The 5 myths about slow living
Slow living stands in contrast to the expectations of modern-day Western culture. As summer begins, we have more time to enjoy nature and prioritize what truly matters.
Slow living is mindful living
At its core, slow living is the deliberate embrace of quality over quantity. It involves consciously choosing a more deliberate and unhurried pace. It encourages us to slow down, be present, and find joy in the simple pleasures.
When we take our time throughout the day, we can focus on the important aspects of our lives, from fostering deeper connections with our families and friends to finding ways to understand ourselves better, exploring the charms of the outdoors to better appreciating the food we eat or the environment in which we surround ourselves.
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
The slow-living movement emerged as a response to the frantic pace of modern life in the whirlwind advancements of the 1980s. What originally focused on quality cuisine and the traditions of cultural dishes in Italy starting as the “Slow Food Movement,” quickly gained traction as a holistic approach to counterbalancing the negative effects of consumerism and technology overload that has become commonly associated with “burnout.”
In a life so fast-paced we can forget to breathe, slow living is a reminder to set your own pace and experience how breathing can renew your focus and wellbeing.
Counterbalance modern culture with slow living
Modern Western Culture emphasizes productivity, instant gratification, and constant connectivity, which has resulted in 34% of US adults, and 1 in 6 people in the UK, experiencing anxiety and stress disorders. Endless connectivity, consistent images of chaos and rapidly moving news cycles, an expectation of constant striving leaves us feeling overwhelmed and disconnected.
Even when we are convincing ourselves to keep going, our bodies are telling us to stop. Slow living challenges this cultural norm by urging us to prioritize self-care through personal reflection and mindful engagement, reintroducing us to our ability to consistently focus with foundations found in the science behind FLOWN. It encourages us to regain control of our time and cultivate a deeper sense of fulfilment.
Slow living and the benefits of wellbeing
By slowing down, we can restore our energy and find greater satisfaction in our professional and personal lives. Reduce stress, increase mindfulness, and improve mental clarity. Slow living fosters creativity by reducing distractions and giving us enough mental acuity to focus on the present, to explore our emotions, and discover new perspectives.
Rather than chasing the unreachable end of a limitless list of tasks only to look up and find the days and the weeks have passed by, slow living immerses us in time, where we can identify how we want to spend our hours: reading, walking, playing in the park, taking an art class—the options are endless and ours to explore. We experience the benefits of overall wellbeing by paying attention to how we want to live instead of how we are trained to live.
Slow down with guided awe walks
Awe walks involve taking a leisurely stroll, paying attention to the small details around you, and being mindful of the beauty of nature. Accessible from wherever you are, these live guided audio experiences are designed to help foster a sense of peace and appreciation, and recharge your brain for whatever you need to do next.
Summer is for slow living
Nature has a way of grounding us, of reminding us of the beauty and simplicity of life. Slow living is all about experiencing the joy and beauty of life, and summer embodies the perfect season to embrace nature, bask in the warm months, and to appreciate the present moment.
Summer is enduring, a nostalgic time for adults who remember holidays away from school, family trips, or exploring our neighborhood in new ways before realizing the sun set far later than usual. It is during this enchanting season we find solace in nature and take advantage of its ability to ground our spirits and illuminate beauty often overlooked when we are rushing from place to place.
Nature exemplifies the importance of time in the simplest ways. The gentle whispers of an evening breeze, the rustling leaves, and the vibrant colors of blossoming flowers invite into the art of living slowly.
Follow winding trails in search of fragrant wildflowers. Trade confinement for freedom in the open spaces near a creak or even a lush park. In these moments, we enjoy the transformative power of the natural world. Our worries disappear and our minds refresh when we experience an Awe walk in nature.
According to a 2019 Harvard study, just 20 minutes in nature can relieve stress. Nature can also improve memory and teach empathy as we learn to appreciate the delicate balance of ecosystems.
5 practical tips to adopt slow living
So now you know the broader concepts for slow living, it’s time to find specific methods you can use to adopt slow living into your daily life and routines.
