Do you wish time would slow down? The slow living movement is the answer to curbing your stress and slowing the rush.
We live in a fast-paced world: fast food, high-speed internet, no wait time! Everywhere we turn, companies are promoting the idea that fast is good and slow is bad.
But we all get only one lifetime. It’s finite. Maybe we get 80 years (if we’re lucky). Some get more, and many others get less. With all this racing around, it’s easy to feel like our time is speeding by and we’re always in a hurry.
Here’s how the slow living movement will help you slow down.
Time to Slow Down with Slow Living
Slow living has been around for the last few decades, but recently, the idea has become even more popular. It seems that as life gets faster, we like the idea of going a little slower.
When we feel rushed, we miss out on the precious little moments. We’re on our phone, looking up answers, and connecting with people, but we’re disconnected.
Fast life is complicated and stressful. We may feel like we’re packing in more activity, but for most of us, we end up feeling frazzled and rushed.
Slowing down enables us to stop and smell the roses. We end up connecting more deeply with others. We’re more present, mindful, and deliberate. We find a greater sense of purpose when we slow down and take control of our time.
When I decided to simplify my life, my schedule was one of the most significant areas of impact. I had to take control of my time. I was always busy, but I wasn’t achieving what I wanted to do.
Once I began to focus on living more slowly and intentionally, I started to feel time slow down. The moments I spent with my son and husband were more meaningful. We didn’t feel rushed all the time. We started to appreciate our time together.
If this sounds good to you, then join the slow living movement. Here’s what you need to know to slow down and bring more meaning and purpose to your life!
How to Embrace the Slow Living Movement
1. Be Mindful and Present
Slow living is mindful living. If you want to slow down time, you need to shift your mindset and focus on the present moment.
Being present isn’t easy. There are so many thoughts racing around in our heads. Many of us are worried about what happened at work. We’re thinking about what we need to do tomorrow, playing over a conversation with a friend that didn’t go well or wondering what we should wear to our meeting.
All these thoughts essentially become brain clutter. They add up to a lot of noise and take away from our focus. Unfortunately, there’s no “switch” we can flip to suddenly turn mindful. Mindfulness requires study and practice.
Regular meditation helps us learn to bring our mind “online,” so we’re in the moment. Think of meditation like a session at the gym. When you exercise your body, the effects (more energy, increased metabolism, a fitter physique) are seen for hours, even days after.
Similarly, meditation is exercising your mindful mind. When you practice, you will eventually see the effects all the time. You’ll be mentally in shape!
2. Connect with People
Slow living is all about connecting with those around us. How many of us would like to sit and visit with a friend, but think, I don’t have the time!?
If we slow down and prioritize our schedule, we will find time for our in-person relationships, conversations, and connections we need.
People spend so much time on their digital relationships. Social media gives us all these superficial connections, but we lack the real moments that build a true friendship.
Instead of focusing on our screens, the slow living movement encourages people to spend time focused on their real-life connections.
3. Spend Time Outdoors
Nature helps us slow down. The ancient Japanese tradition of forest bathing is where people go into the woods and spend time with nature to meditate and reconnect with themselves. This practice has proven health benefits, including positive effects on participants’ mental health.
Even if you don’t forest bathe, you get many of the same positive effects by spending time outdoors. Sunshine gives us vitamin D. Gardening and digging in the dirt exposes us to beneficial bacteria to strengthen our immune system.
Time outdoors helps us to reconnect with the earth. We slow down, breathe in the fresh air, and notice the cycles and rhythms of nature.
Following these rhythms helps us feel calm and present.
4. Focus on Your Health
If we want more time and longer life, we need to prioritize our health. When we’re sick, tired, and unhealthy, our energy wanes, and our focus is weak.
On the other hand, when we feel well, we have stamina. We’re able to exercise for more extended periods. We’re not dragged down by tiredness and exhaustion.
I used to think self-care meant time spent in bed resting or sleeping. I’ve found, though, the more I slow down, the more energy I have. While it’s important to rest when your body needs a break, it’s surprising how much peppier and upbeat you feel when you’re living simply and slow.
It’s crucial to realize stress has a powerful effect on our body. Feeling rushed, busy, and overwhelmed leaves us drained. The rat race is exhausting.
The healthier you are, the better your quality of life. If you want to enjoy your life, it’s essential to take care of your body. After all, you only get one body. Care for it, appreciate it, and nurture it.
5. Live with Less
Minimalism was profoundly life-changing for me. When I learned to live with less, everything in my life fell into place. I felt a greater sense of purpose. I was more mindful and it made me happier.
We’re often bogged down by clutter and stuff, rushing to the store to buy one more item, rushing to work to earn more money to buy more stuff. Our schedules are jam-packed with social obligations and commitments. We’re overwhelmed and stretched thin.
The more you simplify, the easier your life becomes. When you live with less, you feel free to spend less time fretting about money. You worry about the future less. You have what you need, and it becomes enough.
