Enjoying the present moment is hard, so hard. I cannot fully soak it in, and be fully present without my mind going wild. I live this so-called "Fast Life" with a fully booked agenda and an overworked mind.
This is not what I want. What happened to this little girl who used to enjoy her own for hours telling herself endless stories or switching her phone off when family vacation? I miss these times. I miss my tranquility, my slow life. Today, I'm constantly connected, busy, invaded by external stimuli, and societal pressure to do more, to do better generating endless anxiety.
Productivity is the new normal, letting our well-being get worse and worse. I hate this. Why should we put ourselves in such a position?
2 weeks ago, I decided to contact Claire Mondray, a slow-living enthusiast. Claire accepted to answer all of my questions, which help me understand even more the importance of slowing down in a world going faster and faster. She explained to me what was slow-living, how to practice it, and what benefits to take away from it. We discussed the correlation with ecology.
I'll let you find out more about this great exchange through this little interview. 🥰
Interview - Le slow living
Who are you?
Claire: " It's always such a hard exercise. I'm 34, content creator for 10 years, but freelance for 1 year and a half now. I also have a Podcast channel valuing women who are entrepreneurs in a better and more conscious way and that awakens consciences. I'm also very passionate about what I'm doing and about passionate people. I could listen to them for hours. It amuses me a lot to meet new people, to listen to new stories and journeys, I find it very rich. I'm passionate about reading as well, yoga, series, and cinema. I've been living in Toulouse for 1 year and a half now, but I'm from Perpignan. I'm a real southerner, I love warmth, the sea, and the un. It's vital for me so is traveling."
How would you define "slow living"?
Claire: " For me, it means living consciously. In line with your values and your needs, while respecting the living because by respecting the living, we respect ourselves. It's really adapting your lifestyle to all of these elements. "
How did you decide to get down to it?
Claire: " I experienced sore challenges, which pushed me to ask myself how to do to feel better and what I didn't want in my life anymore.
Practicing yoga also reinforced all of this reflection and changed my way of living.
I was also very sensitive at first. I'm very passionate, so I appreciate taking the necessary time when it comes to pleasure and passions. Also, I feel, because I learned to know myself, that if I do not take those moments, anxiety can take over. I definitely have to listen to myself.
How to practice slow living?
Claire: "For example, an hour before I go to bed I read, I totally disconnect from the screens. The goal is to really disconnect from 9 pm onwards if I can manage it. And then, the little ritual I like is yoga every night. I prefer to do it in the evening because it allows me to put my day down on the mat and really decompress. I also give myself a break, often in the middle of the afternoon, where I drink a coffee or an herbal tea, often on a balcony to hear the birds singing that soothes me, and I really don't do anything else. It lasts 10 minutes, but it allows me to breathe and not do 10,000 things at the same time throughout my day.
The human brain is not made to work continuously, it's not possible. And we want to be productive all the time, but it's not possible if we don't take these moments. My signals are when I start to procrastinate. I do all the little tasks that I like, absolutely not urgent, and leave the urgent ones aside and they pile up, which puts extra pressure on me, and I tell myself that I didn't listen myself enough.
It can also be by going for a walk, by doing the sport you like. Any passion that would allow you to disconnect and do in consciousness, to be in the present moment, to relax the mind.
There are tricks to being in the present moment, some people use visualization. I don't know how to do it. But I know how to focus on my breath while counting. And you can't count and think at the same time. That's my best tool. You just have to find your tool, this is the one that works best for me.
If there is an alert that I can give you, it is for example when I feel that I have a weight on my chest and that I have difficulty breathing, then it is that I need a break."
What are the biggest barriers to living slowly?
Claire: " The biggest barrier, I'd say, is the society's injunctions such as productivity. Society is very paradoxical, it defends well-being yet puts pressure on well-being. It goes the same with productivity. These are fake beliefs we perpetuate. So, I'd say social media and injunctions."
According to you, is there a bond between ecology & slow living?
Claire: "I wasn't brought up with those values. It just wasn't my parents' generation and it wasn't in their education. I wasn't made aware of it. So it really came up when my mother got sick. I started to think about the fact that a lot of parents in my generation were getting cancer. It was a subject that started to interest me, I said to myself "How is it possible that there are so many cancers at 50 years old?" and I started to tell myself that there was something wrong, to tell myself that there was a problem. It really started with the realization that health was deteriorating, that cancers and autoimmune diseases were multiplying and I wondered what the problem was. So I started to pay attention to what I was eating. Then it was the products I used in my daily life to clean my house and then cosmetics and clothing. My ecological sensitivity was born with my love for nature. All my youth, my parents took us to the mountains every weekend, and during our walks, my father taught me the different species, and how nature worked,... It was a journey of about ten years. It was really a progressive awareness, but everything started from a health and ecological problem, it's obvious."
What benefits can we take away from slow living?
Claire: " The 2 biggest strengths I have gained from this I would say are courage and resilience. I realized that I can't change things, that what happened can't be changed, I can only act today. There's no point in dwelling on it, really. I don't dwell on it anymore. Resilience is a great strength and a great form of serenity, it's part of slow living."
Bonus: How would you define "well-being" and what is your well-being routine?
Claire: " I would describe it very simply. For me, it's balance. Not feeling torn by anything, not living in greed. To find a balance in life between your deepest values and your actions. A balance that is unique to each person.
My wind-down routine is important to me. When I decide to stop working, I make myself an infusion and do yoga. Then I go to dinner with my man and we watch a movie. Before I go to bed, I do my ritual and sit in bed and read for a good hour before I go to sleep. It's a whole end-of-day routine that does me a lot of good."
If you have reached the end of this reading, it is because, I hope, you have enjoyed this interview. I hope that this exchange resonated as much as it did for me. Don't hesitate to share your opinion in the comments, it's always a pleasure to read you.
Thanks again to Claire, for her time and sharing on Live My Way.
See you soon,