Slow & Simple Ideas - February
Hello February. What will you bring us this month? Well I'd like to think we might have some calmer days with less crazy talk, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen this month or sadly anytime soon. Discussing world events with my friend last week and my lack of upbeat optimism, she described these days as ones of grief. And I realised that's exactly what it is, I'm grieving for a world and a life that doesn't really exist anymore as I know it. I'm deeply saddened and troubled by this and I'm fighting back in whatever way I find I can, signing petitions, sharing information and speaking out where necessary. But I'm also retreating to my home to feel nurtured and cocooned from all the insanity and more than ever the need to simplify and enjoy the little things is my priority. So here are six ways to help simplify and go slow this February.
1/ Courtney Carver's post on being a Gentle Warrior is full of great advice for dealing with the craziness out there in the world right now. Every morning I've been getting up and turning the news on, checking social media and basically setting myself up for a day of stress and anxiety. Her advice on how to 'reclaim your morning' is top of my list for this month.
2/ Getting rid of a social media account - I'm looking for a quieter life and the less distraction and noise I have around me the better. So I've decided to get rid of Twitter and my account has been deleted. Truthfully I don't get a lot out of it and I don't really have an audience over there. I kept it going because often it was a place that made me laugh, kept me up to date about world events and also showed me events or places to go to that I might not have known about otherwise. Sadly it's become a place of SHOUTING IN CAPITAL LETTERS with so much hatred spewed towards others that it's somewhere I feel completely uncomfortable. If you need convincing go check out the stuff that JK Rowling deals with on a daily basis with people talking of burning her books and being a benefits scrounger, it's truly unbelievable what people say to her (although her responses are so awesome and this makes me love her even more). So see you later Twitter. If you do follow me over there then sorry! If you are also tired from social media then take a break from one of the accounts and see if you miss it. You'll find you accomplish so much more when it's gone. Facebook you may be next.
3/ Watch The Minimalists documentary on Netflix. Funny, insightful and at times very moving, this is a great guide to how buying stuff does not bring you happiness. They don't preach or tell you to get rid of everything you own but look at how to focus on what's really important in life. Their podcast is brilliant too and always inspiring.
4/ With Spring on the way it's time to think about cleaning. As soon as the sun shines through my window I realise I have dust bunnies everywhere. Seriously, where does it all come from? Yuk. Homesong blog (which is so beautiful I could weep) always has great tips for cleaning with natural products and ways to simplify your home. I personally love the 30 Minute Toss Challenge. Set a timer for 30 minutes every day for one whole week to declutter and toss things you no longer need. I've got a carrier bag on a peg for the charity shop and another bag for stuff to go to the rubbish tip. It's amazing what you can get rid of in 30 minutes (and I've finally dealt with the used AA batteries that seem to be in every drawer and cupboard in my house and taken them to the battery recycling point at my local supermarket).
5/ Embrace the season and go on a Snowdrop walk. The National Trust have lots of ideas for snowdrop walks on their properties all over the UK and the National Garden Scheme has a snowdrop festival with 80 gardens open in February to showcase this simple yet beautiful flower. I'm looking at visiting some of the North Yorkshire ones as long as the weather plays ball. Alternatively, go for a walk in your local park or woods as there are probably a fair few of these lovelies to be spotted in there too.
6/ Support a local independent business rather than one of the big chains - Buy bread from the baker, fruit and veg from the greengrocer or market and go to your independent florist, where you will find a whole range of lovely foliage and flowers. So much better than a bunch of imported tulips or daffodils from the supermarket. These hellebores above were grown in the UK, were as cheap as a bunch of flowers in the supermarket but bought in my local florist. Or why not go to a small garden nursery and buy a hellebore plant for the garden to plant and it will reward you year after year in the dark days of winter. Either way you are helping to boost your local economy and supporting independent sellers too.