What You May Not Know About Slow and Mindful Living

Fresh Fruit on the Table - Cactus Plant - The Calm Collective - Mindfulness

Recently I was interviewed over on the Balancing Your Hustle podcast.  One of the questions Kayleigh and Helen asked me was:

“what’s the difference between slow and mindful living?” 

While I answered the question in specific detail, at least what they both mean to me personally, it got me thinking about how there’s often a major disconnect. Hear me out.

Slow living can break down into the following:

  • the actual pace in which you live your life (literally stopping to smell the roses)
  • the routines you make for yourself (not checking your phone first thing)
  • your carbon foot-print (biking instead of driving)
  • your commitments (are you a people pleaser?)
  • your values and your morals (living within your alignment)

Mindful living can break down into the following:

  • where you shop and what companies you support (ethical and sustainable companies)
  • how you respond to situations (taking a breath before lashing out)
  • addressing habits that need changing (over-eating or over-spending)
  • the relationships you have in your life (paying attention to toxic behaviors)
  • your commitments (are you a people pleaser?)
  • your values and your morals (living within your alignment)

See how they blend together? Slow and mindful living go hand in hand — you can’t really have one without the other. If you’re being mindful about the relationships you have in your life but you can’t take a second to slow down and hear your own inner thoughts about what your boundaries look like or what your intuition needs from you in order to have strong, thriving relationships — you’re going to hit a speed bump at some point. It may be that you have a confrontation that turns you off, you get flaked on for the tenth time, or maybe it’s simply that the energy of this person keeps you feeling low after every hang out. 

You also can’t live slowly without living mindfully. If you’re moving slow throughout your mornings because that feels good to you, this means you’re being mindful of what your body needs before you start your day. 

A personal example comes to mind that I want to share. So many of you know that I started doing capsule wardrobes this past fall (Consensus: I love it. My summer one is coming soon!) But in full transparency, I always felt a little icky every single time I’d put one together. Why? I’d be going through my closet selecting the items that I love, but I’d have this looming thought in the back of my head around the labor that went into this item, and as cheesy as it sounds — being able to tell that the garment wasn’t crafted with love or intention.

So here I am, being mindful about how many items I’m choosing to dress within each season as a way to not let my closet be filled with clutter, and to be able to dress myself with total ease and enjoyment, only to be supporting fast fashion and having negative thoughts surrounding it. There was a gap. So I’ve slowly (no pun intended) been learning about ethical and sustainable fashion, finding companies that I really admire and value, and intentionally trading out my fast fashion pieces for better quality and well intended items. I’m either selling what I own now on sites like Poshmark or eBay, or I’m donating them to charity and second hand shops. Keep in mind, my goal isn’t to have a closet that’s 100% sustainable (that would be awesome), but I just don’t see that happening. For instance, I have a couple of pieces from Zara that I truly love. I wear Nike’s at least 3 times a week. I break sunglasses like it’s my job so places like Urban Outfitters and Asos is a good idea for me.

Perfection isn’t the point. Mindfulness is. 

Mindfulness - What You Might Not Know - The Calm Collective

Mindful living is all about taking note of what’s working and what isn’t. 

  • Why am I eating this even though I’m full?
  • Why did I commit to those plans even though I’m exhausted?
  • Why did I purchase that item even though I have one at home just like it?
  • Why am I drinking this wine when I don’t really want it?

It’s about asking yourself the questions that most of us overlook. It’s not easy — it takes focus and repetition and time to break our coasting patterns, but the result when you get to the root of WHY you’re doing ‘x’ can be (and in my experience – always has been) life altering.  

Here are some personal examples of questions I’ve asked myself recently:

1. Last week I bought a huge thing of animal crackers from Sam’s Club (this sounds weird, I know, but I love them — they’re so nostalgic for me!) and yesterday I found myself eating handful after handful. I felt so gross, and so I stopped and said, “why am I eating at this capacity?!”

The answer: Because there are SO many of them. They’re just sitting here in my pantry. 

The lesson: I shouldn’t buy a vice in bulk. It’s better purchased in lesser quantity (and then I went for a long walk) ;)

2. I was at a friend’s last week and wasn’t feeling all that great. My stomach hurt, my nervous system was shot — and it was all due to hormones. Joy. When my friend asked me to stay longer and said that she’d just drop me off when I was ready to go, I had to ask myself the question of: what’s the right thing to do here?

The answer: I don’t feel good enough to be around other people. 

The lesson: Being honest with my friend and telling her that I’m not in a good space and that I’d be better company another day not only prevented my friend from taking on my foul mood, but it gave me the space and freedom to take care of myself. 

3. I’ve been working on a project recently that I’m really, really excited about — but there is a lot of fear surrounding it, too. I found myself halting production and numbed myself from even knowing how to proceed. While sitting on the couch thinking through the process I thought to myself, “why are you projecting failure on something that hasn’t even been born yet?” 

The answer: The excitement and vision I have behind this project is really important to me. 

The lesson: That will shine through, ten fold. The only emotion that should be surrounding this project is the joy it brings me to create it.  You know how they say that people can smell fear? Well, they can also smell passion and authenticity. 

When we implement this practice into our day to day lives, we tell our minds and our bodies to slow down alongside us and meet us where we’re at. We take pause when something isn’t feeling right, we ask ourselves why, we HEAR the answer, and then we learn from it.  When we’re so busy running from point A to point B or ignoring all the signs and coasting through our lives on auto-pilot, we skip over the lesson and instead hit ourselves against a brick wall time and time again, wondering why this keeps on happening. 

If you want to change your life, if you want to start living more mindfully, if you want to slow on down, you’ve got to ask yourself the questions and take pause to hear the answer. 

The rest will show itself to you in neon lights. x

PS: Would you please take just 60 seconds and fill out this reader survey I created? I’m extremely dedicated to making this a space that caters to you in the best way possible – so any and all feedback is much appreciated! 

Mindful Memos To Do List by The Calm Collective


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