First, I saw the cover. Then, I read the title. Then I snatched the book off the library shelf and took it right home. Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary is just what the doctor ordered if you’re looking to simplify your life and cut back on stress.
I’ve read books like this before – not exactly the same, of course. They all have their own unique viewpoints – but similar. I often share my reviews when I’m done reading. These books encourage me to declutter, say no to obligations I don’t want to attend, and focus on what matters.
But here’s the thing, no matter how much I read and attempt to create a lifestyle that’s simpler, hectic days and stressful circumstances, just keep creeping back in. I find it helpful to grab a book like this every once in a while and remind myself of where I want to be and why I want to be there.
Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World is a quick and simple read with an easy-to-follow format. It encourages you to start with a “Why,” which is always helpful. Why do you want a simpler life? Why do you want these changes for you and your family? Identifying the reasoning behind something will help keep you on track and motivated.
Next, it moves into decluttering. There’s no simplifying your life without getting rid of possessions. Plus, it truly feels so good and liberating. Don’t knock it until you try it!
This book then moves into mindfulness, disconnecting, and finding your own peace. It discusses embracing imperfection and what to do if you slide back into hecticness (hi, it’s me!).
Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World Takeaways
I found the book a great refresher on why I want less of almost everything and more of only very specific things. Here are some of my favorite takeaways:
- It’s Not Magic – “There is no quick-fix magic cure to a hectic, overcomplicated life.” Just like everything else that’s worth having, a simple life actually takes a lot of time and energy to achieve and maintain. Getting to know your WHY, envisioning how you’d actually like to spend your time and making conscious decisions to make that happen are essential.
- Decluttering is Essential – When it comes to decluttering, McAlary says that less stuff provides us with physical space—room to breathe and time to relax. With fewer belongings comes less maintenance, less cleaning, less tidying, and less stress.
- De-Owning is Better than Decluttering – After you’ve worked to declutter as many nonessentials as possible, you then need to work on de-owning. It’s difficult. McAlary says, “Learning to be mindful of what we allow in and limiting it to what we truly need has been a huge part of creating and maintaining a simpler, slower home.” She also emphasizes how essential it is to pay attention because items can quickly creep back in.
- Be a Smart Consumer – “Your eyeballs are being sold to the highest bidder, because entire industries depend on you being a mindless buyer. Don’t be a mindless buyer. Pay attention.
- Disconnect to Reconnect – Being mindful with technology gets more and more important every day. “Slow living is a call to disconnect.” We use technology and social media to avoid real-life issues or anxieties. It also affects our confidence, relationships, sleep, and work. Go outside, take a walk, talk to a friend, smile at someone. Ask yourself, “Is this making life better in an authentic way?” and if the answer is no, reassess how you spend your time.
- Get Organized (-ish) – Organizing can seem rigid and strict, but when you live an organized life, you can find what you need quickly and easily, which frees you up to spend more time doing what you’d like. Plan things out, to an extent, so you can maximize enjoyment but maintain flexibility.
- Drop Your Standards – Many of us hold ourselves to very high—sometimes unachievable standards. Dropping them (a bit) takes loads of pressure off and allows us to relax a bit. We can understand that life happens, and that doesn’t make you a failure. Dropping standards might mean no more ironing, cereal for dinner, and letting done be good enough, even if it’s not perfect.
- Go Fast to Go Slow – While this may seem counterintuitive, sometimes you have to hustle so you can relax later. McAlary says, “I work hard to get things done in order to give myself time for slow.” The adrenaline rush of a tight deadline can be super motivating—once in a while. Be intentional about why you’re working hard and what the payoff will be.
Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World Final Thoughts
This book was just the reminder I needed right now. I’ve read decluttering books and minimalism books. I know all the logic and I am on board. But that doesn’t mean I’m always successful and mindful of what I’m purchasing and doing.
Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World helped me remember why I’m doing this – plus it gave me a push towards mindfulness and a push away from my phone. It’s too easy to float along in this world feeling stressed, disconnected, and depressed. It’s no coincidence that mental health has been decreasing as consumerism and technology is increasing.
Grab this book from your library, sit down and read, and then slow down so you can live simply in a frantic world.