From the beginning of Splendor, I’ve written posts about “the Essentials” – you can search for those posts using the search bar. These are items and concepts that I consider absolutely indispensable for the Diva lifestyle. I still have more of those to write, but with this post, I’m going in a slightly different direction and asking you to consider “slow essentials.” These are small things that you can incorporate into your everyday life that will basically make you slow down a little bit. Oh, don’t worry – you can still get through most of the items on your “to do” list, but with a little effort, working through that list will be a bit more joyful.
Let’s start with five basic slow essentials, most of which I’m still working on developing into everyday habits.
- Begin your day without screens. Try drinking your morning coffee (for me, it’s coffee; for you, it may be something else) without also reading or watching the news. Just focus – truly focus – on the coffee. The color, the aroma, the taste – give yourself time to really take it all in. (I’ll admit, this one is hard for me. At the very least, start the day without reading/watching the news. It’ll still be there. Solve a puzzle, listen to a favorite song, try a language lesson.)
- The next time you’re at your favorite thrift shop, look for vintage linens and consider buying – and using! – cotton handkerchiefs instead of crumpled paper tissues. I have a few and – while I’m still trying to teach myself this habit – I always enjoy the feel of the cloth instead of just plain old paper. They wash quite easily and they’re usually printed with flowers and ribbons and things, lending you a touch of elegance. Plus, at a thrift shop, they’re about the price of Kleenex. Side note – and a true story. My husband is a Southern gentleman, which means that he is seldom without a pocket knife and a handkerchief. During an conference presentation, the presenter became a little emotional and the Tall One stood up and offered her his (clean) handkerchief. Her response – “I’m supposed to put MY FACE in this??” – is still quoted to this day.
- At work, set a timer. Research is very clear on this – staring endlessly into a screen is bad for your eyes and your body, which is meant to move, not to sit in a nigh-stationary position for hours on end. Timers can remind you to push back from the desk, stand and stretch, maybe take a three-minute walk outside, and return refreshed. (Try these for a starting point!)
- Miley Cyrus was right – you really CAN buy yourself flowers! Pick them up as regularly as you pick up groceries. When you get them home, unwrap them, trim the ends on a sharp angle, and spend a few minutes arranging them to suit you.
- OK – this is probably the strange one. Buy a fountain pen. Now, hear me out – and read this link. No, they don’t have to be expensive. Yes, you can get all sorts of fun-colored inks. And no, they’re not messy – trust me here, I’m a lefty and am used to smearing ink. Modern fountain pens can use ink that dries quite quickly and it’s actually fun to play with your own handwriting. Here’s a beginner’s guide that just might get you hooked!
Slow down, Divas. Live with gusto and savoir faire!