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We live in a time where everything is fast. There are places where we can get fast food, talk to each other fast with technology, and we often get high-speed internet because it’s fast and people are rewarded in races when they are the fastest.
Our society is encouraged to be fast- the faster the better. There is nothing wrong with living a fast-paced lifestyle, but we also should acknowledge when it’s time to slow down.
Slowing down does not mean that you can’t experience the excitement of being fast, but it does mean that you can experience the joys of being intentionally slow and truly taking in every moment.
Slow living is a concept that many describe as a lifestyle moment. It is the idea of living a more intentional life everyday and decreasing time spent in fast-paced environments. It encourages the feeling of being mentally present in every moment instead of trying to rush through the hours or experiences of life.
The idea is to create a life where you are more present, conscious, and aware. It involves recognizing and giving gratitude for all the small yet significant occurrences.
Using slow living practices does not mean you must give up all of your technology and move to an isolated farm (unless you want to). You can start implementing slow living practices in your life no matter where you live, dare I say, slowly.
Let’s go over how to slow life down in detail.
Start off by looking at your life and deciding on what people, places, or experiences you can eliminate or decrease from your life. Many times, we have various experiences that do not add value to our life and instead drain our energy and joy.
These experiences may be toxic friends that make you feel bad and are always needy or negative, for example. Helping people is good, but it does not serve you to constantly deny your own joy for the sake of pleasing someone else.
Some experiences include overcommitting to organizations or roles that drain your energy. For example, if you are the president of your Rotary club, and the treasurer of your PTA club, and the director of your local community charity, etc. Even though these are important roles, being responsible for all of them may be too much. Be willing to pick one that you really enjoy and eliminate the others.
Go through every section of your life and see where you can decrease time and/or cut out situations that don’t promote a better, happier life. Focus on keeping the experiences and people that give you a higher quality of life and promote more overall satisfaction.
This does not have to be done overnight. Take your time in deciding what experiences to eliminate from your overall to-do list so that you can make more space in your schedule.
This step is about cleaning up and simplifying your physical environment. Our physical environments can have an effect on our overall emotional state. A cluttered, messy environment can produce feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
You can start by cleaning up your living space, recycling any old items, and giving away clothes that you no longer wear. Organize so that you have the most important items in places you can find and use easily.
It’s also important to have an environment that does overwhelm your senses. For example, a television in every room or tons of decorations that collect dust and need constant cleaning.
When you take away unused items, you take away an extra decision your mind would need to make on which option to choose. This causes your mind to slow down and focus on only a few things at one time.
I explain more about this process in detail in my article, How to Sort Your Life Out and Get Organized – 7 Helpful Steps
Creating an environment that is organized and low maintenance will add to living a slower, more intentional life.
Scheduling downtime means putting time in your calendar where you literally do nothing. Many times, we overschedule ourselves and have every minute of our day occupied.
Scheduling downtime will give you time to sit and just be. You can take this time to do nothing, or go for a walk in nature, or just sit in your car in silence. This helps your brain slow down without being forced to constantly think, make decisions, or come up with solutions.
It’s important to give yourself and your mind time to rest, reflect and just be a human – being instead of a human – doing.
Creating mindful rituals is about having an intentional mental connection with various daily tasks. Here is a shortlist of mindful rituals you can incorporate into your life:
Mindful eating: When you eat, turn off your electronics and focus on the taste of your food and how it makes you feel. This helps you tune into how your body feels as you eat when you are actually full, and the overall gratitude you may feel for having the food.
Mindful shopping: When you buy items, try to be mindful of purchasing from small community-owned businesses such as local farmers’ markets, locally owned dress shops, etc. Or, if you purchase products online, buy from small business owners that hand-make their products.
The idea is to use your money to support a small business that in turn promotes the local economy. This will also make you feel good in knowing that you contributed to the community.
Mindful self-care: This is when you create a routine that makes you feel good as well as promotes physical health and self-awareness. These activities could include journaling your thoughts and ideas after you have had time to reflect on your day.
You can also try creating a meditation space where you can relax, give yourself time to quiet your mind, or affirm your self-worth, eating more whole minimally processed foods to fully nourish your body, or participating in low-impact exercises like walking or swimming that give you a good workout but not to the point of exhaustion.
The idea is to incorporate time in your day to do activities that decrease stress and promote overall well-being.
Mindful socializing: Many of us have what I call, “surface-level” relationships. These are the types of interactions we have with people, whether they be family or friends, in which we have short, sometimes meaningless conversations.
These are the experiences where we have to sometimes cover up our true personalities because we know we are not emotionally safe to expose who we really are to others without negative repercussions.
Mindful socializing is making time to spend with positive people that care about you and see your value. These are the people you can have deep meaningful conversations with, that make you smile, and you can relax around.
A part of mindful socializing is putting away your telephone and being totally focused on the person or persons in which you are engaging. It’s about being fully present with the people you deeply value.
Let’s discuss some of the benefits of the slow living lifestyle.
Creating a slow living lifestyle helps to decrease anxiety, boost confidence, promote joy and build a routine of deep self-awareness.
Since slow living involves slowing down to be mindful, it supports your personal boundaries. It helps you say no to situations that make you feel like you have to go faster or be overwhelmed.
Slow living also promotes overall good health because it incorporates you giving yourself time to focus on self-care activities for your mind and body.
Most importantly, slow living helps you to build patience and understanding.
There are many ways to create a slow-living lifestyle. The great part is that you can do as much or as little as you choose when starting on your slow living journey.
You don’t have to give up all of your fast-paced experiences at once. You can start a few slow living practices where you feel you need them the most.
Slow living gives you an opportunity to really take in every moment of your life with joy, gratitude and appreciation.
Tiffiny has a B.A. in Psychology, and master’s degree in Public Health Education. She worked in consulting for over 16 years, as well as previously owning a fitness and health business. In her personal life, she used personal development, mindset and health strategies to go from being overworked in a demanding corporate career, emotionally drained in a toxic marriage, physically unhealthy, and depressed to becoming an award-winning figure level bodybuilding athlete and entrepreneur. As a women’s empowerment coach, she works to help women get clear on their goals, build confidence, increase self-esteem, take action on their deep desires and create a life they love