January 19, 2018

Slow Family Living

Slow Family Living by Bernadette Noll, came to me via an email pitch and while I don’t typically love reviewing books it arrived during that insane time of year we call the holidays.  I was feeling out of control due to wanting to downsize our crazy life, wanting to hold my family closer, there were health concerns and dealing with our daughter’s Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) diagnosis.  All of us felt worn out more often than we should.  We needed to connect more as a family and slow down. We needed more of the joy that Slow Family Living talks so much about.

Reading Slow Family Living is easy.  The chapters are short and get right to the point.  They remind me of James Patterson chapters and that is just fine.  You can read the book in order or just sift through but the basic idea behind living this type of life is to wake up each day and take four slow breaths- in and out, to write down how to appreciate each other more daily and review it at the end of the week, to place the biggest value in life on your family unit.  What is in your four walls is ultimately the most important thing.  We all have heard all this before but SFL finds small, cheap or free ways to start this up organically and create a new flow in your home.  Without even realizing it we were doing these things because we felt we needed to do them.  For example-

1.  We “hug it out” when someone is feeling down or cranky another person or all of us grabs them and hugs them for at least 10 seconds.  SFL calls it Applesauce.  Ours is a big bear hug, sometimes the kids go in the “Juicer” as my grandfather liked to call it, which is a big hug that shakes you up a bit.  It breaks the bad mood and releases oxytocin in both people and the air is cleared.  I cannot tell enough you how something so simple actually works, even with whining. 

2. We started family meetings.  Each week for 20 minutes or less we meet to discuss what is working or what we want to change in our home.  We start the meeting with each person saying something nice about someone else in the room.  The kids feel heard and validated.  They have a sense of power and we feel like we aren’t going to go insane either.  Communication with even a four year-old is better than it was before we began these meetings.

I will be trying Bedtime Meditation with the kids next.  It’s not what you think but I hear it works like a charm.

There are 75 simple ways to slow down and enjoy your family in Slow Family Living.  The more we do the more we find that we care less about rushing around and more about nurturing each other and giving back to those around us.  We are indeed slowing down a little bit at a time, taking our four deep breaths and seeing beyond the everyday rush.  It’s actually quite beautifu.l By no means do we feel perfect but rather a work in progress.  I love it.

Slow Family Living: 75 Simple Ways to Slow Down, Connect, and Create More Joy is available at Amazon.com.

MPR Rating: Five Stars.

Disclaimer: MPR was not paid for this post. Products received are for review purposes only.  Opinions are MPR’s only.