Slow Living: What Is It, and Should You Give It a Try?

This lifestyle change might be just what you need

man with dog in nature

Main image courtesy of Medical News Today.

Slow living is a movement that, as the name suggests, encourages us to take a slower, more mindful approach to living. Slow living is a philosophy, a state of mind, and a lifestyle, all in one. It can mean different things to different people, but the overarching message is of sustainability, wellbeing, growth, and contentment. 

Here’s what you need to know about slow living, how you can incorporate it into your life, and what it can look like for you.

What exactly is slow living?

In a world that is constantly pushing us to go faster, do more things, and spend less time on them, slow living takes an entirely different approach. Slow living is about taking the time to do tasks instead of rushing through them and prioritizing what’s important to us so that we’re able to do these things better, rather than faster. 

Slow living encourages a mindset of self-awareness and sustainability —  being aware of our decisions and how they impact us, as well as those around us and the planet itself. 

fruits and vegetables next to sign that says locally grown
Slow living places a big emphasis on sustainability, which we can incorporate into our lives by eating more mindfully. Image courtesy of Endeavor College of Natural Health.

The origins of slow living can be traced back to Italy in the 1980s, when Carlo Petrini and a group of activists formed Slow Food in response to a McDonald’s opening in Rome. The slow food movement is about quality food, regional food traditions, and sustainability. The slow living movement has since grown to include slow fashion, traveling, gardening, design, and more. 

Slow living pushes back against the idea that being constantly busy means that you’re more successful or productive. It emphasizes quality over quantity and urges us to live in the moment and be present in everything that we do. 

What are the benefits of slow living?

candle, cookies, book, and basket on a desk
Slow living is a lifestyle, and we can make gradual changes to improve the quality of our lives in the long-run. Image courtesy of With All My Affection.

There are a lot of misconceptions about the slow living movement because of the negative connotations of the word “slow,” which people often associate with negative traits such as laziness, sluggishness, or unproductivity. However, the goal of the movement is for us to really focus on the tasks that we’re doing instead of relying on our brain’s autopilot to get us through. 

Some of the benefits of slow living include:

  • Having more time on your hands

Although it may seem counterintuitive to the name of the movement itself, switching to slow living can help you prioritize what things are important to you and cut out activities that don’t really benefit you in any way. For example, instead of spending every Friday night taking shots at your local bar, you might find yourself with more time to take a bath, curl up on the couch and watch Netflix, or write something that you’ve been meaning to for a while. 

  • Being more eco-friendly

A core tenet of slow living is sustainability, and as you slow down, you’ll begin to realize the negative impacts that a more fast-paced lifestyle has on the planet. Slow living encourages us to consume less and determine what’s really important to us so that we can cut out any unnecessary or harmful parts of our life. 

  • Increased wellbeing

Slow living allows you to become more mindful of what you do on a day-to-day basis, and this can help you to identify what activities make you feel better about yourself and actually benefit you, versus the ones that don’t. You’ll also find yourself more present in the moment, less prone to stress, and feeling more fulfilled. You’ll realize that you don’t have to do everything in order to be successful or valid, and that focusing on specific things that make you happy, such as skateboarding or writing music, will make you feel like you have a distinct purpose in this world. 

  • Stronger relationships

When you adopt the slow living lifestyle, you’ll find yourself a lot calmer, more focused, and less stressed all the time. This can help strengthen your relationship with your friends and family members by giving you more time to spend with them, and more of that time will be actually spent with them rather than on worrying about your next deadline or what you have to do for work. People will notice that you’re more present in the moment with them and that you’re able to give them your undivided attention rather than constantly being distracted or thinking about something else.

What does slow living look like?

rocks balanced with sticks
It can be difficult to find balance in our lives, but slow living offers us a guide on how we can do that to better our mental health and wellbeing. Image courtesy of Inc. Magazine

Slow living encourages us to find balance in our lives. This can be a work-life balance, a balance between saying yes and no to things, or a balance between being grounded and being free. Slow living means that we do things with intention, with love, and with passion, and being conscious of the decisions that we make in our lives. 

Although it may seem like the slow living lifestyle is limited to those who don’t have kids to take care of, or a full-time job to worry about, everyone can make little changes to their lives that will end up making you feel more fulfilled, content, and self-aware. Here are some tips on switching over to a slower lifestyle:

Be realistic.

When it comes to setting goals for ourselves, we often tend to have high expectations and standards that can be nearly impossible to reach. If you want to start meditating, for example, start off by trying to meditate for at least 5 minutes every day. You don’t want to start off by expecting yourself to do a 30-minute session on your first day, and you don’t want to feel disappointed or discouraged when you aren’t able to meet the goals that you’ve set for yourself. 

Be aware. 

The best way to start incorporating slow living into your life is to start being really present in the moment. If you make coffee every single morning and have been for the past 6 months, chances are, your brain goes on autopilot every time you make yourself a cup. Instead of letting this happen, take the time to really pay attention to what’s going on. Walk yourself through each step like you’re doing it for the first time. If you apply this to every task or activity that you do, you’ll find yourself being more mindful and self-aware.

Although the slow living lifestyle can seem inaccessible or daunting, you can incorporate little bits of it into every part of your life. It may not be easy, but the transition will be worth it!

Aarushi Pant

Aarushi Pant is a writer, animal lover, and activist.
See All Posts >>

You Might Also Like...