What is Slow Living & How to Get Started
In a world where people are measured by how productive and busy they are, slow living is finally becoming something people across the world are looking for to better fulfill their lives. In this blog post, I want to talk about the importance of slow living in an increasingly hectic world. We will discuss what slow living means, why it's important to live slowly, and give you tips for incorporating slow living into your lifestyle!
What is slow living?
What does slow living mean? Slow living is a lifestyle characterized by taking the time to enjoy life's simple pleasures. It means taking your time with the things you do, eating slowly and mindfully, savoring moments, and disconnecting from technology to live in the present. It's the art of being so present in the moment that you're able to just be and enjoy it. You aren't fretting or worrying about that thing you have to do later, you're letting time pass and letting a moment simmer while you sit in it.
We didn't say it was easy and we didn't say you could live perpetually in a state like this, but to live slowly means that you make a concerted effort to slow down. Watch cars pass, sit quietly in the morning sipping coffee, close your eyes and think about things you're thankful for - you get the idea.
How Living Slow Can Improve Your Life
When you live slowly, you're more productive because you're not in a rush to complete everything at once. In fact, this is our biggest qualm with regular, caffeinated coffee. Sure it certainly gives you the boost of energy you think you need but it's really robbing you of rest and future energy. Most people are overcaffeinated, overstressed, and unproductive. They are going nowhere really, really fast.
Living slower helps focus your attention, helps you tap into your natural vitality and ebbs and flows of the day and gives you a strong baseline in understanding when you do your best work and what circumstances help you achieve this productivity.
Living slow also helps you relax. We seem to think it's a badge of honor to be the busiest in the office. The person who has ten thousand things to do on the weekend running here and there. What they're really displaying is their lack of control in their own life. They're living in a state of reactivity. Bobbing and weaving whenever something comes their way hoping for the best and sometimes taking one on the chin (metaphorically speaking). When you make an effort and decide you want to live a slower life, you start by taking back control of your time. Without that control, you are unable to find even 5 minutes for yourself and that's all it takes to get started in a slower, more meaningful life.
Where can you find more
There's a great podcast episode with Tim Ferriss and Cal Newport on the concept of slow living called "Slow Productivity: The Antidote to the Epidemic of Busyness". In it, he discusses how our society has become so fast-paced and we've lost sight of what's truly important in life. Not only that, but they offer practice tips on how to slow down and be more productive - despite it feeling like the opposite would happen. When it comes to slowing down, one of the first actionable things you can do in your life is simplify it.
In a quote:
"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." -Hans Hofmann
In this case, the unnecessary refers to things, people, activities, etc. in your life that drain you; pulling your emotions, sucking every ounce of energy from your body so you're totally exhausted at the end of the day but still can't seem to fall asleep. It's no wonder people start turning to stimulates like caffeine. By finding and eliminating - not even all, just SOME - of the unnecessary, you're opening up more space in your life, your mind, and your emotions for something more. And that's the important stuff.
When you clean your room, you open up captivating corners you haven't seen in months. You find sunspots on the floor that you never noticed under piles of stuff. You fall in love with the way the sun comes through the window making the whole room brighten and fill with light when there's nothing blocking it's rays. That's the power of simplifying and living a slower life. You clear the mental clutter and make room for some really amazing things to come through.
As slow living has grown in popularity, it's become synonymous with, minimalism, essentialist, slow travel, intentional living, slow food, and more.
It's mainly about slowing down your physical movement which in turns helps you slow down your mind. A quiet mind is a clear mind and clear minds make better decisions.
There are many reasons to slow down and live a slower life. For me, it's about being more present and enjoying the simple things in life that often get overlooked when we're always on the go. Here's a short list of things I have learned that I really enjoy when I am able to slow down and be more mindful of them:
- Washing grapes
- Kneading bread
- Organizing books
- Writing letters and thank yous
- Making coffee (duh!)
- Walking with my dog
It can be really hard to let go of our fast-paced lifestyles, but once you do, you'll find that there is so much more to be held onto. If you can imagine in movies, when someone with a superpower slows time but they alone are still moving at normal speed, that's what slow living feels like. You see more, feel more, embrace more, hear more, learn more. You may think that by slowing down you'll be missing out on things, but the opposite happens.
How I Life Slowly
My favorite thing to do when I feel like I'm getting a little to ahead of myself it to wake up just 30 minutes earlier than I normally do, walk to the kitchen in my pajamas and make a really nice latte. I grind the beans, slowly pack the espresso portafilter being sure to clear any stray grounds off the edges. I wait for the machine to heat up and while that's happening, I open the cupboard and decide which mug will be my companion for the day. I choose my mug, insert my portafilter with a satisfying twist, and pour four shots of decaf coffee. Once my shots are poured, I fill my steaming cup with milk and two-ish teaspoons of sugar-free syrup and start steaming my milk. This is my favorite part. I start by creating bubbles and building volume and then sink the wand in deep and watch the water spin so quickly in perfect circles creating silk white ribbons. Once it's warm to the touch, I pour it into my espresso.
And that's just the first few minutes! From there, I find a spot in the house and get comfortable. Sometimes it's the edge of my futon if the sun is coming through. Sometimes it's a small wooden table with plants on it. Sometimes it's slumping down into one of our many beanbag chairs. Then I sip, think, sit, ponder, and BE. I think about how it feels to sit here, drink this coffee, wear these clothes - being as present in this moment as possible as if I had to memorize it for a test.