slow living in the city - 9 tips on living life at a slower pace

We have made a few changes to our routines & life at home and I'm slowly getting to where I want when it comes to the daily rhythm for me and my little family. I'm still longing for a slower pace related to where we live, and I really want to move where I can put garden furniture and plant potatoes, but while I'm still living in the middle of the city, I'm working to get as much slow living out of this city as I can.

The city pulse is sure hard to get rid off when you're right in the middle of it, but here are a few tricks I've find really helpful to apply to wind down...

Make rituals.

I remember growing up, my grandfather always has a ritual with his morning coffee. It was a slow but very devoted process, and together with grandma and their morning prayers, they both created a calm space were there never a feeling of rush in the mornings.

A few ideas on rituals: candlelight bath, taking time using body scrubs & creams when taking a shower, reading before going to bed, putting some effort in making a good cup of coffee in the morning, drinking tea, lighting candles...

Eat with gusto.

In my family, eating has been more of a social activity than something solely for nourishing purposes and I love that. Every time my mom comes over we chat & eat and we can easily end up eating for hours. During that time, we've enjoyed each other's company AND enjoyed our food without rushing it down our throats. Even if you don't have hours to eat, make some time for yourself to actually enjoy your food and company and not only rush it like it's another quick stop in life. Also! Put your phone down while you & your family are eating. Human interaction is good for you.

Create your vibe with music.

Let me invite you to two of my favorite Spotify playlists when it comes to creating a lovely vibe at home - Women of Jazz and Sweater Weather. Sweater Weather has been my go-to for years now, and it's absolutely perfect for spring and autumn. 

Fill your home with wonderful scents. 

Is there anything nicer than a home that smells good? I love having scented candles at home because 1. the candles does their part in creating a feeling of awareness, and 2. the scents from the candles makes the home really pleasant to be in. 

Plant plants.

Because bringing nature inside automatically comes with a slower pace, especially if you're more of a nature person than a concrete jungle person like me. Get yourself some flowers for the kitchen table, some for the windows, and if you're feeling ambitious - buy some seeds and plant your own plants! Here are some plants that help clean the air in your home...

Get rid of electronics that has you lazy/speeds your life up.

I think one of the best things that have happened to our home lately is me having hid the microwave and also slowly getting my husband to use a pot instead of our electric water boiler. Taking time to do things without the rush (and laziness) that comes with having things done super quickly really throws tension + stress out the window. 

Spend time offline. 

Leave your computer and phone in a drawer and spend some time offline. If you need to take photos, bring your dSLR instead of your phone, or even better, bring an analogue camera that'll need your total awareness of what is going on around you. It's hard to rush film. 
If you're used to spending time online and being available 24/7 this might be really stressful in the beginning because it'll make you realize how much stimuli you have gotten yourself used to. It will get better with time:) Soon enough you'll enjoy it, crave it and long for your offline hours.

Don't cram your day.

It's easy being swept away by the city pulse and the belief that we need to keep our schedules full and productivity levels maximized. We can't control the outcome of all days, and some will be busier than others, but some things can simply be done tomorrow or next week. Don't aspire to cram your days, let those days be exceptions rather than habits.

Plan your escapes and find your city paradises.

My mom and her home saves my life. During spring and summer we spend hours in her backyard. The baby is able to sleep outside which he loves and I am able to get me some sun while drinking coffee, doing crosswords and smelling the syringas. My mom's home is definitely my city paradise, and while we both are working our dreams of one day having our countryside homes, we also survive by planning our escapes. For me, it's definitely just getting out of the city to visit some small towns, beautiful natural sites or family on the countryside.

Oh the things you can see when you slow down...

francis & henry - maternity & nursing wear

Here are a few things I continuously wished for during my pregnancy; kebab pizza, ice, liver pâté & pickles, books for our babe and pretty maternity wear. Talking about the latter, meaning maternity wear, I really wished for a Francis & Henry's mama bundle. Little did I know, the only person who knew I actually wished for this made sure that was what I got on my surprise baby shower. Thanks everyone who was a part of it!

It's a package of four things. Now, if you're wondering how the Francis & Henry Nursing Dress has been working for me, it's been good. Way better than a hospital gown, incredibly pretty in real life, very comfortable and super functional for nursing.
The Jersey Cardigan is perfect to put on if it's a little cool, and the Muslin Wrap that also comes with the mama bundle is such a beautiful and soft thing to put in the baby's bed (we have ours in Josef's baby nest!).

Now if these beautiful pieces of clothing only could wash themselves from milk stains... ;)

self-care is not all milk baths and cappuccinos

Never in the world could I imagine how easy it would be to ignore & forget basic self care when you’ve just made and birthed a human. When I was pregnant I imagined that the furthest I would go when it came to neglecting the concept of self care would be months without doing my nails, buying a new piece of clothing or getting my hair done. Having babies would never be my "lie" to justify my own negligence.

But now when our babe is finally here, fully dependent on his parents to take care of every little need that occurs as he grows (especially from his momma who nurses him), and healing from childbirth, the consequences of me not prioritizing my own basic needs suddenly became extra prominent. 

The trending concept of self care is more than often only defined as something luxurious; every-day, big or small ways to make a life of complete overload a little more bearable. It’s like you can find the word everywhere, and somehow it seem to have lost some of the meaning of a deeper kind of care for yourself.

