Category Archives: Mindfulness

Slow down and find contentment in the moment, just as it is. Learn more about meditation, getting out in to nature, paying attention and mindful movement.

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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Busy and slow – can they co-exist?

Can you live slow if you’re someone who enjoys being busy? What if you’re a Type A, go-getter? Or someone who prides themselves on setting goals and kicking them every single time?

In today’s episode (the second-last of the season!) I chat with Elisa, who has spent the past year shedding many layers and self-beliefs, but now finds herself stuck on how to distil the myriad ideas she’s absorbed in to real, lasting change – without reverting to living fast.

It’s a curious tension, this desire to slow down while also feeling the need speed up in order to do so, and Elisa isn’t alone in wanting it. She and I talk a lot about my belief that slow and fast don’t need to be mutually exclusive, as well as the question of whether ‘slow’ is even the right word to move forward with.

Elisa shares the catalyst for making changes in her life before we dig in to the big questions of values and personal identity. As a mum who is just emerging from the parenting very young children phase, Elisa also spends some time exploring the underlying motivations that might be driving her desire to be constantly busy.

I talk about finding contentment in the now, no matter how imperfect, before we’re joined by none other than goals coach extraordinaire, Jacki Carr. We have a very juicy discussion on how to uncover our personal values and design our legacy, and Jacki (a self-confessed go-getter and serial goal kicker) has some incredible suggestions for Elisa to find pockets of slow intention in even the busiest of days. We also talk about how Jacki has reclaimed space for herself amidst the work of parenting, working and living a values-aligned life.

We’ll be back next week with a final hostful for the year, but until then, 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!

Beth Kempton on the slow way of wabi sabi

Image via Holly Bobbins

“The wisdom we need now is buried in history.”

Beth Kempton

There are so many things I’ve loved about this season of the poggie. The guests, the hostful questions we’ve received (more on those next week), the way each episode has been infused with hope and positivity.

I’ve also loved that this season has been an exploration of slow living through a variety of different lenses, looking at what constitutes ‘slow’ from new perspectives.

Today’s episode, the second-last of the season, is no different as I chat with author and Japanologist Beth Kempton about slow living through the lens of Japanese culture. Or more specifically, through the lens of wabi sabi.

Complex to define, wabi sabi is an exploration of acceptance and contentment. An acknowledgement of the true nature of life and as such is a really powerful way of shifting our worldview.

Beth introduces me to the complex nature of wabi sabi and we discuss how the idea of perfect imperfection can impact the way we purchase and consume things, the way we connect with people and the environment around us, and how it’s a welcome respite in a world that calls us to constant comparison and competition.

We also discuss whether wabi sabi, or any personal philosophy really, has the power to change the world, as well as the beauty of creating and honouring pockets and rituals of slowness in a busy life.

We talk about our favourite experiences from our time spent in Japan and I can’t help but talk about the joyful time I’ve spent in onsens with my daughter. I know I’ve spoken about it on the podcast before, but onsening has had such a lovely impact on my life, both in terms of the ritual of bathing and being intentional throughout what is often treated as a mundane part of life, but also the acceptance of self that comes with the experience. It’s truly been one of the best discoveries of my life.

This ties in to wabi sabi in a way I hadn’t expected, because (from my very limited understanding) wabi sabi seems to offer self-compassion and grace where I’ve previously had self-loathing and discomfort. And if we’re in need of anything right now – in a world that profits off our comparing and competing – it’s probably a little more self-compassion and grace.

Enjoy!

Questions featured in this episode: 

  • What is wabi sabi?
  • Wabi sabi is the opposite to many of the things harming people and planet – mass consumption, convenience, keeping up with the Joneses etc. Do you think it has the power to change the world?
  • You write that wabi sabi helps us to seek meaning beyond materialism. How does it do that?
  • Do you think that contentment – as opposed to outright brilliant happiness – is something worth striving for?
  • What are some small rituals that we can adopt in to our lives now that help us to bend and stretch time, slowing it down and making it feel abundant?

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!

Kali Gray on body positivity, mindful eating and living counter-culturally

“Life’s too short to worry about the size of your thighs or the calories in a latte.”

Kali Gray

Is there a link between the rise in consumerism, the endless advertising messages that assault us thousands of times a day and the increase in body image issues? According to today’s guest, the answer is a resounding yes.

I’m so excited to bring you today’s episode because it brings yet another perspective to this season’s conversations on what it is to live a slower life and the myriad ways we can apply the ideas of slow.

Today I chat with Kali Gray, a body confidence expert and a “non diet” dietician who focuses her work on helping people heal their relationship with their bodies and their food.

In this episode we discuss the the relationship between food security and body image issues, while also looking at the crossover between my work in slow living and Kali’s work in reframing our perspective on food, self-care, self-worth and the food we eat.

So much of what Kali teaches is centred on self-compassion and self-care, and how those things can help us to heal those relationships, which is where I think it most closely links with slow living. In order to learn self-compassion and self-care (particularly in a world that profits from our self-loathing) we first need to slow down and pay attention.

Pay attention to the stories we tell ourselves about our bodies and the role food has in our lives, pay attention to the way media messaging, advertising and social media are keeping us in a negative relationship with ourselves, and pay attention to how we feel when we start making changes to our thoughts, habits and actions.

Kali also turns the interview tables around on me towards the end of the episode, which sparks a conversation on how all of these changes take time, and no matter how well-versed we are in consumerism, health, wellness, body image and food, there’s always going to be part of us that requires a little extra love and empathy.

Questions featured in this episode:

  1. Why do you think so many of us have a broken relationship with food and our bodies?
  2. Capitalism and consumerism are both linked to our dissatisfaction with ourselves and our bodies. How do you encourage people to recognise that and make changes so that we get to decide what is good and right for us individually?
  3. It’s counter-cultural to teach and encourage people to love themselves and accept themselves as they are, particularly in the face of a society that teaches us to find fault in our bodies from a very young age. Is that something that comes naturally to you?
  4. We both encourage people to ask the question WHY? Why do we do what we do? Why do we buy what we buy? Why do we eat what we eat? Do you find that once we begin to uncover that why, it becomes simpler to start making changes?
  5. As a process, this asking why and digging deep is uncomfortable. How do you encourage people to accept that this is outside their comfort zone and move through regardless?
  6. You highlight mindful eating as a way to begin to heal our relationship with food, but what actually is it to eat more mindfully?
  7. How can we begin to eat more mindfully? What’s the first step?
  8. There is this beautiful undercurrent of awe in all you do, and that means you frame your work in the idea that every body, right now, as it is, is a miracle. What is the reaction from people when you ask them to pay attention to the miracle of their body? Particularly if they have grown up not knowing how to like their bodies?
  9. Young kids have no issues with accepting their bodies as they are, but as they get closer to puberty this changes, and suddenly they’re seeing all that’s wrong with them. Why do you think this happens?
  10. What can we do to help ourselves and our kids move through that?

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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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A Listener Chat with Xan Holyoak

A Listener Chat with Xan Holyoak - S2 E2 of The Slow Home Podcast

One of the (many) things I love about slow living, is that it looks different to everyone. It’s not about following a set of rules or embracing a particular way of living, it’s about figuring out what is important to us as individuals and gradually letting go of things that aren’t that.

Back in 2016 and 2017 I did a series of interviews with listeners, where I was able to dig deep in to what it looks like to live a slower, simpler life in circumstances different to my own, and they were nothing short of a delight.

I loved the opportunity to examine the real-life realities of slow living, away from what can sometimes feel like the commoditisation of the whole movement, and this past year, as we travelled and tilted heavily in to a different way of living, I realised I missed those conversation. So, when I was putting together the new season of the podcast, I knew that I wanted to make space for listener chats again.

This week I’m thrilled to welcome back the listener chat, as I sit down to talk with Xan Holyoak. Xan is a listener of the show, a writer, a single parent and a slow living and nature loving woman.

We first hit it off when Xan emailed me after last year’s Great Outdoors Slow Experiment, and immediately bonded over our shared love of wild places, journalling and digging in to the sometimes messy business of living with intention. As we exchanged emails back and forth and Xan shared more of her story, I knew I wanted to have her on the show to share her own hard-fought wisdom with all of us. So here we go!

In today’s episode we talk about the genesis of Xan’s own slow living journey, why she started writing about it on her blog, how her life changed after her husband passed away in 2015 and how she lives slowly now as a single, working parent. There’s a wonderful thread throughout the conversation of the importance of values, journalling and developing boundaries, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Questions featured in this episode:

  1. Where did your journey to slow living/simplifying start?
  2. Why did you start your blog?
  3. How did your efforts to live a slower, simpler life change when you unexpectedly lost your husband in 2015?
  4. How do you make life work now, as a single parent, working mum and someone who still values time in nature and a slower paced life?
  5. How do you use journalling as a self-care practice?

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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!