with guilt, but we should be so careful that we don’t categorize our tendencies to avoid working on our natures. It’s helpful to see where we struggle, but let’s not let that be our identity; rather, a source for ways to improve.
    As always, wonderful pogpast.

  6. I found this episode super-refreshing. Sometimes it just becomes intimidating hearing from people like Gretchen Rubin (even though I loved her habit-book) – people who are successful writers or run their own business. Ellen was a normo! Just like me! I really enjoyed her story and her insight. It continues to be interesting that big direction changes are triggered by Big Difficult Issues – such as health-scares etc. Mine have occurred just like that as well.
    My suggestions for further episodes are; Jackie French, Red Gypsy Lauren, the Bumfuzzle family… – but I’d like there to be more “Ellens” – and maybe people in different living situations – sailors, caravanners, couch-surfers… but of course, this brings in the question of whether someone is living ‘slow’ just because they are living outside the mainstream…

  7. Thank you so much for interviewing a teacher! I’m a high school math teacher and I feel like “slow living” is possible over summer, but during the year it’s so challenging. I appreciated how she mentioned teacher burnout too. It’s so sad, but it’s the reality.

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