With the fast pace of modern life, people are looking for ways to step back and slow down. Hustle culture and being busy has been glamourised over the years, but this is arguably harmful and has stopped us from taking life in fully. Slow living doesn’t have to be a complete life overhaul, where you float around in a beautiful kimono after quitting your job and preaching about how beautiful life is after another hour of yoga (I know some of you have pictured this!). Slow Living helps you to achieve a more balanced, meaningful life by slowing down and appreciating the little things, despite anything that’s going on.
Slow living is a lifestyle that encourages pausing and a slower approach to aspects of every day life. For example, drinking a cup of tea, focusing on the tea only, the warmth, the taste – engaging your sensory options. Appreciating that first sip in the morning before you get ready for work.
Slow living is celebrating the moment. It’s about slowing down time. It’s experiencing life as it is right now. It’s embracing and appreciating, gratitude and acceptance. It’s balance.
Slow living is celebrating the moment.
What if life is happening fast?
Do you ever feel like you’re spinning many plates and waiting for one to drop? If your focus is on various things, it’s not really focus. Sometimes we have no choice but to engage in multiple tasks at once, or run projects alongside each other, or to look after children while also trying to keep a home and do well at a job.
Many of us tend to cram as much as we can into a day, or even an hour, to possibly spare ourselves some time later on. From experience, I know that slowing down and taking time on things makes them so much easier, and doesn’t wear me out physically or mentally. It allows me to fully focus on a task, whether it be for work or simply making the bed. By doing this, I actually end up doing things more quickly.
For example, taking time out to write and only write, allows me to complete a piece of work much more quickly than trying to multitask or running various things through in my head while doing so. It’s a practice and ongoing because my natural tendency is to think fast, act fast, and generally just speed through life. However, this is where burnout plays its part, because that natural speed that I have and see as a superpower at times can take its toll if I don’t ensure balance.
Life isn’t for rushing through, it’s for enjoying. Experiences should be fulfilling and relaxing. I know what you’re thinking, what about doing the dishes after dinner is relaxing? (Just me?) But creating space in your home, putting the clean dishes away so that you can enjoy a great meal tomorrow, and being grateful that you have so many dishes because you shared your dinner with your family is what slow living is all about.
You can’t experience life to the full if you’re busy rushing past it. People always say stop and smell the roses. I say slow down and take it all in. Appreciate the good in your life, even when it feels really bad.
How to start slow living practices
1. Each day, think of 3 things that you’re grateful for.
Even if it’s just waking up. It could be that someone in a shop let you jump the queue, or the commute from work was shorter so you got a longer evening at home, or that you enjoyed dinner.
This can be difficult at first, but the more you do it, the better you become.
2. Immerse yourself in an everyday activity.
Choose one task to fully immerse yourself in. For example, instead of doing things about the house while on the phone to a friend or family member, stop and take time for the call and only the call. You could put your phone down while watching a film. Do you usually watch TV while cooking? Switch it off and immerse yourself in the aromas and flavours and colours of your food. Think about the nutrition and goodness of what you’ll be eating.
Whatever you choose as your immersion task, embrace it fully and just try to do one thing at that time.
3. Walk with no destination.
Step outside and just walk. Don’t walk with your eyes glued to your phone. Take in the sights and sounds. Try to find somewhere with beautiful nature, but if you’re in a built up area, notice the buildings around you. Look up and see the architecture. You might notice something new. If you find it difficult walking in silence, listen to a podcast or music and embrace the sights instead, or walk with a friend.
These are just a few small practices that can help you to embrace slow living and slow down the pace of a busy life. They don’t need to take up too much time, they just allow you to pause and relax, so that you can step back into your busy life refreshed and raring to go again.