If you want to live slow, declutter. Organize your home. Empty your calendar. Minimalism allows you to live with more purpose and more intentionality.
6. Eat Mindfully
The origins of the slow living movement were food-based. People came up with the “slow food movement” to counteract the fast food trend. The idea was to slow down and appreciate your meals, eating mindfully.
When we think about our meals, they become healthier. Preparing healthy dishes with unprocessed, whole ingredients takes time. Instead of choosing convenience, slow food requires you to select technique, flavor, and quality.
Not only are the results delicious, but mindful eating helps us return to the social aspects of dining. Instead of rushing to eat, we’re breaking bread with loved ones. We’re gathered around a table, engaging in a conversation, and enjoying dinner.
7. Organize Your Schedule
If you want to take back your time and join the slow living movement, you must organize your schedule. Instead of rigidly organizing your agenda to fit even more into your day, consider ways to block off time for yourself. Think of your time as a resource; it’s essential to replenish your time before you give it to anyone else.
Prioritize self-care and time to clear your mind. Organize your schedule so you can relax and fully immerse yourself in time with your kids, your spouse, or your friends. Instead of being haunted by tasks you “should” do, let yourself slow down and say no.
Many of us are accustomed to saying yes to any request that comes our way. It’s perfectly fine, and even healthy, to become stingy with our time.
When you need to work, block out your time, and use productivity-boosting techniques to mindfully and efficiently complete a task. Let go of the idea that multitasking is more productive. Instead, focus on a singular task utilizing a method like Pomodoro or time blocking.
8. Turn Off Technology
Is technology eating up your time? When I decided to clean up my digital life, I went on a digital detox. Cleaning up my tech life meant taking a break from social media, turning off my notifications, and learning to put down my phone. At first, it was difficult, and I felt like I was missing out on so much.
But after taking a digital break for a while, I felt so much better. I was more mindful. My relationships were more important, and I wasn’t wasting time online.
According to one study, American adults spend 8.5 hours online each day. In the UK, adults spend 8 hours online. Some countries had even higher screen time numbers, and the rest of the world isn’t far behind. Despite being globally connected, many of us feel disconnected.
Turn off your screen and you may discover more time than you previously realized.
Clutter is chaos. When you live in a chaotic state, how much time do you spend looking for a receipt, searching for a pair of shoes, or wondering where you put a pair of scissors? We’ve all been there.
Clutter wastes our valuable time. It feels busy because clutter is often stimulating. We’re distracted by all that’s going on. We may even find comfort in clutter because we feel like we’re storing items on hand, should we ever need them.
Decluttering helps us reclaim our time and our lives. If you need help decluttering, check out these resources:
- 10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home from Becoming Minimalist
- How to Declutter Your Home Room by Room from the Spruce
- How to Declutter a Room from Good Housekeeping
- 18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips from Zen Habits
10. Embrace Quiet
The slow living movement is all about being calm, peaceful, and quiet. Now, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t enjoy a concert or sing along to your favorite song on the radio.
But when was the last time you went for a jog or walk without headphones? When was the last time you drove to work without playing a podcast? When did you last work in silence?
Again, noise and chaos keep us distracted. Commotion helps us feel like we’re being busy (and therefore getting more accomplished). When there’s noise around us, it’s exciting, and we’re stimulated.
Quiet, on the other hand, allows us to focus on our thoughts. While this is often uncomfortable at first, eventually, it leads to more mindfulness and clarity.
11. Focus on One Task at a Time
Multitasking feels productive. When we’ve got many irons in the fire, we feel busy. We may even feel good about all we’re “handling.”
Handling multiple tasks at once often means we’re only dedicating part of our mind and focus to the job in front of us. We’re not entirely engaged, and therefore, we make mistakes, tasks take longer than anticipated, and we’re not as productive as we feel.
Studies show multitasking isn’t as good as it’s cracked up to be. Instead, focusing on one task that we do deliberately and mindfully allows us to engage fully. We’re able to get in the right mindset, and ultimately, we’re able to achieve more.
12. Set Simple Habits
Slowing down means setting positive habits. Drinking more water, washing your face before bed, making your bed in the morning, setting up for tomorrow…these all become routine actions to help us slow down.
We spend a great deal of time thinking about what we need to do next. We may worry about what to wear tomorrow, what we should deal with, or the state of our finances. When we set up simple habits, like laying out our clothes the night before or checking our bank account a few times a week, we no longer need to worry about decisions.
Slow living means adopting timesaving routines, not to get more done, but to free up more time for the activities that matter to you.
With more free time, you will enjoy your loved ones, engage in self-care activities to bring you a sense of peace and nourishment, or reconnect with your spouse and children.
In the end, we all get 24 hours in a day. We can’t do anything about the quantity of time we have, but the slow living movement helps us increase our quality of life.