The irony of our modern lives is that technology is invented on the basis that it saves us time, we accumulate that time to do more and more, filling our lives with hectic, fast-paced. Life seems to always pass us by before we can seemingly enjoy it, and what it brings. Your days that may seem a whirlwind, with never enough hours of daylight don't have to be that way. Rebel against a hectic lifestyle, slow down, and enjoy what life has in store for you.
What is Slow Living?
Slow living is an ideology based on a slower approach to all aspects of life, and incorporating this into your way of living. The purpose of this is to be more intentional with your time, to live more mindfully, and balanced. There are numerous benefits to this lifestyle, including:
- Less Stress
- Better Physical and Mental Health
- Better Relationships
- Appreciation of Everyday Experience
- Improved Productivity at Work
Slowing down is a conscious choice, and not always such an easy one. Continue to read to find out how you can incorporate 10 essential tips about slow living into your own life.
If you carry around a smartphone, you know what it means to always be connected. Social media, while it is entertaining and can be a platform used to gain information on certain topics, can oftentimes be toxic. Too much time is spent photographing elements of your life to share with everyone else, instead of not only living in the moment but appreciating those moments. Start by shutting it, whether it is an iPhone or Samsung, off. If you spend most of your days on the computer, make time to disconnect so you can focus on other things. Being connected at all times during the day, we are at the mercy of the demands of others, and it is hard to slow down when we are always checking new incoming messages.
2. Declutter Your Life
To embrace a slower lifestyle means understanding when it is time to declutter your life. Clutter always has a way of creeping into our lives, often happening so slowly that by the time we notice the accumulation of things, it gets out of hand and causes feelings of overwhelming stress. Whether it is a pileup of paperwork, clothes, or emails, it is time to declutter. Here are a few tips on how to accomplish this:
- Physical Clutter- Go through your personal spaces (bedroom closets, kitchen cabinets, office drawers) and understand that it is a safe rule of thumb to get rid of anything you have not used or have little use of in the past 6 months or year.
- Digital Clutter- Start by setting up a digital filing system. Much of what is considered important come through your email. It may be helpful to create categories in your email inbox that corresponds to various aspects of your life, including home, family, and hobbies. Sort your emails into folders to delete and unsubscribe from unneeded emails.
3. Enjoy Breakfast & Eat Slower
It is known that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For those that suffer from various disorders, such as low blood sugar, then you may know just how important starting out this morning routine truly is. We all know and understand that there is very little time in the morning for things, such as eating slowly and enjoying food. Instead of eating quickly, give yourself time to be mindful of each bite. Eating quickly can lead to overeating and an overall lack of enjoyment of our food. Appreciate the flavors and textures of your food. Not only does eating slowly have the double benefit of making you feel fuller on less food, but it can also make the food taste better.
4. Spend Time in Nature
Slow living is a great way of reconnecting with nature by embracing seasonal living and getting outside more regularly. Many of us are disconnected from nature, whether it is because there is such little time in our busy days, or because we are stuck at a strenuous, stressful job. As a result of losing touch, our minds and bodies have become unaccustomed to the natural rhythms of life that stress is now the norm for many people. There is research that proves the benefits of being around plants and trees. Spending time in green spaces can reduce stressors, helping to aid in higher concentration levels. Take a deep breath of fresh air, and enjoy the serenity of water and greenery. Find outdoor activities that make you happy, whether it is going for hikes or swimming.
Single-tasking is the opposite of multitasking. Focusing on one thing at a time can prove to be beneficial in that whatever it is you are focusing on has your full attention, and therefore may be completed in a shorter amount of time, and done correctly. When you feel the urge to switch over to other tasks, take a moment to pause what you are doing, breathe, and reel yourself back in.
6. Be a Conscious Consumer
The art of slow living can lead to being more mindful of consumerism, as well as consumption of "stuff." Conscious consumption involves shopping in ways that make a positive impact on social, environmental, or economic impacts. This is a term that is described as "buying things with a clear conscience" or "modernized thrifting." This may involve purchasing products that are environmentally friendly, ethically produced, and/or cruelty-free.
Buying secondhand is a wonderful way of being a conscious consumer. Buying preloved means you are not contributing to the exploitation of garment workers, often forced to work indoors on unfair wages. You are saving money in doing this, and supporting local charities by shopping at a local op shop.
7. Start a Slow Hobby
Fully embrace slow living with a slow hobby. These can be activities that demand your undivided attention, forcing you to be conscious of your mindfulness, fully present, and focus on your task at hand. A few examples of slow hobbies can include:
- Cooking at Home
- Hiking and/or Walking
8. Drive Slowly
Driving at high speeds is synonymous with our fast-paced world, being responsible for traffic accidents, stress, and wasted fuel. Instead, get into the habit of slowing down when you drive. If that means leaving your destination earlier than usual, then consider waking up earlier than normal, and setting a routine. Appreciate your surroundings, and make it a peaceful time and space to contemplate your everyday life, and the sights you are passing. When you do this, driving will be more enjoyable and far safer for not only you but everyone else around you.
9. Grow it Yourself
A garden is a means of slowing down and finding the missing rhythm of nature and is an activity that unites advocates of slow living. As a society, we have lost touch with the natural cycle of life around us. We buy food all around the world, even if that means it is out of season here. As you get to know and grow your garden you may become familiar with seasonal rhythms. As your garden matures, you may feel more in harmony with nature's cycles, and the payoff of your hard work. Tending your plot and harvesting foods that you enjoy without the spray of chemicals can feel like a huge accomplishment.
10. Do Things the "Old Fashioned" Way
Slowing down to do something the "old-fashioned" way is a means of reconnecting with our past, whether it is culturally, or something as simple as a memory from your childhood. To slow down and enjoy a sense of accomplishment in what you are doing, finding gratefulness for the place of activities in your life. Here are some things that you can try to incorporate into your version of slow living:
- Learn to bake your bread.
- Wash your dishes by hand.
- Hang clothes to dry on a clothesline.
- Learn to can and preserve your garden harvest.
- Learn to forage your wild, edible food.
- Learn the art of soap making or other traditional skills.
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