Tired of living life in the fast lane? This guide will explain how to practice slow living.
Slow living looks differently to everyone. For some people, it’s simply about doing less. And for others, it’s about making sure that the time they have is cherished and meaningful in some way.
It’s no secret that we live in a world where working long hours and rushing around is considered “the norm”.
Many of us have become accustomed to hectic lives. However, the more you try to speed up, the more sluggish you will feel. Your brain will become overloaded with dates, chores and more information than it knows how to deal with.
There’s also the fear that if you don’t slow down and look around you, then you’ll never get a chance to appreciate all that you have.
Here are some tips on how to practice slow living.
Be Present by Switching Off
The best way to be present and to give someone or something your full attention is to put down your phone. Multi-tasking does have its uses, but most of the time, it just doesn’t work.
Trying to talk to someone who is scrolling or typing on their phone can often feel like talking to a wall. It can often communicate to the other person that you don’t value your time together.
The other issue is that when you’re staring down at your phone, it’s preventing you from looking around and taking in your surroundings. Looking up every few seconds is not the same as being present.
Next time you are out for a meal or you’re spending time with a loved one, try to put the phone down and enjoy the moment. These are some of the moments that you’ll look back on one day and fully appreciate, so make the most of them!
Read more: 5 Tips For A Perfect Self Care Sunday
Have Self-discipline with Your Devices
Following on from that last point, it’s really beneficial to have self-discipline when it comes to your devices. Your phone, tablet, computer, and any other device you may have, are distractions. But more than that, they are overloading your brain with information it doesn’t need.
The more time you spend on your phone scrolling through social media sites or news articles, the more you absorb. More often than not, you absorb a lot of bad news. The kind of news that makes you feel sad, helpless, overwhelmed. Those negative feelings can follow you around for the rest of your day.
That’s why it’s important that you know when to stop. You can start by reducing the amount of time you spend on social media. Do you usually spend an hour or more on there? Cut this down to 20 – 30 minutes and note how you feel each day.
Many people feel a positive change within a few days of reducing their social media time. It helps them to connect more with loved ones and truly slow down.
Enjoy Slower Mornings
I appreciate that not everyone has the chance to slow down in the morning. It can be difficult if you have children, you work long hours or you have other commitments that need to be taken care of. However, if you are able to have a slower morning just one day a week, it can make a huge difference.
Many people rush around in the morning getting ready and eat breakfast on the go or skip it altogether. As you may know, eating a healthy and balanced breakfast every day is very important. Getting those essential nutrients helps to improve your concentration and boost your energy, leaving you more prepared for the day.
If you can make time to wake up a little bit earlier to sit down at the table and enjoy a balanced, nutritious meal, then that will bring a sense of calm and routine to your day. Some breakfast ideas include:
- Yoghurt with a mix of nuts, seeds and fruit
- Wholegrain oats with any milk of your choice, ground flaxseeds, fruit and cinnamon
- Wholemeal or sourdough toast with natural peanut butter, banana and a handful of mixed seeds
- Omelette with red peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and chives
While eating your breakfast, try to avoid watching the news or scrolling through your phone. Instead, listen to some music or sit in silence and focus on your meal. Enjoy the different flavours, textures and smells. This meal will set you up for the rest of the day!
Find Quiet in Everyday Life
All of us need some peace and quiet in our everyday life. It can be hard to get away from the noise and your endless responsibilities, but it’s important that you make time for yourself whenver you can.
The mornings and the evenings are usually the best times to find some silence. I recommend finding a quiet room and practicing mindfulness or yoga for at least 10 minutes a day. 10 minutes is a good target for most people, but if you have time for more, increase it to 30 minutes or more.
Yoga is a great way to start your day and unwind in the evening. If you’re new to it, start with gentle stretches like happy baby, child’s pose, Warrier and mountain pose with cactus arms. Over time, you should notice an improvement in your stamina, balance and your mental health.
Enjoy The Little Things in Life
It might sound cliche to say, “enjoy the little things in life,” but it’s true that the little things are often the most important. If you can’t find happiness in the little things, you will often find yourself taking what you have for granted.
Start by drinking your morning tea or coffee slowly and appreciate the warmth that spreads through your body. Look outside and enjoy the view, whatever that may be. Can you see trees swaying? Leaves falling? A cat walking by? There is beauty everywhere you look, but it’s not always easy to notice it. Starting to notice and appreciate these things can improve your overall mood and boost your productivity throughout the day.
Adopt A “Less Is More” Attitude
Buying less is good for our mental health and the environment. Too much clutter in the home can make you feel overwhelmed and stressed. But it can also lead to you relying on materialistic objects for happiness, which is very damaging to your wellbeing.
Appreciating the clothes and jewellery you already own and the furniture that you use daily can lead to a sense of fulfillment in your life. When you stop needing more, you start to cherish what you already have.
How To Practice Slow Living When You’re Busy
The busiest people in the world are the ones who need to slow down the most. Ignoring your own needs will only lead to bigger problems further down the line.
Start living more slowly by doing the following:
- Find at least 10 minutes every day to meditate, practice yoga, or even enjoy a hot beverage in silence
- Appreciate the art of “doing nothing” on your days off and don’t feel guilty for it
- Cook more meals from scratch and eat at a table if you can – chew your food thoroughly while enjoying the flavours and textures
- Remove excess clutter and buy less
- Get outside more often and enjoy nature
- Simplify your routine and remove unnecessary or unfulfilling tasks
- Stop multitasking
- Wake up earlier some mornings so you can enjoy a slower and more peaceful start to the day
- Be more attuned to the people around you and your surroundings
Hopefully, this guide helped you to understand how to practice slow living and how you can incorporate it into daily life. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to live more slowly, and there will be days when you are busy or preoccupied. But that’s okay – tomorrow is a new day.