Rurality has finally become a reality and it’s a dream lifestyle indeed. Or it would be if you could just turn off your active city mindset. But when you’ve spent most of your life running, mentally and physically, it can take a while to consciously slow down and relax – without feeling guilty or foolish for doing so! The technology we now have at our fingertips, everywhere we go, makes decelerating even harder. So, here are some tricks to try…
If you’ve yet to buy a property, ensure you check nearby noise potential beforehand. Avoid buying close to shopping strips, schools, highways and flight paths. Walk around your potential new neighbourhood at different times to get a good sense of sound issues, including boisterous neighbours. If your current home is in a hullabaloo ‘hood, consider investing in double-glazed windows and ensure existing windows are well sealed. Lay down rugs on timber floors, hang up heavy curtains and tapestries, and install solid wooden doors. Once you’ve ticked off these points, the real unwinding phase can begin.
Take the time to turn off
Yes, you guessed it, serenity starts with shutting down all the physical noise around you. Switch off the television, turn off all music except for classical or natural soundscapes such as waves, waterfalls or birdsong, and get outside to your garden or an outdoor area. Breathe deeply and slowly and take the time to observe the sights, sounds and scents of greenery, birds and similar. Doing this for even a few minutes every day will help your mind and body.
Better yet, head beyond your gate and go for a walk, ride (bikes or horses), or run. Any other outdoor activity you enjoy is fine too but whatever you choose, aim to do it at least several times a week, if not every day. Practice deep breathing and relaxing while you exercise and take the time to stop for a while at favourite peace points such as riverside parks.
Since we’re talking about the outdoors, here are some other options you can try in your own homegrown green setting. Natural sounds elevate moods and decrease stress so why not install a water feature or hang up some timber, bamboo or pottery wind chimes? Leafy trees and hedges, including camellias or conifers, are wonderful natural sound barriers and buffers. While you’re savouring your garden surrounds, eat and drink mindfully, taking the time to appreciate every sip and swallow. Whether it’s a cup of coffee or big dinner, remind yourself to sit down and slow down instead of rushing through the moment.
It’s ironic that technology has made our lives so much quicker and easier while simultaneously, making it busier than ever and absorbing our concentration every moment of every day! So, unsurprisingly, turning off your computer, mobile phone, tablet and more is crucial to enjoying a lifestyle slow down. This will be horrifying for many people but you’ll never find true peace and quiet while bent over your laptop. Turn off that technology – the world won’t collapse if you do! At the very least, switch it to silent mode and only check it every few hours and please, turn it off altogether when you’re asleep.
Another good idea is to establish a technology-free night every week – including the television – with your family. Talk to them one-on-one instead or alternatively, play board games or read a book. Whichever way you choose to dance the shut up and slow down journey, you’ll definitely feel life on a better plane than ever before. Enjoy!