Sometimes I feel like life is passing me by and it really made me interested in learning more about a slow living lifestyle. I move so fast sometimes, mentally and physically, that I feel I can’t catch my breath.
Waiting tables for 15 years I always told my trainees one of the best ways to be faster is just to walk faster.
I developed a habit of walking fast everywhere though.
I am a huge proponent of time economy and being efficient…
The problem with speeding through everything…
The problem is it has been applied to all areas of my life and I am just too fast. Everywhere. I am exhausted and missing my life.
Additionally, I feel too concerned about efficiently cooking dinner, and not concerned enough about enjoying time with my family.
I feel bored easily. At red lights I am itching to pull my phone out because I am uncomfortable sitting still. Silence makes me want to turn on the television. Sitting still makes me want to go out and spend money just to feel like I am doing something.
None of these complaints even take into account the mental and physical effects of living too fast.
So, what is a slow living lifestyle?
Slow living is an approach to life that emphasizes enjoying a higher quality of life by slowing down everyday activities. Wikipedia has a pretty legit definition…
Slow living is a lifestyle emphasizing slower approaches to aspects of everyday life. The concept of ‘slow’ lifestyles started with the slow food movement, which emphasizes more ‘traditional’ food production processes as a reaction to fast food emerged in Italy during the 1980s and 1990s. Slow food and slow living are frequently, but not always, proposed as solutions to what the green movement describes as problems in materialistic and industrial lifestyles.
People every day are constantly living at a fast pace which is making them feel like their lives are chaotic – but with slow living they end up taking a step back and start enjoying life being conscious of sensory profusion. Slow living also incorporates slow food, slow money, and slow cities. The term slow is a movement or action at a relaxed or leisurely pace.
What slow living *isn’t*…
This does NOT mean doing everything as slowly as possible.
A slow living lifestyle is about being in the moment, saying no to over stimulation and really focusing on what you are doing in a mindful way.
Slow living is different than simple living.
Here is a great real time example…
Last week I moved into a 35 foot 5th wheel with my family of 4 (simple living) and am obsessed with getting everything unpacked in a day instead of being mindful and relaxed (slow living).
This is an example of how I can live simply and be nowhere near a slow living lifestyle mindset.
Need some convincing?
Why You Should Engage in Slow Living
1. The slow living lifestyle has nutritional benefits.
Eating vegetarian I remember reading that I should “chew my liquids and drink my solids.” What this means is that I should chew for so long that that is the result. The longer I take to chew, the more saliva I produce and the more nutrients my body is able to absorb from the foods I eat.
A similar idea has recently been termed the Slow Food movement to help combat fast food and make us more mindful when we eat.
2. Slow living decreases mental stress.
This helps me to be in the moment, enjoy what I am doing and really focus on what matters.
I feel more at peace and I sleep better because my mind races less.
3. Stress is bad for your health.
Cutting out the stress of fast living could actually increase your lifespan!
4. A slow living lifestyle could actually save you money.
If I am not watching TV with every meal my electricity bill will go down.
If I am not shopping from boredom I will save money. These are just a couple of examples.
5. Discover new things about yourself.
Not filling my time with business gives me time to focus on my family and myself.
Instead of watching TV or playing with my phone, I might find out how much I enjoy painting or bird watching.
Want to get started today?
Here’s what you can do NOW…
1. Think about what is most important to you.
This will help you make decisions moving forward. If you get stuck multitasking or feeling stressed, think about what matters most to you.
There is no right answer, just the answer that is right for you.
2. Stop watching TV while you eat.
I already mentioned this above. Focus on your meal.
Think about the taste. Look out a window if focusing on one thing is driving you batty on day 1.
The idea is to reduce noise and distraction and do one thing at a time.
3. Put your phone away.
If you are going to waste time on Facebook, set aside time to do it intentionally.
Don’t do it at red lights, waiting rooms or at a table with other people.
4. Listen to slower music.
Have you ever heard slow elevator music in a grocery store? They literally play slow music because it actually makes people move slower (so in a store, you shop longer and spend more.)
Do the same in your life.
Try slowing down your music d=choices and see how it impacts your movement and thoughts.
5. Get outside.
Being outdoors can be inspiring for a slow living lifestyle.
Enjoy the outdoors.
Just walk outside your front door to start!
6. Think about your commute.
Perhaps you could start walking to work, or riding a bike to the grocery store for small trips with a backpack.
7. Cut out what you feel you have to do.
For a short while when I first started focusing on self care, I thought getting my nails done would be a nice thing to do for myself.
After a couple months it turned into a chore I felt I had to get done instead of a treat for myself.
How many daily, weekly or monthly habits to you have because they are habits? Reevaluate and eliminate!
8. Keep your thoughts in the moment.
Stress about the future is certainly not being mindful about the moment.
Practice keeping your thoughts in today, and the moment you are in.
9. Think about your breath.
You might even want to integrate a short meditation into your new slow living lifestyle.
Though there are a million ways to meditate, simply being mindful of your breath is a great, simple way to start.
10. Replace technology with new hobbies.
Stop watching television and grab a paintbrush. Turn off a video game and buy a ukulele.
Replace technology in your life with new, slower interests and you might learn something new about yourself!
Slow Living Lifestyle
Read a book.
Be in the moment.
And share how your life changes!