HOW I MAKE IT WORK
IT TOOK BEING DIAGNOSED WITH SEVERE POSTNATAL DEPRESSION FOR THIS BUSY MUM AND AUTHOR TO TAKE STOCK OF WHAT TRULY MATTERED AND START A JOURNEY TO LIVING A SLOWER, MORE FULFILLED LIFE
Author Brooke Mcalary talks life in the slow lane.
Afew years ago, I was definitely not living anything resembling a slow life. I was pregnant with our second child, my husband was working long hours, we were renovating, and I was running a jewellery business. Life was hectic and unenjoyable.
After our son was born I was diagnosed with severe postnatal depression. I began seeing a psychiatrist, who asked me if I had ever considered slowing down or simplifying. At first I was really offended – I thought she meant I was unable to cope with a busy, modern life. But the idea stuck in my head, and I discovered this whole movement of minimalism, mindfulness and slow living.
My lifestyle now is all about paying attention; it’s about understanding what is important. I say to people who want to live a slow life that they must first figure out why they want to do it, what they stand to gain and what they want their lives to look like. Once you know that, it’s much simpler to make those changes.
My family has embraced slow living. My husband is now self-employed, which has allowed us more time together as a family. I don’t talk to the kids about the fact we live this way – it is just something they’ve grown up with.
Decluttering the house was one of the first things I did, and it has been liberating. There’s genuinely not a single thing we’ve gotten rid of that we miss. The kids are in charge of clearing out their toys. Every school holidays they get rid of anything they don’t play with or use, and they are (usually) happy to give it to someone else.
It was only after I started to declutter that I realised all this excess – the busyness, the debt – made me feel heavy and anxious. I felt physically lighter as we let go of thousands of items. Our double garage, once filled with boxes of stuff we never used, was empty. So we knocked it down. Now there’s a vegie garden there that our children play in.
Of course, letting go is much easier when you are able to afford it. We live in a fast-paced, expensive society where there are many bills to pay. But everyone is able to find tiny pockets of time to do something as simple as taking 10 deep breaths. It may sound insignificant, but it has a big impact on how we move through our day. And it doesn’t cost anything at all.