In our fast-paced world, it can be hard to carve out time for you – time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the simple things in life. Instead of selling everything you own and moving to a farm on the countryside, try these ways to practice slow living.
What Is Slow Living?
Slow living is a lifestyle movement focused on spending your time more intentionally, engaging in mindful activities, and just generally slowing down the pace of your life. It goes against everything hustle culture stands for – the constant work, the overvaluing of productivity, the long hours. Instead, it prioritizes wellness and genuine enjoyment.
While the slow living movement is pretty new, the actual practice of slow living has been around forever. Before phone, computers, and mass production, people spent their free time pursuing slow hobbies and activities. Maybe they made bread from scratch, read books, and enjoyed the company of friends without distraction. Sure, some of it was still work, but it was slow, measured, intentional work. That’s what slow living is all about.
20 Ways to Implement Slow Living In Your Life
Not sure how to integrate slow living into your fast-paced life? Try these twenty tips and ideas!
- Start your day slowly
Your morning sets the tone of your whole day. Don’t roll out of bed and immediately check your email. Instead, spend time practicing mindfulness by having a cup of coffee or tea, reading a chapter of a book, or taking the dog for a walk.
- Limit multitasking
Did you know that multitasking is a myth? Your brain can’t actually focus on two things at once, only switch from one to the other rapidly. This quick, frantic switching only adds stress to your day. Set aside ample time to focus on one task at a time, and take breaks between tasks to clear your mind.
- Make a slow meal
I love an Oreo from time to time, but relying on processed foods means we don’t get to engage in one of the most fulfilling slow living activities there is… cooking! Start making things from scratch, even if it’s just a one-pot meal. Once you get the hang of it, cooking can be relaxing.
- Play calming music
You’d be surprised how much music can affect your mood! Opt for slow, gentle tunes to keep your heart rate down.
- Simplify your organizational systems
How much time and attention do you spend switching between calendar apps, to-do lists, and email platforms? By consolidating these systems into a single planner or app, you can save time and limit unnecessary screen exposure.
- Pare down your to-do list
Are all the items on your to-do list actually urgent? Are they important? If not, move them to another day or delete them altogether. This adds white space to your day and eliminates mental clutter.
- Buy less
Marketing tells us to buy, buy, buy. Try slowing down and thinking about your purchases. How will these purchases enrich your life? Will they add ease or more stress? Slow living is all about being intentional, and financial management is definitely an area of our lives that could benefit from that way of thinking.
- Notice the little things
When I’m overwhelmed, I like to do a simple exercise to help me notice the little things in my environment. Silently, I list five things I can see, four things I can feel, three things I can hear, two things I can smell, and one thing I can taste. It helps ground me in the present moment.
- Create a coffee, tea, or cacao ritual
Do you usually slurp down your coffee on your commute or while you answer emails? Try carving out just ten minutes for a dedicated coffee, tea, or cacao ritual. Be present while you prepare your drink, and drink it while setting some intentions for the day.
- Cultivate a mini garden
Even if you just grow a single basil plant, the process of planting, nurturing, and eventually harvesting your own plant is a great reminder of the slow processes happening all around us.
- Walk, don’t drive
Need to grab something from the store around the corner? Why not walk or ride your bike instead of driving there? Not everything has to be done as quickly as possible. A short walk is a great reminder to slow down.
- Craft a handmade gift
Not only are personal, handmade gifts always appreciated, they’re also a great way to slow down, focus on what’s right in front of you and be present.
- Say “no” to things that drain you
I’m not a fan of a full calendar, even if it’s a calendar full of fun things. It’s okay to say “no” to hangouts, parties, and activities that drain you.
- Allow for free time in your daily schedule
You don’t have to be productive every moment of every day (even if toxic hustle culture tells you otherwise). Allow for blank space in your schedule, and when that time comes, do whatever your body and mind need in the moment. It is healthy (and productive!) to take time off!
- Set your “away” message
Like, every weekend. If you don’t plan on working that day, set your “away” message so 1) senders know not to expect a reply until Monday and 2) you don’t feel pressured to check your email on your days off.
- Spend time outdoors
Nature is never in a hurry. Spend time watching birds, feeling the breeze, and getting in tune with the natural rhythms of the world around you.
- Simplify your space
A cluttered space makes for a cluttered mind. Get rid of things that add more stress to your life – like clothes you don’t wear or that chair that’s become a dirty laundry catch-all. (You know the one.)
- Give yourself time to reach deadlines
Just because you can have that project done in three days doesn’t mean you have to. If you have the luxury of setting your own deadlines, give yourself some extra space. You’ll be less likely to rush through it or work long days.
- Savor your meals
Instead of watching TV or scrolling TikTok while you eat, sit at your table or counter and eat without distractions. Chances are, you’ll appreciate the meal more and stop eating when you’re full.
- Practice doing nothing
It’s okay to do nothing. In fact, I encourage it! Spend time sitting outside or in your favorite chair just thinking and relaxing. It’s going to feel weird at first, but it’s the epitome of slow living.
Want more ease and calm in your life?
Why not add some childlike wonder and joy to your days? Check out my free guide with my top 15 life-changing habits to help you feel more balanced, productive and present.