Have you heard of the concept of “slow living?” Yeah, it’s really a thing, a “movement,” even. Come to think of it, I’ve been doing slow living for years, I just didn’t have a name for it. I actually really like the name, even though it is a little trendy. It’s simple, yet evocative, much like the movement itself. Another good name might be “Easy Living” which is somewhat more descriptive and a lot more fun.
What Is Slow Living?
Slow living, as the name implies, is living life at a slower pace, with greater emphasis balance and meaning. It got its start in the 1980s with the slow food movement and has expanded to include such things as slow art, slow fashion, slow travel, even slow education and slow media. When I think of slow living, I think of Thoreau and his Walden Pond, simple and extraordinary.
Slow living means that faster isn’t better, busyness doesn’t lead to balance and living life with purpose and meaning is fulfilling. Slow living is conscious, intentional and mindful. It leaves room for reflection and connection with people and nature. It’s a philosophy of life where one lives in a more balanced, meaningful and life-affirming way. You enjoy life more!
Sometimes I think the fast-paced nature of our lives today is more about denial than anything. When you slow down, you have time to explore your inner world, to discover who you really are. And that can be challenging. It’s easier to be too busy for that sort of thing.
Slow living doesn’t mean moving at a snails pace. It just means being mindful of your choices, prioritizing your time and being fully present. In exchange, you live a more stress free life and enjoy better relationships with those around you. Sound good to you? Here are my top 12 ways to practice slow living:
Ever notice that when your house is cluttered, you brain feels cluttered as well? Give away what you don’t need – furniture, tchotchkes, tools, linens, old bikes, whatever – and you’ll find you are less stressed and calmer.
While you’re at it, declutter your devices. Get rid of apps you don’t use. Declare one day a week as “Digital Detox” day. Use technology intentionally and make it work for you instead of the other way around.
Do whatever you do with passion and creativity.
Do things well, instead of fast. Slowing down your pace and being more conscientious makes for a more enjoyable activity.
Spend time in quiet meditation.
Meditation helps you to connect more easily to the present moment, a key component of slow living.
Find happiness in the small things.
Spending time in your garden, watching a kitten play, writing a letter – these are all things that create joy, if you let them.
Spend time outdoors.
There’s nothing like a quiet walk in a beautiful forest, or city park, or along a beach. I don’t mean the kind of walk you do for fitness, I mean an intentional walk, noticing what you notice.
Spend time reading everyday.
Read for pleasure and enjoy the places it takes you.
Simplify your wardrobe.
Clean out that closet and don’t buy more unless you must. Less clothing means less to take care of and less time picking out an outfit. Not to mention the benefits it has on the environment.
Cook meals at home more.
Home cooked meals are usually healthier, less expensive and chock full of love! Make it an enjoyable experience by trying new simple recipes and foods you haven’t tried before.
Buy local, organic produce.
The philosophy of the slow food movement is based on three interconnected priciples: food should be good (healthy and flavorful), clean (doesn’t harm the environment) and fair (is priced fairly for both the consumer and the producer).
When you buy less, you are less focused on the need to make as much money as you can. Less consumerism is also good for the environment.
Spend time with friends.
Enjoy the simple pleasure of connecting with loved ones. Have a friend for tea, cook a family dinner, make a regular walking date with a buddy.