A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SLOW LIVING
The world is a busy and complicated place. In this guest article by Cora Gold from Revivalist Magazine, we share some tips on how to find more peace and calm in your daily life with a beginner’s guide to slow living.
SLOW LIVING IN A BUSY WORLD
We live in a fast-paced world of 24-hour information overload, interactions with other people and long commutes. Burnout is all but a sure thing amid rising inflation and a looming recession. People who’ve adapted to busy careers, household responsibilities and the mere charge of their morning coffee may not have noticed just how little time they spend on themselves.
Slowing down is almost an anomaly — some may claim they don’t even know the meaning. Fortunately, a recent movement has taken shape to reconnect us to the things we cherish — slow living. The concept underscores the importance of living with greater intention and mindfulness.
WHAT IS SLOW LIVING
Those who’ve mastered slow living have learned to retreat from the everyday stress that drags their mental health down. While it isn’t necessarily a full stop, it allows you to move at a more comfortable pace — many associate slow living with joy, comfort, calmness and connection with gentle activities that spark happiness.
Finding ways to unplug and step into the present moment is a cornerstone of slow living, such as leaving your phone at home, turning off your work computer on Friday afternoon or removing the television from your bedroom. Ultimately, slow living encourages reflection and creating greater balance in your life, which will trickle down to your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 87% of Americans are stressed about rising inflation and 81% about supply chain issues. Another 62% worry about mass shootings, while 55% worry about climate change.
The environment is becoming more of a concern, with experts predicting that climate change will cause more damage over the next 30 years. Many people want to make a change in their lifestyle, both to make a positive difference in the world and to relieve their day-to-day stress. Slow living can be a great solution to both.
Of course, you don’t need much free time to live more slowly — research indicates people need only two to five hours of downtime to be content with their lives. While slow living won’t make your problems or stress disappear, it could offer temporary relief and relaxation.
8 HELPFUL TIPS FOR SLOWING DOWN
Slow living is as straightforward as it sounds. However, it could take some effort if you usually live in the fast lane. Here are eight ways to implement a slow living routine into your life.
1. Play With Lighting
Natural light is crucial to slow living, so open your blinds and let the sunshine in. If your windows are dirty after a long, harsh winter, now is an excellent time to clean them.
Of course, slow living isn’t just for daytime hours or the spring and summer months — that’s why playing around with light can make a difference, especially in the dark winter.
Overhead lighting can irritate your eyes. Instead, ensure there are plenty of lamps with three-way light bulbs and dimmers. You might also use candles to set a more relaxing mood.
2. Design a Cosy Nook
Picture creating the cosiest place in your house you can imagine — what would it look like? Dedicating a corner of your home for moments of comfort and relaxation will encourage slowing down.
You might design a cosy nook near a fireplace if you have one — that way, you can sit quietly in the winter and enjoy the warmth. Regardless of the season, your nook should have comfortable furniture, such as an armchair with soft pillows and a throw blanket.
Consider painting the walls a neutral color. Adding decorative houseplants will also calm you, purify the air and bring natural smells into your house.
3. Declutter Excess Stuff
Excess clutter is enough to cause anyone stress. As a result, many people integrate a minimalist lifestyle into slow living.
Make a conscious effort to keep only the most useful essentials — including belongings that make you happy — and let go of the rest. While tossing out items may seem overwhelming in the beginning, you can view the process as a cleansing ritual.
4. Start Cooking at Home
After a long day at work and dropping the kids off at practice, the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove. Yet, cooking at home can be enjoyable if we create space for it in our lives.
Try to eat locally grown, seasonal produce for ample nutrition and the freshest flavor. Hot and hearty food — stews, mashed potatoes, casseroles — is also comforting in the fall and winter months. Slow living paves the way for growing your food and exploring new ingredients.
5. Create Traditions
Think back to the family traditions you grew up with as a child — remember how much joy they brought you? Now consider what new traditions you can start in the present.
Traditions are something to look forward to, whether it’s watching your favourite holiday movie at the start of the season, sharing something you’re grateful for at dinner or visiting an apple orchard each fall. Whatever you decide, traditions should evoke warmth and happiness.
6. Begin a Creative Hobby
It’s crucial to immerse yourself in creative activities during stressful times. Creativity draws your awareness away from the situation and allows you to hone your focus on other matters. Creative hobbies also improve your mental health.
A recent study reported creativity was associated with greater well-being and less stress in undergraduate students in China. The next time you find yourself with free time or looking for something to do, consider photography, painting, writing, crocheting, creating floral arrangements, carpentry or something else that stimulates the mind.
7. Walk in Nature
Ask anyone who practices slow living about the most essential component of the movement, and they’ll tell you it’s spending time outdoors. One study even suggested that a mere 120 minutes in nature weekly benefited people’s health and well-being.
Several things happen when you spend time outdoors — for starters, a gentle hike without your phone beeping away keeps you more engaged in the present moment. It also allows you to tap into the five senses and appreciate simplicity.
Other outdoor activities for people who enjoy slow living include gardening, reading on the patio, socialising with friends and meditating.
8. Share Your Life With Others
With more time for simple enjoyment, slow living cultivates deeper relationships with family, friends, partners and your community. Make a conscious decision to listen and communicate with loved ones — get involved in people’s lives again.
Likewise, share what’s happening in your life with others, including recent successes, troubles and goals you’ve set.
Now is a great time to find like-minded people to expand your friend group. Consider joining a club or other meet-up event in your community to interact with new people. You never know if you will meet another person who values a slower-paced life like you.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE BY SLOWING DOWN
We often get so wrapped up in expectations, obligations and worries that we must remember what matters most. Essentially, adopting the slow-living lifestyle encourages you to take control of your life instead of allowing each day to pass you by.
- How to Introduce Slow Living to the Whole Family – Slow living encourages us to stop chasing and doing and be more mindful in enjoying the present moment. If you’re keen to step away from the fast lane and have a better quality of life as a family, in this guest post from Mia Barnes from Body+Mind magazine, here are some tips on how to introduce slow living to the whole family.
- What Is Intentional Living? A Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Meaningful Life – What is intentional living and why does it matter? If you’re feeling unsettled, frustrated, like something is missing or life isn’t turning out quite how you expected, then this article is for you. This is a beginner’s guide to creating a meaningful life with more of what matters and less of what doesn’t.
- How to Make Time for What Matters Most: 8 Practical Tips – Life can be complicated and pull us away from our priorities. It requires a conscious effort to create time, space and freedom for the things we want to do, not just what we need to do. In this article I’m sharing 8 practical tips to help you make time for what matters most.