In many ways, slow living is a return to ourselves. Slow living is a rejection of the pressure to move through our lives quickly & without paying much attention. Through slow living, we are merely going back to the way things are meant to be. We can still be productive, we can still move through our day to day, but we can do so with a renewed intentionality and fulfillment.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
- Lao Tzu
When I first heard of slow living, it was like a switch clicked in my mind. Having lived my whole life up to that point constantly in a rush to complete tasks and "get things over with", it was like suddenly I could let go for a moment. My introduction to slow living was through Sharon Blackie's The Enchanted Life which talks about fully participating in the wonders of life - in other words, not letting a moment pass you by. After reading this book, I quickly dove in to the world of slow/intentional living bloggers and found that this was the perfect way of life for me.
Let's be real, life looks different for everyone. Some of you will have slow living journeys that look a lot like mine - full of refreshing self realization and emotional release. Some of you will have a harder time adjusting to moving at a slower pace. And thats okay. Slow living is not meant to be a cure-all for your stressful life. Slow living, rather, is a way to make you feel more contentment with the way that things are, so that you can move gracefully and thoughtfully through stressful times.
I've compiled a (non exhaustive) list of what slow living looks like for me. It won't be the same for all of us, and some of the ways I practice intentionality in my daily life will not fit for you. That's fine! I hope this list gives you a few ideas.
- Downsize. This is where minimalism and slow living intersect, and while I don't live a minimalist lifestyle (hello crystal collection), I have found that cutting down on excess stuff can help us to focus on what really matters. For me, this looks like curating a smaller wardrobe and donating things I don't wear. It also means that I prioritize using the items I already do have before purchasing something new. This cuts down on my waste, and allows me to feel less frazzled in my own home, and able to live simply and slowly.
- Connect with Nature. A nature walk is an absolute non-negotiable act of self care for me - I try to do this 5-6 times a week & I never feel better than when I've just arrived back to my cozy home after fresh air and solitude. If we think of slow living as living in line with the seasons, a nature walk can be an act of ritual in a sense. Setting aside time to be with your thoughts in the natural world is the ultimate way to slow down.
- Slow your Morning. The morning is my favourite time of day - I never want to waste a second of it! Slowing down my morning consists of making a coffee and sitting down to enjoy it before I face my responsibilities for the day. Of course, this isn't always possible (but remember, there is no such thing as living the perfect slow life!). When I'm home in the morning, I can be found in a chair by the window, drinking my coffee and holding a crystal or two. When I don't have time for that, I make a coffee to-go and take some extra time and care stirring, adding cream, and putting the lid on so that I have established an intentional act of kindness for myself.
- Read an actual BOOK! Reading is therapeutic! Finding a book that intrigues you and doesn't make reading feel like a chore is such a wonderful way to slow the day and recenter yourself for a while. I will have a blog post about my book recommendations coming soon!
- Turn off your phone. Okay, admittedly this is a hard one - so hear me out! This is NOT the way life used to be - and there is lots of evidence for why we should try to return to the disconnectedness of the past (if only for a few minutes). Studies show that spending too much time on your phone can be a key contributor to excess anxiety, and that taking just 30 minutes away from your phone can make you feel less stress. You can use this time for anything - meditate, go for a walk, cook a meal, hang out with a loved one; just give it a try!
- Cook at home! Another slightly harder one, especially if you're on the go a lot, but cooking at home is such a wonderful way to take time for yourself and focus your energy into creating something wonderful! Setting aside a couple of nights a week to make a lovely meal is a way to meld your slow living journey with things you should be doing anyways! I will have recipes on this blog in the coming weeks to give you some inspiration!
- Be kind to yourself. Slow living is not something we achieve, it is not a goal to arrive at. Slow living is a mindset, that must be continuously practiced so that it eventually feels more natural that rushing through life. There is no one way to live a slow and simple life, and nobody's life looks *hygge* all the time. Slow living asks us to take a look at the way we move through this world, and consider if slowing it down just a little might take some pressure off. Slow living is a journey of the self, and being kind and compassionate towards yourself and your efforts is absolutely crucial. For me, this looks like forgiving myself if I need to grab a coffee on the go, forgiving myself for forgetting to take a nature walk, loosening my expectations for my own well being.
If you feel like you want to run away, live in a cabin in the woods, and drink lots of tea and knit lots of scarves, this is the place to be. Slow living is just another way of coming home to ourselves - fulfilling that itch to run away to the woods while also going through our daily lives. Perhaps one day, we will all be able to leave our jobs and live off the land and drink fresh coffee every morning by the river - but today is not that day. So for now, infuse your current life with magic and intention. Maybe you'll find that you don't need a cabin in the woods after all, you just needed to take the days a bit slower.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson