The Slow Life
Anu, a 35 year old HR professional and mother of two is the perfect mother. She runs a home, manages a career and is basically a super woman who can do everything. But wait. Why is her blood pressure alarming high? Well the metro superwoman syndrome of wanting to be a perfect mother, wife and career woman had her hassled at all time and continually anxious about doing everything perfectly. Chronic rushing through a never ending to-do list built anxiety and heightened her stress levels. And soon Anu really had to slow down to regain her health that she was fast losing. Sounds all too similar? Well, yes, this is a commonplace occurrence in our lives as we are often running to do more and pack a lot into a day. While it may seem hunky dory on the surface it is time that you slow down and take a chill pill. Slow fashion, slow travel, slow foods are traditional, ancient, simple ideas that have always been implemented in every country and continent.
Take it Slow
Here are some easy ways to slow down and allow yourself that ‘me’ time. Practice mindfulness and take time off every two hours or every hour if possible. “Just take two minutes and focus on the breath, slow down and take deep breathing. Feel the oxygen filling up your lungs and body. You could even imagine breathing in gratitude and exhaling doubt or whatever you want for that moment. Let’s say you working on a project. You may breathe in creativity and breathe out resistance or old ways of thinking. If peace is what you want, breathe in peace and breathe out worry. It works like magic and I call it the two minute wonder! Now you definitely deserve this time for yourself. Slowing down can actually accelerate performance,” explains Kalyani Kamble Personal Excellence Coach. Practice visualisation and do this early morning. Most often we do not plan our day ahead and tend to get stuck in a rut, often procrastinating and often scrambling to make up for the lost time. Make a clear mental plan of your day and you can see yourself experiencing positive happy emotions. Likewise, it is important to enjoy your food and you need to make the effort to slow down on purpose and enjoy the food bite by bite. Well gobbling down food has done no good to anyone and you are probably over eating as your mind cannot work at the speed at which you are eating. Another key element is that you must consciously tell yourself that you must not run your life by clock. “Tune into your body’s natural clock called the circadian rhythm and know when you are at your active best and schedule the tasks which require more concentration at that time. Take power breaks listen to music, a motivational video or call up an old friend, mom or anyone that makes you smile. Life your moods and do little things that make you happy and do it more, they do not require time or money,” says Kamble.
Likewise with clothes as well take it easy! Slow fashion is the practice of making and buying quality garments that are long lasting too. This is important in our times to live a sustainable life on our planet. As we are realising the urgency of the current ecological and economic situation and the role humans have played in global warming on earth in irreversible ways, we are moving back to the old slow ways of living a sustainable life where we make less, consume less, pay well and treat our planet well. “Slow fashion is nothing but sustainable practice of making a garment right from the yarn. From the way, the yarn is produced to the way the cloth is woven to the way the garment is made to the way it is sold to the consumer and the way the consumer takes care of it. All are different aspects of slow fashion. This encourages fair wages, practical production schedules, honest pricing and hopefully a lower carbon footprint. Slow fashion is also about using more of natural fibre cloth. Artificial fibre production involves usage of several chemicals which may not do any harm to our bodies, but harm the environment. Slow fashion is about investing time, love and care in every stage of the making of the cloth/garment. It’s a labour of love by the weavers, dyers, embroidery karigars, designers, etc,” says Deepa Mehta, Founder, Queen of Hearts. Slow fashion is about how the buyer takes care of the product. By understanding the slow fashion products look better and better with age if well taken care of. The maker and the consumer of slow fashion are both aware and sensitive to the impact of ‘fast fashion’. They are both aware of the craft, the process and the eventual price and longevity of the slow fashion they invest in.
How often have you had a holiday that felt more tiring than otherwise? Well, packed itineraries and the urge to see it all may rob the essential purpose of a break where you relax and rejuvenate. Traditionally, many people have travelled India in package tours covering a lot of ground, which is fine for adults but not so great for kids. Nowadays, the chance to slow things down when you travel could be exactly what you and your family need. “This way you have the benefit of beautiful and unusual surroundings, with all the new experiences that implies, with none of the hassle of being on the move. A holiday should relax, refresh and regenerate you, not frazzle you out. Stress is the number one general health problem, and a holiday should allow you to detox, shed the trivial concerns and worries that keep the mind pre-occupied, slow down and see what is around you. Not second-hand electronic reality via a television or some other screen, but real time reality right there in front of you, with the balm of nature’s beauty taking the strain out of those tired brains and bodies,” says Altaf Chapri, Co-Founder / Managing Director ABChapri Retreats.
Likewise, today food is gaining center stage and people want to know the story associated with a produce. It focuses on cuisine that stays true to the spirit of the land and needs to be preserved. This is where the concept of Slow Food comes in. Incidentally, Slow Food is an organization that started in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. The Slow Food Movement started with the intention of raising awareness about endangered local foods and traditions. Slow Food is aimed at improving the overall quality of food that is grown, cooked and served in the restaurants and hotels of the country. The aim is to be able to revive the interest of consumers and chefs, in the abundant biodiversity of Indian agricultural produce, wild natural plants, indigenous grains and foods, traditional knowledge and cooking techniques. Chef Rajdeep Kapoor – President Slow Food Chefs Alliance and Executive Chef ITC Hotels says, “the Slow Food Chefs Alliance in India is a movement that is aimed at improving the overall quality of food that is grown, cooked and served in the restaurants and hotels of the country. The aim is to be able to revive the interest of consumers and chefs, in the abundant biodiversity of Indian agricultural produce, wild natural plants, indigenous grains and foods, traditional knowledge and cooking techniques.”
Our grandparents ambled, our parents strolled, we scurry around like wired up ants. Slow thinking often comes up with better decisions and attention is far more powerful when it is focussed than when it is scattered. Remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “there is more to life than increasing its speed.”
This story appeared as the lead in Deccan Herald’s Living issue dated 24th Feb 2018 here.
All images courtesy ABChapri Retreats