Our lives are always full of work, family, and different commitments, compared to the previous generations, and the pace of our lives accelerates every year. Being busy is a status symbol nowadays to show success. You are not successful if you need to get eight hours of sleep per night, as the precious time is wasted.
Modern life endlessly pushes us to do more, buy more, and be more every day. Motivational speakers teach us how to do everything at once, media influencers brag about their incredible achievements and productivity, business coaches insist that everybody needs to build their successful career as early as possible. We listen to them and race, faster and faster. Our rushing comes at a high cost, though. The quality of our work suffers because of endless fatigue, stress and self-dissatisfaction usually results in nervous breakdowns, insomnia, or even depression. Our hard-earned finances are getting spent on treatment. On top of that, our families suffer. Is it really what we need? Is it worth it?
Good thing there is a cure. The slow living movement that started from food in Italy in the 1980s has gained popularity and eventually expanded in all areas of our lives. If you try to apply the philosophy of slow living to your life, it will be more mindful and have a purpose, and you may benefit from it. You will save money because you live a healthier lifestyle. Since you eat better food, seldom get sick, and experience less stress, it gives you more energy to do your best, follow your dreams, start a business, or achieve other financial goals. Slowing down allows you to understand and connect with yourself more, and finally find the time to spend with your friends and family, enjoying your life and living it to the fullest.
Carl Honore, the bestselling author of "In Praise of Slowness," defines slow living best when he says, "It is not about doing everything at a snail's pace. It's about seeking to do everything at the right speed, savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It's about maximizing quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting to sex."
So, contrary to the common misconceptions such as slow living is for the country folks only, or you need to give up technology or be less productive slow living is a mindset for everyone. Whether you live in a city or the countryside, you should stick to your own idea of success, setting priorities and assigning the right amount of time to each thing that needs to be done, and ensuring that technology is not distracting us by acknowledging the need for screen downtime in this digital age.
Check some examples below and also look at our collection of stock photos to have a better idea of the famous concept:
- Removing all the junk in your life and stepping down from relationships with toxic people, spending time with those only who are dear to you;
- Removing all the junk in your house, decluttering it room by room, donating anything that you no longer need or what no longer makes you happy;
- Being efficient at work, so you do not need to do overtime, and not overbook your free time to avoid rushing to places every time;
- Shopping mindfully and buying only the things that you need or things that bring you joy, investing in experiences instead, and doing something that you have never done before;
- When traveling, savoring every moment slowly and absorb the place atmosphere;
- Caring for pets, plants, tending to the garden to connect with nature;
- Limiting your screen time (watching TV, unnecessary browsing, or checking social networks), instead, giving preferences to hobbies and practicing active listening in communication;
- Preparing your own food and drinks;
- Having mandatory me-time.
Switching to a new way of living may not be easy for those who got used to a fast pace and tight schedules. The main point is to get rid of the fake feeling of guilt for "not being productive" and stop setting unreal goals that need to be achieved in a record time. Remember, you do not need to live up to someone else's idea of success. With the help of simple tips, you may come to a conscious and better life, understand yourself and your emotions, forget about the constant race and feel alive again.
Quality over quantity: set your priorities
Review your to-do list and remove anything that requires multitasking, then concentrate on the items one by one, starting with the most important. In this way, the necessary things will be done more effectively as there will be no distraction. This rule applies not to work only but to different areas of your life such as cleaning up your house, meeting with friends, or having a date.
Dedicate 5 minutes to yourself only: learn how to relax
We may sacrifice our sleep for the sake of others, as it seems to us, more "important" tasks. As a result, anxiety and stress levels rise as we do not have enough rest during sleep. As much as possible, try not to deal with work issues outside of working hours. Instead, use your spare time for yourself and your family, sports or hobbies, outdoor activities. At least an hour a day, Devote at least one hour a day to yourself only. During this time, do not reply to messages, do not check social networks, do not read the news. Instead, take a bath, go for a stroll, or try to sit in silence and do nothing for five minutes. Don't think about the past or the future, don't make lists of groceries to buy, don't make plans, don't make any movements - just try to enjoy doing nothing to feel refreshed. Five minutes will seem like an eternity, but the effect is worth it.
Routine to rituals: how to enjoy even mundane things
Every day we do a lot of things mechanically: making the bed, brushing our teeth, making breakfast, having coffee. Make it a pleasant ritual. Buy lovely fragrant hand soap to lift your spirits every time you wash your hands. Do a meal prep twice a week to ensure enjoyable and healthy meals every time you get hungry. Fold or iron your clothes; imagine how flawless they will be next time you wear them. Buy a new book or transfer 5 dollars to an animal shelter. Smile at a passer-by on the street, and the smile you get in return is another good reason to feel better, even for just a second. The ability to enjoy simple things is the very basis of a happy life. What a great coffee you have had for breakfast today, isn't it? Have you seen a sunrise? Please take a moment to appreciate the simplicity; it is a good idea to take notes of good experiences and what to be thankful for.
Remove the junk
This rule concerns both your personal life and your house. First, let go of any communication with toxic people that give you anxiety or discomfort and spend more time with your friends or family members. Then, do a digital detox: unfollow those accounts that are no longer interesting to you, delete the applications you do not use, clean up the phone numbers and gallery.
Refuse to do anything that does not make you happy. It's important to realize that when you say yes to something, you're saying no to everything else you could be doing during that time. Thinking about a choice this way can help you make the right choice in each situation.
Organize your home to live simply with no clutter. Many of our preloved household items that still sit in the storage or closet may be repurposed with new life and style or donated. Once you let go of things you no longer need, you will have more space and air. Decluttering is a simple way to cultivate calmness and be re-inspired by what is around us.
Slow food, slow fashion, slow traveling
You need to enjoy food at all stages, starting from its preparation to serving and savoring it.
Do not rush when eating, do not browse your phone, do not eat on the go. Make sure you love the dishes you eat from, as even everyday plates and utensils have to be delightful. Whenever possible, use seasonal produce and support local farmers instead of big groceries.
Since fast fashion is harmful to the environment (we highlighted this already in the Zero Waste article), go for one but a high-quality item that will be appropriate for a long time. Slow living fashion has its own aesthetics, but it is not necessary to invest in it. A capsule wardrobe is a thing nowadays that can save you money by reducing clothing purchases and helping you be more intentional about the items you buy. It also helps keep your closet organized and clutter-free.
While traveling, you may want to meet the locals, walk to new places without a specific plan, sit for hours on the terrace with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and watch people passing by. Remember, the main thing in slow travel is not to finish your itinerary in one day but to feel the atmosphere of the place and live in a moment, here and now.
Hobbies and sports
Devote a few hours per week to your hobbies. In this way, your body copes with the stress better and improves concentration, and you have a better mood as you relax and do what you like. As for sports, even active and fast sports like jogging, swimming, or even Muay Thai fit perfectly into slow living. However, keep in mind that you do them only if you enjoy them; it is unnecessary to do something popular. Instead, do activities that you like and make your body strong and healthy. It may be yoga, high-intensity workouts, or even Zumba dancing!
The slow living movement resonates with so many because people are getting sick of fast-forwarding through their lives and the consequences of that lifestyle. Of course, there is no one general way to slow down or how to live simply. Each person has their values and lifestyle, their places where mindfulness works best for them, and we wish that you find your own, too.
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