I haven’t written anything for nearly a month. Time flies and I’ve been very busy with everything constantly changing. Thankfully all the changes have been good and I am looking forward to learning as much as possible on my new journey.
Our lives have become very fast, rushed, and timed. It seems like everybody is running out of time. Catching trains, work commitments, meetings with friends, going to events, fitness centers …
But when do we stop? Take some time for ourselves? Slow down and just breathe.
I’ve been running around a lot recently, but my preference is to live at a much slower pace. I would like to start living slow. To have a life that is full but mindful.
It is in our nature to live in the moments but we somehow lost contact with our skills to live slowly. We used to be great at doing this as children, we once mastered it.
To stop for a moment. And just be. Let your mind take a break from all happenings and feelings. Enjoy the stillness and the flow of your breath.
I try to slow myself down, at least once per day… and just enjoy the present moment.
What is Slow Living?
Slow living is an approach to life that goes from what you eat to how you plan your holidays.
Some people think this is a privilege for people who don’t have jobs or responsibilities. But living slow isn’t only for those who can afford cottages in the country and linen sheets.
The concept was created due to the slow food movement that prefers local and traditional cuisine over fast food. Here’s how the story goes.
A branch of McDonald’s was going to be opened at the Spanish Steps in Rome in 1986. Only to find a group of Italian activists demonstrating and throwing a big pasta feast to protest the historic site. They opposed the commercialization of an ancient city. And some years later they created a manifesto that inspired the slow living movement that we know today.
The Concept of Slow Living
You can incorporate slow living in any way that works for you. Below are some examples of what it means to live slow and how you can start making changes.
1. Being Present in the Moment
I’ve written about how reading a book on mindfulness changed my life.
Being fully there in the present moment is actually a proven tool recommended by psychologists to combat depression and anxiety.
Forming habits like making and drinking tea in the morning, journaling, listening to music, meditating, or taking a hot bath, can help you escape your constant inner dialogue, I call it mind chatter.
This is my big pain point, as I’m definitely one of those people who worry too much, both about the past and future.
I also tend to overthink things and am only now learning to give preference to taking action and enjoying the process. Being more connected to the present, I can appreciate life’s small pleasures and gain a perspective which in turn helps me make decisions.
2. A slow approach to everyday life
Everyone is ‘super busy’ no matter in what stage of their life they’re in. It’s the way we were brought up.
Most of us feel proud when we say we are busy. Because it means that we must be doing something important.
But it couldn’t be further from the truth. Because leading a very busy life doesn’t equal living a full life, or being content and happy.
You can start applying an intentional and balanced approach at work, your hobbies, and travels. Here are some ideas on how you can do this:
Cut down on work meetings
Who benefits from calendars packed with meetings anyway? You don’t get much done and usually, meetings can be cut in half. Always have an agenda for every meeting and stick to the designated time. The standard 1-hour meetings can be done in 30 minutes. Unless you use meetings to chat about all sorts of other things.
Avoid interruptions that could be avoided
Do you get interrupted by unplanned phone calls all the time? If this happens on a daily basis then you need to set some boundaries. Unless it’s urgent, people can contact you via chat platforms if they need to get your attention, which means that you can answer on your time. You can also designate an hour each day for phone calls, and ask people to leave messages or emails so that you can prepare ahead of the phone call.
Choose the hobbies you enjoy most
You don’t have to do every activity you’ve heard of. Try out several different ones, but then decide which ones bring you the most joy. And then do them as often as you like, but don’t commit to a strict schedule. You want to really enjoy your time and your hobbies should not become an errand or another tick box exercise.
Reduce Time Spent on Devices
Modern devices have become a part of our attire. We consume content 24 hours per day 365 days a year. And it can get overwhelming, especially with so many different social media tools and streaming devices. Finding a balance in consuming content will help you take charge of technology, instead of technology dictating your life. Find time to disconnect by doing things where you don’t need any devices. A bath or a walk with your dog seems like a great idea.
3. Get to know your local community
We are buried in the world of online connections, sometimes having several different apps to chat to different people in different countries. It’s definitely a positive thing to be able to keep in touch with friends & family who live far away. But because we spend a lot of our time online we can become very disconnected from our local community.
There are many gatherings and activities in every community, but we have to go out and join them. You can start by connecting to your neighbors, having an occasional conversation with them, or even sit down for a coffee together. By forming a relationship with your neighbor you can share your ideas about the local community and who knows, maybe even start to make some positive changes. Or just talk about your life in general, it feels good to connect with others.
One of the things I really like is organizing board game nights. It’s nice to meet people without the constant distraction of our phones, and board games are guaranteed to be a lot of fun.
The same goes for travel. When we travel only to photograph major tourist attractions and ignore the local communities, we don’t get much out of our travel. The locals can teach us about their culture and values and can open our minds to new perspectives.
4. Faster isn’t always better
It takes a long time for a seed to grow into a tree and the same goes for anything in life. There are no shortcuts that would give us a magic solution. Yet we are sold on the idea that the results of our work should come fast.
But the things you have to wait and be patient for are usually the best. The art of writing a book takes time. Writers are known to retreat somewhere quiet – a cabin in the woods or to a small island, where nobody could distract them, and the internet connection is slow.
Slower processes give us a better insight and more room for creativity.
5. Consume less
Consuming less relates to material possessions that we don’t necessarily need in our lives. It’s not about being intentional with the things you buy – to know exactly why you purchased something and what purpose will it serve. This will be different for different people.
Buy less will help you feel lighter, as stockpiling things we use very rarely, if ever, will make your home feel crammed, and all those things will need to be looked after.
You don’t have to be a minimalist to reduce your spending. Be conscious of what you already have and see if you can give a second life to things that you wanted to throw away. Sometimes it helps to take stock of what you already have before heading off to the shopping center.
The pursuit of status symbols and material possessions won’t ever bring you happiness. By consuming less will get more time and freedom to be able to invest in quality products and services. Which you can enjoy for years to come.
Imagine having a choice to not have to work overtime just to pay off debts. Or the freedom to leave a job that no longer makes you happy.
Books on Slow Living
If you are interested to read more about slow living and how to transition into a more slow and intentional life, you can read the following books.
Honoré’s book on Slow Movement is a mix of personal storytelling, primary and secondary research. In the book the author also discuses slowness in relation to medicine, children/parenting, and more.
Brooke McAlary writes about how you can choose to slow down. The book’s mission is to give an introductory overview of slow living and the importance of finding your own “why.” The “hows” must come from you. There’s a clear theme that the “hows” require you to take action and “do the work”.
For more on living a more simple life, closer to nature, you can visit and subscribe to my YouTube channel Nature with Marusa
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