Transitioning to slow living doesn't have to be an overwhelming task. By incorporating practical and actionable steps into your daily practices, you can gradually adapt to an intentional lifestyle. From establishing a schedule in line with how you prefer to move throughout the day with a procrastination-free morning routine to understanding the best times in your day to disconnect from media or technology, these tips will help you create a conducive environment for productivity, focus, and personal growth.
1. Simplify your schedule
Simplify your schedule and prioritize activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Start by saying no to unnecessary commitments that drain your time and energy. Evaluate your obligations by identifying which ones align with your values and goals for the day, month, year, or beyond.
For instance, if attending social events that don't resonate with you and that leave you feeling drained, consider declining; opt for more meaningful gatherings or solo activities that leave you feeling fresh and recharged.
Declutter your calendar, set aside specific time blocks for activities that bring you joy, such as painting, reading, or going for a nature walk. By simplifying your schedule and focusing on activities that nourish your sense of wellbeing, you embody slow living that creates space for creativity, inspiration, and a more fulfilling life.
2. Disconnect intentionally
Set boundaries with technology. This can help you reclaim your time and mental space. Establish tech-free hours or designate specific days for digital detoxes. During these periods, disconnect from screens and embrace activities that promote relaxation and being present. According to the Cleveland Clinic, tucking your phone away an hour or two before bed is a good rule to relieve anxiety, give you time to unwind, and help your sleep patterns.
Designate one day per week as a digital detox day, where you abstain from using electronic devices or social media and engage in activities like hiking, yoga, or creative pursuits. By setting boundaries with technology, you create opportunities for deeper connection, self-reflection, and experiencing the world beyond your screen, allowing your mind to wander and creatively flourish.
3. Prioritize self-care
Self-care is far more than a bubble bath or weekly pampering session. Prioritizing self-care is an integral aspect of embracing slow living because of how it encourages us to set a quieter pace and check in with ourselves amidst the endless bustle of daily life. Self-care is about daily activities that nourish the mind, body, and soul. Engaging in practices like meditation, dancing, or taking a leisurely walk disconnects you from the frenetic speed we often find ourselves in.
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"There is more to life than increasing its speed."
Which activity you choose is up to your preference and depends on your tastes, from cooking to swimming, making collages to knitting, self-care gives you a space for mental rejuvenation. By consciously carving out time for self-care, we put our well-being at the forefront, creating the necessary balance between work and leisure. It is through these intentional acts of self-nurturing that we can truly embrace the essence of slow living and savor simple pleasures.
4. Engage in mindful practices
Incorporating mindful practices into your day; a short meditation practice included in your daily routine, even if it's just for a few minutes of rest or deep breathing exercises, is the epitome of slowing down and being present. It will calm your mind, reduce stress, and enhance focus in a world consistently diminishing your ability to concentrate. Taking leisurely walks in nature lets you soak in the beauty of your surroundings when detached from technology and gratitude journaling can shift your perspective by cultivating a sense of positivity.
5. Embrace slow routines
Embracing slow routines is a powerful way to infuse your daily life with intention. Incorporating slow rituals that bring you joy is different than mindful practices because they are simple and small moments of tranquility throughout your day.
Start your mornings by savoring a cup of tea or coffee. Allow yourself a full immersion into the aroma, then the flavor, and even your surroundings, setting an intentional tone for your day. Take a leisurely stroll after dinner, rather than rushing to the next task, or practice Deep Work during the day to help your productivity. When you start with simple rituals, you can see other areas you can infuse your daily life with moments of presence and appreciation.
Implement slow living in your life
Slow living provides a pathway to rediscovering balance, peace, and wellness amidst the fast-paced nature of our modern world. By consciously choosing to embrace a slower pace, we can cultivate a greater sense of fulfillment, connection, and overall well-being to feel uplifted and beat burnout.
Summer presents a perfect opportunity to integrate slow living practices into our lives, encouraging you to step outside and engage with nature, allowing its beauty and tranquility to ground and inspire you.
Practice being present and mindful in your daily activities, whether it's enjoying a meal with loved ones, reading a book under the warm sun, or starting a breathing practice. By embracing slow living during this season, we can tap into the rejuvenating power of summer and embark on a transformative journey toward a more intentional and mindful existence.