Sometimes taking a break from the hustle and bustle of regular life can help you reset your priorities and re-evaluate your choices. Here are 8 simple lessons in slow living you might experience from snow days, power outages, and canceled plans.
What is slow living?
Slow living is a way of living that asks us to be slower and more intentional with our choices. Instead of rushing through life, we take the time to enjoy the moments, make things from scratch, and feel present.
It’s similar to simple living, but really emphasizes the desire to be present in the moment and to live outside of the rush.
The gift of a snow day
As a child, I lived for snow days. We all felt that way, right? Back in the 90s, we didn’t have text alerts, so we’d run to the living room and flip on the news, watching the school district names flip by one by one.
There is something exquisitely beautiful about a snow day, about canceled plans. Even as a teacher, I longed for snow days just as much as my young students.
It wasn’t about missing work; it was about getting this grand gift, this gift of time in nature. The option to rethink how you originally intended to spend your day. It’s a moment to truly be yourself and look at the world with new eyes.
Don’t miss the message
Living in Western Washington, we don’t get much snow but we do get a lot of wind and rain. Sometimes we spend months in the gloomy gray.
Because of the terrain here, most power lines are still aboveground. This means that anytime we get wind, we almost always lose power.
After a few minutes of waiting for the lights to come back on, we typically hear the roar of our neighbors’ generators turning back on.
I started to notice that I felt disappointed when people turned on their generators. It shouldn’t affect me, but it did. I felt this way for years, but could never understand why. Maybe it was the noise? Maybe it was the pollution?
But one day, I heard the answer inside of me. I sensed myself thinking, “they’re wasting it.“
That’s when I realized that I think of power outages as a gift. (Not the 5-day ones that destroy everything in your freezer or cause people to freeze to death, of course. I mean the little ones. Maybe a few hours or a day.)
8 Lessons in Slow Living from Power Outages and Snow Days
1. Take time to play
When the power shuts off, we’re confronted with ourselves again. We are given the option to revisit our priorities. We are invited to go back into childhood and to play.
I have so many memories of snowstorms and power outages…I remember playing board games with my family or spending all day tromping around in the snow. I remember my dad laughing and running around pegging snowballs at us and of exploring new, icy territories with other kids.
2. Make the most of your time
It’s not about living without power, but about being present. It’s about finally having the time.
Slow living is about stepping outside of the rat race of life and doing something unexpected.
3. Prioritize rest
Especially since so many of us are constantly on the go, we all benefit from a little unexpected rest.
Our society tells us to focus on self-care and balance but also requires us to be present and on at all times. You can’t be all of these things at the same time.
Not everything is about growth, productivity, or profit. Sometimes the most important thing we can do is to just be present with ourselves or with our families.
4. Connect more
Because we’re all moving so quickly, we spend less time with our families than the generations before us. So many things distract us, including technology, causing us to be half-heartedly present.
These unexpected times together can be a great way to be fully present and make new memories with our families.
5. Ground yourself in your body
Almost everyone is stuck in their brains. We’re constantly thinking, planning, wondering, remembering, etc. We are disconnected from our bodies.
When the power is out or your plans are canceled, you’re often forced to get out of your head.
Jump into this by going for a walk, laying down, or just listening to the weather outside.
Have you ever found yourself engrossed in watching the flame of a candle? Humans are naturally drawn to fire and it can be really grounding to watch the flames flicker and crackle.
5. Re-evaluate your life
Many of us live on autopilot. We have this script internalized of what we do, where we go, how we dress, what we eat, etc.
We often feel something inside of us longing for something different but at the end of the day, we pretty much just hit “repeat” on the day that came before.
When the power shuts down or the world closes, we get a chance to re-evaluate and reflect.
If you didn’t have to go to work today…what would you do? If you have a free, unscripted hour or two, how would you like to use them?
Sometimes we just need those moments outside of the routine to get back to ourselves.
6. Think outside the box
Power outages can be very inconvenient and after a few hours, they start to lose their charm. Suddenly, you’re stuck trying to figure out how to wash the dishes, do the laundry, and heat the house.
Those moments can give us a chance to think creatively. Especially if you’re living a highly structured life with a lot of routine, you might not get a lot of opportunities to think creatively and problem solve.
It can feel good to stretch your brain and try things in a new way.
7. Stay off your phone
Depending on where you live, this might be harder to do. We have poor cell signal at our house so when the power is out, we aren’t able to check our email or social media anymore.
This unscheduled moment of technological abstinence makes it easy to notice just how often we reach for our devices. I almost always realize that I’m too addicted to my phone after a power outage. How can we bring more balance and boundaries with technology into our lives?
8. Count your blessings
When the power goes out, you likely tell your children that this is how people used to live. You break out the candles and maybe start a fire. You grab a book or tell a story.
These moments of connection can be warm and inviting, but they also help us remember how privileged we truly are.
For most of human history, daily life required physical toil. It was a hard, challenging experience simply to keep people alive.
We are living in a time of excess and abundance. Our lives are infinitely more comfortable than anything our ancestors could have imagined.
It’s humbling to remember how much work went into caring for the next generation and to express some gratitude for all that we do have.
What do you think of these lessons in slow living?
Do you live for canceled plans, too? Share your thoughts in the comments.