(Taken from the Downshifting website)
Downshifting is about slowing down your pace, finding a better work/life balance, consequently embracing living with less and leading a simpler, greener and happier life! It could mean anything from not doing that extra hour of overtime, because you want to get home and see the family, to making the decision to ditch the 3 hour commute to work and taking a local job or working from home, so you have more time to enjoy life. Generally it refers to us tipping the favour of the work/life balance in favour of ‘life’.
Time: Book a half-day off work to spend entirely with someone you love, no DIY allowed
Once you’ve grasped unlimited potential of slowing things down a gear, you’ll soon feel the benefits of spending ‘proper’ time with the important people in your life. Make up a few sandwiches and a flask and go for a nice walk. Enjoy the elements and each other’s company and remember why you fell in love with them in the first place.
Food: Cook a meal from scratch, using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, preferably organic
You could save a fortune cooking simple recipes from scratch, using quality, raw ingredients and you don’t have to be a chef to put together a few basic, wholesome meals. Food miles are very important. If it’s been harvested locally, it’s probably fresher and more nutritious than something that has travelled half way around the world.
Money: Cut up a credit card
Living within our means is something we’ve forgotten how to do. It’s time to get back to, ‘If you don’t earn it, don’t spend it!’ Cut the temptation and you automatically cut the stress, but the real release of pressure will arrive as you come to terms with embracing this philosophy and your new downshifted lifestyle.
Giving: Donate a bag of clothes, toys or useful items to a local charity shop, refuge or recycling centre
Downshifting encourages you to look at every aspect of your life and apply this ‘reuse, recycle, renew and rethink’ policy. Donating items to people who have a need for them also helps reduce our landfill problem and can give you a great sense of self-worth, a well-needed moral boost and of course, it does the recipient a good turn too.
Create: Hand-make cards for birthdays
You can save a fortune by making your own greetings cards and you will create far more of an impact with the recipient, because you have taken the time to create something personal.
Reduce: Eliminate 3 non-essential purchases this week
It’s time to ditch a few of those impulsive, pick-me-up purchases you usually make to cheer yourself up. Consider this, if you have a happier disposition and are less stressed, you won’t need to buy them!
Garden: Plant something in the garden you can cultivate and eat, start a compost heap, and rescue battery hens
Growing a few organic fruit and vegetables is not only delicious, but it breaks that dependency from the supermarket and opens your eyes to taking the chemical-free route too. Another natural step on from this, is developing your compost heap.
Following recent high-profile television broadcasts, there cannot be a person in the country that isn’t aware of the plight of the battery hen. If you offer a home to a couple of ex-batteries, you are not only giving them a chance of a real life, but you also get to enjoy the delicious benefits of fresh, free-range eggs every day too.
Local: Consider reputable work-at-home parents and small local businesses, for services you need
Communicate: Tonight, turn off the television, switch on the radio, play a few games and talk
Start off with a simple meal, everyone firmly invited to attend at the same time, involve chairs, a table and place settings for all! No TV allowed, even as background noise. After dinner, pop the radio on and get a game out. Scrabble, cards, monopoly, hangman, it’s not important what you play. This exercise is simply about pulling the family back together, getting some dialogue going and realising there is more to life than the telly!