Inside: Have you heard of slow living? Learn about the slow movement and how you can practice it in your life.
Sometimes, you just have to slow down.
In today’s constantly-connected world, it can be a real challenge – a seemingly impossible feat.
We’re always on the move, chasing the next promotion at work or milestone in life.
We fill our days with plans and obligations and cram as many activities into our weekends as we can manage.
We’re constantly racing from one goal to the next, hardly stopping to celebrate our progress or achievements. Rest can be challenging to come by in our driven world.
And while a unique few can thrive under these conditions, living this way leaves the majority of us exhausted.
Perhaps this is why so many people have started to embrace the idea of slow living.
What is slow living?
The idea of slow living is fairly straightforward – it’s all about taking a step back and slowing down in terms of the way you live your life.
It’s about being more mindful about the ways you spend your time, being more appreciative of the quiet moments, and enjoying life for what it is, instead of cramming every moment on your calendar with meetings, work, and personal obligations.
Slow living involves embracing a less-is-more approach. By making fewer obligations and plans, you’ll have more time spent doing the things that truly bring you joy.
Instead of trying to be busy all the time, slow living encourages you to do the opposite – give yourself time and space to relax, explore, and connect.
It’s also about self-reflection and reconnecting with your values and your purpose.
Living in alignment with your values can be difficult when you’re overworked and overwhelmed; slowing down can create the time and space you need to make them a priority and act accordingly.
How can you benefit from slow living?
Taking a step back and embracing slow living represents a huge shift for many of us – and with that shift comes quite a few benefits.
First, at its core, slow living involves living more mindfully. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to enhance your ability to control your emotions, keep depression at bay, lower anxiety, and more.
Living slow and embracing mindfulness brings all kinds of other benefits, too. For instance, taking a slower, more mindful approach to eating might mean prioritizing locally grown foods, cooking nourishing meals at home, and ensuring you’re eating a well-balanced diet to fuel your body.
Another benefit of slow living? When you slow down, you’ll have more time to focus on the things that matter – like your relationships. Being able to invest more time and energy into those relationships can be incredibly enriching and allows you to strengthen bonds and make memories with those you love.
By living slowly, you’ll also have more time to enjoy the activities you love – the hobbies you love most or the causes you care most passionately about.
Four Easy Ways to Practice Slow Living
Slow living is something that everyone can do – and it doesn’t have to be difficult! While the initial shift from an overwhelmed, overworked, busy life might be a shock, you’ll quickly find that slow living is the way to go.
Not quite sure what you need to do in order to make that shift? Here are a few easy ways you can practice slow living:
1. Learn how to say “no”.
Are you the type of person who shows up for everything – even if you’d rather not?
A big step toward slow living involves decluttering your schedule and learning how to say no to plans and activities that don’t energize you and bring you joy.
Rather not go to that big summer BBQ that your coworker is hosting? Don’t go!
Not stoked about the idea of going to that show? Sell your ticket and spend your time doing something you are stoked about.
And it really isn’t just about learning to say no. It’s also learning how to feel 100% comfortable in that decision.
Turning down an invitation to do something you don’t want to do shouldn’t stress you out or make you feel guilty. Don’t feel bad about making yourself a priority.
2. Step away from social media.
There’s no such thing as living slow on social media. It’s all about putting out as much content as possible, as quickly as possible. Gaining followers and friends as fast as you can. Showing the world just how much you’re doing, how much fun you’re having, and how fulfilling your life is.
The rise of social media has made it virtually impossible to truly slow down and disconnect. Not only does it make you reachable 24/7, it’s also made it way too easy to compare yourself against other people – friends, family, or total strangers on the Internet.
Watching others online travel around the world, reach major life milestones, buy houses and cars, and start businesses can quickly send you into a spiral of envy, guilt, and shame. The “I’m not good enough” or “I need to work harder” feelings can quickly take hold.
These feelings are a direct contradiction to slow living, which encourages you to be happy with what you have and live simply.
Being intentional with social media and creating healthy boundaries can seriously help you in your efforts to live slowly.
3. Spend time doing nothing.
OK – this one isn’t literal. I’m not telling you to sit indoors and meditate all day. But I am telling you to really embrace the empty spaces in your day.
Instead of rushing out the door to run errands in the morning, savor the first few hours of your day. Pour a cup of coffee and watch the birds from your backyard. Take a slow walk through your neighborhood and admire the flowers. Read something, draw something, or write in your journal.
On the weekends, don’t overbook your schedule. Drink a leisurely cup of tea in bed. Wander through a local farmer’s market.
When you plan a vacation, don’t make it a whirlwind trip filled with flights, guided tours, and hour-by-hour itineraries. Instead, give yourself time to experience your destination.
Wander the streets and stop by whatever shops call to you. Enjoy a slow meal on a sunny patio. Limit your planned activities to one or two things a day – a stop at a museum, or a pasta-making class, or a scenic hike – and leave the rest of your time free.
4. Do things more slowly.
This one IS literal. If you want to live slowly, you’ve got to make an effort to live slower – and break the hasty habits you’ve held for years.
Eat slower. Savor each bite. Appreciate the ingredients that create your meal, the effort that went into its preparation, the way it looks, smells, tastes.
Drive slower. Unless you’re in an emergency situation, there’s no need to speed. Slow down and hang out in the slow lane. Take the scenic route whenever possible. Stop to smell the flowers or snap a few photos or admire the view.
Work slower. If you aren’t a doctor saving literal lives, chances are that email is not an emergency and you don’t need to drop everything to address it right now. Be less aggressive about deadlines and give yourself more time to complete projects.
Slowing down can help you to enjoy your life more.
What does slow living mean to you? Leave a comment and let me know!
What area of your life would you like to slow down first? Let us know. While it is countercultural and can be challenging at times, simplifying your life and schedule in the ways that you’re able to can help you to have a healthier and more balanced life.
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