You might like to know how my family and I have come to be living a more self-sufficient and simple life.
Here is our story. You can read what the Hinterland Homegrown website is about here.
Our dream is to become self-sufficient on our little property. We want to get back to basics at home so that we have more time for what matters most to us:
- time together as a family
- food growing
- self-care and earth-care
- giving back to our community
- being in nature.
FROM STRESS TO LIVING MORE SLOWLY
When I started this blog I created for myself everyday a huge to-do list that stressed me out mentally and exhausted me physically.
I was hard on myself and chasing impossible perfection:
- a spotless home
- errands always finished
- saying yes to everyone.
I was on maternity leave and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I didn’t spend as much quality time with my family as I wanted to. I never allowed myself time to relax or care for myself.
With no time for anything but work, I was mindlessly spending too much money and eating too much junk food for comfort.
My wake-up call came from my young son one evening. He told me “you always tell me to hang-on”. I didn’t want my children growing up with a frantic Mum that always told them to wait.
FIRST STEPS TO A HAPPIER AND HEALTHIER HOME
That night I decided to change. For my benefit and for my family.
I remembered the calm and happy home we had years ago when we lived a slower and simpler life.
I made a few changes to my mindset and surroundings at home that night.
Here’s what I did:
- Wrote a list on our noticeboard of basic housework jobs, one per day. Not ten.
- Changed my mindset towards housework, that a less than spotless home is okay. It took a while to feel comfortable with this. Now some days I do no housework at all, and it’s okay.
- Made a promise to myself to put my family first, before any work. That meant dropping everything for awhile everyday and being together, undistracted. Particularly after school and after dinner at night. We also now have dinner together at the dining table most nights.
- Gave myself permission to do something for myself each day that I love. When I fill my cup I can fill my family’s cups too. If my cup is empty, I have nothing to give.
- Reminded myself that our home and family is valuable above anything else. Happiness is created at home. I don’t feel lasting contentment can be found in buying things, being seen wearing label clothes, driving an expensive car, or going out all of the time.
These five changes are small but they are incredibly powerful. Being really present to my family and valuing our time at home has reconnected us with each other.
These changes are the start of a new way of living that is helping us to feel more comfortable here and love our homegrown life. We are happier and healthier, and life is slowly getting better.
FINDING A WAY TO CARE FOR THE EARTH
Back in 2004 I found out about Permaculture, a method of designing our life so that we can provide for our own needs without damaging the earth and exploiting others. This really interested me as an ethical but fun way to live, so I completed a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) at Northey Street City Farm in Brisbane.
The PDC changed my worldview entirely. It gave me a positive solution to what was going wrong with the world. It had really practical strategies and techniques for sustainable (eco-friendly) living.
Instead of feeling helpless about climate change, logging of old growth forests, pollution, exploitation of farmers, and use of agricultural chemcial poisons to grow food, I could do something meaningful about these problems – starting at home.
I also found out that this way of life can bring more health and happiness into our lives as well.
The beauty of Permaculture is that you can do it anywhere and in any situation. Whether you are in a small apartment or have 100 acres of land, you can start where you are with what you have. It has a set of clearly defined Principles and methods for designing your life. It can also change you personally for the better in the process.
LEARNING ABOUT SIMPLE AND SLOW LIVING
Since completing the PDC I came across Rhonda Hetzell’s blog Down to Earth Simple Living. This was another beautiful and life-changing moment.
Rhonda talks about living simply and frugally and valuing what we do in our home as a way of being happy and having purpose in life.
The Slow Your Home website by Brooke McAlary was also another lovely discovery that taught me the benefits in slowing down and reducing busyness in my life.
I’m beginning to feel more content in life and confident in myself by simplifying and slowing down at home. I feel like I have a purpose and a place in our wonderful world. I’m being more present with my family, enjoying caring for our home, growing some of our food, caring for the planet, making some of the things we need, and looking after myself more.
WHAT CAN YOU DO NEXT?
Get started today on your path to a simpler and happier life by staying awhile here and reading the blog posts and resources. Follow the blog if you want to know when a blog post is published for you to read.