That time of the year just after Christmas but before the New Year typically makes us feel like we are in limbo. People commonly observe that they don't know what day it is, that they all blur into one another. It's true, but far from being discombobulating, this can be really freeing. We are freed from obligations and appointments. We can be in control of our time. And we can live slowly and mindfully.
The gift of this is that it can help us start a habit of mindfulness and slower living that we can continue throughout the year. And being mindful, and living more slowly, is key to being environmentally conscious.
We know that life is busy and fast — there are so many things vying for our attention, so many options, so many conveniences, that it takes effort to commit to a slower life, to the harder options, to the less convenient. But this is what we must do. The problem is that when life is barrelling along, it's much harder to put on the brakes. But this quiet time of year is the perfect opportunity to embrace life in the slow lane.
So what does it mean to live slowly? It doesn't actually mean doing things slowly, it really means doing things more intentionally and not overloading your plate. The outcomes are:
We produce less
We consume less
We don't just look for the quick fix
And we create less waste.
We also make repairs, we shop locally and seasonally, we make food from scratch, we create, we connect more with nature. And these actions are 100 per cent better for the environment than the default buy-now, think-later approach to living.
I think we crave this slower pace and you can see it in the fact that there has been a shift, especially throughout lockdowns, to 'slower' pastimes — the revival of vinyl records, film photography, knitting, the list goes on and on.
The benefits to slowing down go beyond the environment. It is better for our emotional wellbeing, better for creativity, better for productivity, better for personal connections. There is really no downside to slow, intentional living.
The reason why people find this time of year disorienting is because we aren't used to our lives being unstructured. We had our lockdown, but, while we were at home a lot, most of us still had a lot of structure and obligations. But instead of being disoriented, we should embrace it as the time to recalibrate, to focus on our immediate environment and to reassess.
For everyone, 2022 needs to be a year of less, and this is the time to start.
Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.