Feb 9, 2016 · 3 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

Slowing down should be easy.

It sounds easy to do: just do less.

But in reality, that’s one of the hardest things to do, and slowing down can seem like it comes with more to-do items than just continuing along the same path would.

Lots of people say a slow, simple life is a journey, not a destination, but for most of us, a number of things have to change if we’re going to live a slow, simple life. And making those changes often involves lots of extra work, time and energy.

####Simple life made complicated####

Decluttering, for instance, can take place over a few hard-charging weekends, or you can do a little every night for months. No matter how you split it up, it’s still a lot of work. But if you want to be free from your clutter, and create a space that’s calm and inviting, and to encourage yourself not to continue spending, that hard, time-consuming work at the beginning is imperative.

I am in the midst of feeling overwhelmed by slowing down. I’ve got big plans for it: They involve working fewer hours, working from home and living in a tiny house. Sure, that sounds simple enough, but simple doesn’t mean easy.

In order to work from home, I’ve got to grow my freelance business, which means working early mornings, nights and weekends, on top of a full-time job and being a mom.

To be able to live in a tiny house, which would allow me to work less because they’re so affordable, I’m working with a group of Silicon Valley tiny house enthusiasts who are looking to change some ordinances to make tiny houses a viable option, as they currently are mostly not allowed. Because even though they’re way more affordable than regular housing in the Bay Area, who wants to invest tens of thousands of dollars in a home you can’t live in? This research and advocacy takes time and concentration.

####The stress of slowing down####

To live a simple life, I get the feeling that most people’s lives have to go through some big, complicated, busy changes. Mine does.

Many of us see a life we want to be living, and when we look at the life we are living, it can seem like a long way to go from one to the other. And who needs still more things to do? We all already have enough on our plates without adding “slowing down” to the list.

To be honest, the answer to this question eludes me. Ramping up time and effort to slow down is discouraging at times, and it’s really hard work.

I try to remind myself to keep my eye on the prize. It can be tempting, when faced with yet another morning of getting up at 4:30 a.m. to start a long day of work, just to give up and say “it’ll never happen for me. It’s not meant to be” and roll over and sleep for another two hours.

But you have to consider the cost of not doing the things that will help move you down the path toward your goals. If I don’t get up early, then I definitely won’t make it down the path to the simple life I crave, and I’ll be stuck being stressed out, overpaying rent and not getting to spend enough time with my daughter.

That’s really what it all comes down to, and that’s what I try to use to keep me going.

How do you keep motivated and avoid stress when trying to slow down?


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.