At this point, most of us are probably familiar with the slow food movement. It’s a phrase and idea many of us are warming up to, and why wouldn’t we? It’s all very romantic! It makes me think of Europe and how they take so much time and thought for meals. I imagine sitting down to an authentic Italian dinner made with tomatoes and olive oil that were grown in the backyard, luxuriating over every last bite and truly enjoying what I put in my mouth.
This peaceful image creates a unique mindset and encourages me to be conscious and present … to slow down more often in everyday life. I want to take the time to make, or at least sit down and thoughtfully enjoy a meal, as well as consider where it came from.
Which all leads me to another slow lifestyle movement evolving, one I’m even more dedicated to: the idea of “slow beauty.”
Admittedly, this one can be harder to get behind. To some, it sounds self-indulgent, expensive and even downright silly. For me, however, the slow beauty concept is one that shapes my existence. It’s a necessity, a conscious health choice, a healthier sleep pattern, a weight loss strategy, anxiety and stress relief, and a path to spirituality, all wrapped up together in what’s more commonly referred to as self-care.
I’ve had so many magical spa experiences over the years, many of which have honestly shaped me as a human, crazy as it may sound. A few hours of pampering make me a kinder, more compassionate person; stolen moments in a peaceful waiting area inspired me to start a new career, and every “slow beauty” moment I’ve ever taken for myself has undoubtedly made me more pres,reent.
One of the first and most special I can remember was my first Reiki treatment. Even though it’s been 10 years, I still remember the practitioner’s name, how she described Reiki, and how calm and free I felt afterward. Another life-altering spa experience happened during a four-day stay at a spa in Sedona. I wanted to experience and do as much as I could in my time there, so I packed my days to the brim, which only led to anger, grouchiness and tears.
But by day four, I’d reached a blissful state of relaxation. The roller coaster of emotions may sound like the journey of a crazy person, but the truth is that being present and introspective isn’t easy, and being cared for with minimal responsibilities is the fastest way put yourself in an introspective mindset.
When I emerged back into the real world, everything looked different. Every interaction I had with strangers, loved ones, even daily tasks felt more meaningful, as if someone had lifted a fog I’d been struggling to see through.
In order for us to be the best version of ourselves, to be the graceful, kind, thoughtful, generous person we want to be, caring for ourselves first is essential. And to me, self-care is the best and only way to achieve that. Not everyone has the opportunity to go off on a four day journey, but there’s always something small we can do every day.
We can all find a few minutes to unplug and recharge, to take the time (however short) to honor our bodies. Some days we may have only five minutes, other days we may have the luxury of an hour. Either way, put down your phone and computer, and take some time to take a bath, head outside for a walk or to simply breathe deeply.
As the founder of an organic skin care company, I’m constantly being asked why I do what I do. And it really comes down to the fact that I am creating for others what I want to create for myself: an overall more thoughtful, peaceful, introspective lifestyle. Being in a nurturing and slow-paced environment (like that of a spa or vacation resort) is how I want to feel every day.
Our lives are typically filled with nonstop, fast-paced activity and stressors. Rarely do most of us take the time to slow down enough to be present, engaged and enjoy the small moments, but I’m confident “slow beauty” is way to bring those attributes into daily life and lift a bit of the fog.
about the writer – Laurel Shaffer is the owner, formulator, plant communicator, loving center, and driving force behind Laurel Whole Plant Organics. Laurel is a former sommelier and actress. Inspired by the health of loved ones, the efficacy of plants, and the power of self care; she changed paths and went on to study plants and physiology at the California School of Herbal Studies. She created Laurel Whole Plant Organics, and opened their first signature treatment studio in Sausalito, CA. She loves her time with family, their dogs, biking, traveling, spa visits, and has many other dreams in the works!
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