Living in a world where self care is trending actually tells us how much we have to work with, and how detached we have become from normal & healthy ways of taking care of ourselves. 

But self-care is not all milk baths and cappuccinos. 
Self-care is not always beautiful.

"The act of self-care has become yet another thing women are expected to be good at. Did you use the right filter for that ‘gram of your impeccably prepared acai bowl? Are the candles you just lit in your Snap story made from organic hand-poured soy or are they that mass-produced factory shit? And how can we stem the inevitable capitalist tide from turning something as simple as self-care into yet another thing to be bought and sold? These are all things I wrestle with as I order Dominos in sweatpants under the guise of ‘being good to myself.'" – Amil Niazi

Self care is informing your partner about his part in your recovery after giving birth. Self care is as unglamorous as not skipping out on food & water. It is, choosing not to run from problems, making important phone calls and asking for help.

It is re-strategizing, loving people on a distance, saying no and making people uncomfortable with your integrity. It is creating a decent sleeping routine and it is giving up on blaming a busy or unreasonable life to justify self-sabotage.

It is taking care of a loved one, standing up for mothering your babies your way, calling a friend and taking time to read a book.

Caring for yourself is not about indulging in consumer self care on a regular basis. When it comes to long term wellness and treating yourself, consumer self care is only touching the surface and when we oversize it, it instead makes us disconnected to our basic needs - those who help us form a life we don’t feel the need of escaping from. 

Self care is about being our own heroes. It is letting ourselves off the pressure. It is about how to be a human in this world and finding ways to cope between traumas.

Self care is not all milk baths and cappuccinos. It is what leads us to know that those things are only ways to enjoy life, not to escape from it.

oro therapy - hair essentials

My current haircare routine is about as simple as it gets. I wash my hair with a drugstore shampoo and and an organic conditioner and when my hair is dry I straighten my curly hair simply because it makes it possible for me to go daaayyzz without washing it together with a little help from my friend dry shampoo.

During my second trimester I started prioritizing finding ways to make skin and hair routines as simple & low maintenance as possible since energy for those processes started lacking big time. In an attempt to spare as much time + energy as possible and still feel fresh and like I've actually made an effort to take care of myself, I began my search for the best ways to simplify by eliminating unnecessary parts of my routines and instead only add a few super products.

I need something to keep my hair in check throughout the day and not being very font of hairspray, I got really curious when I heard that it's possible to use a good wax instead. So a couple of days ago I decided to see if I could find one, and Attityd Exclusives turned out having something in my liking. 

Oro Therapy Matte Paste is a matte wax (yes, matte!) which can be used for creating volume, holding curls, maintaining a hairstyle and also making stray hairs stay in place. Let me tell you, few words were needed for this one to be purchased!
This handy little thing is now added to my low maintenance hair routine and it feels like such a good product to have. It makes taming the top of my ponytail Kim K style the easiest and also for curly or straight styled hair to stay somewhat modest throughout the day without the hair getting stiff, crunchy and totally immobile as with the effect of most hairsprays. 

So, if you'd like to have one simple (super) product to style your hair with throughout the day, I totally recommend you to get your hands on the Oro Therapy Matte Paste! No regrets!

This post is not sponsored.

chasing slow: learning from a younger self

I once lived in a little red house in one of the outer neighborhoods of Umeå. It was nice and quiet and also full of life and sound when I wanted it to.

Throughout my pregnancy, discontentment toward living in the middle of the city has been growing steadily.
I long for opening the door and feeling fresh air. I long for walks in beautiful forests that are just a walking distance away. I long for neighbors who have time to pass by for a cup of coffee and I long for the peace I feel when cigarette smoke, concrete walls and non-stop city life stimuli isn't unwelcomingly affecting my quality of life. 

I kind of lost touch with my whole slow-living lifestyle when I moved from my little red house to an apartment in the city centre. I feel like the city can do that to you. 
So in an attempt to not go fully insane, I’ve decided to take the slow living lifestyle to my current city life, despite the fast tempo, cigarette smoke and concrete walls, in waiting for a little red house this time with my love and little squishy! 

I feel like my little red house brought out the best in me. I had a favorite place on the kitchen bench, right by the window, where I always sat & made time to enjoy most of my meals while pondering about all kinds of things, and sometimes just enjoying watching the snow fall on my backyard. That's also where I sat while reading books about a slower, simpler, more sustainable and definitely more efficient lifestyle. People who left a life of stress and overworking, and embraced a life that gave them more time for what they loved, simply by doing more of that and by eliminating the rest.

I was 19 then, and sick with fatigue syndrome. My medicine was chasing slow, and my little red house was the home of that. I read a lot about slow living, and wrote some too. And now when the mission of chasing slow have arrived at the surface again - this time around just as necessary as last time - I've decided to learn from my 19 year old self.

The importance of eliminating unnecessary processes and habits.

To simplify.

To get rid of.

To take time for. 

Finally having a space of my own was one of my most important first steps. Currently building our whole home, is another one (guys! I've made a new Home category for posts related to the making of our city apartment!)
And while I keep on discovering new ways to a slower lifestyle, and reminding myself of things I already knew, I thought I'd share four posts I wrote the year of the little red house - if you, too, would like to learn a little from my younger self!

01. Best slow-down habits that'll make you feel great.

02. A 30-day soul detox. 

03. Slowing down to enjoy the season.

04. A neat little trick to make your eyes relax.