What is slow living?
Recently, you may have heard the term slow living on social media or somewhere. It’s a movement quickly gaining in popularity alongside the minimalist movement. Many of us think the word “slow” has primarily negative connotations. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s all about efficiency, getting things done quicker and living life to the best of your ability. Surely you’ll get left behind when you take things more slowly. But embracing slow living means not being lazy, sluggish, and going backward. It is just living with intention and being mindful of what you are doing and why you are doing it. Establishing simple activities such as being close to nature, reading a book, making a cozy atmosphere at your home, sipping tea, gardening, cooking, and baking, handcrafting, petting an animal, photographing, having quality and peaceful time with family and friends can make your life more meaningful, and those things allow you to connect with yourself.
The slow-living movement started with food. In 1986, Carlo Petrini protested the opening of McDonald’s fast food restaurants next to Spanish steps in Rome. That part of Italy always focused on sustainable farming and locally produced seasonal food products. It wasn’t just about food; they also promoted connecting with family and loved ones while having dinner. With that initiative, people all over the world started creating different slow movements as a relief to city life.
Misconceptions about slow living
- In this fast phase era, most of our lives are hectic, busy, and exhausting with endless activities and thoughts. Some may criticize you as lazy or sluggish when you start slowing down things. But it is a major misconception about slow living. Once you begin living intentionally by slowing down things, you might feel more productive and fulfilled than before.
- People say you must move to a countryside or rural area to start slow living. Honestly, you do not have to; you can create it while you are living in the city, in an apartment. Slow living is a mindset that you have to practice, and it is for everyone.
- You do not have to be tech-free to adapt to slow living movement. Technology is serving us in many ways. Understanding when to use and when to make your downtime without digital devices is important in this digital age.
- People think they can adapt to slow living quickly; it is also a misconception. Since it is a mindset, you have to grow the mindset with time and adjust your lifestyle with more of an understanding
Benefits of slow living
- Experiencing being productive and more present- Slow living is becoming more mindful of your actions. So, you may manage your time productively and make life stress-free. It leads to being in the present and enjoying and celebrating the moment.
- Reducing your environmental impact – Once you adopt slow living, you will be more eco-conscious. Sustainable and slow living go hand in hand, and your purchase becomes more conscious and less. You may become more aware of the impacts of your simple daily activities on the environment
- Building a strong relationship with yourself and with loved ones- Knowing what you need to achieve in your life and focusing on those things mindfully allow you to connect with yourself. You read, follow self-care routines, eat healthily, engage with creativity, start hobbies, and connect with nature; all these slow activities can relax your mind and body. Also, you choose who you adore the most and who you value the most, and by spending quality time with your loved ones, you improve your relationships.
- The slow living practice gives you a better understanding of life, and you understand the value of other living beings. Mindful acts and thoughts always lead you to act kindly and understand others’ feelings.
- Seeking a strong connection with nature- The phase of nature and its sensations have healing powers. Every season is a new inspiration, and you will learn something new and adapt it to your slow lifestyle. Once you connect with nature, it helps you to reduce stress hormones and increase your calming and happy hormones.
Slow living basics to your life
Slow living is absolutely for you if you seek a happier, calmer, and yet more productive and sustainable lifestyle. Here you will find some basic areas to add to your life to start slow living.
You may think that while adjusting to slow living, you will not have a chance to be fashionable with different clothes and jewelry. Actually, you can be stylish and fashionable in a slow and sustainable way. Wearing comfy, environmentally friendly, and stylish pieces without overconsuming. Clothing plays a very important role in our lives, they are basically the outer reflection of our personalities as well as it aligned with our moods and feelings such as wearing your favorite comfy oversize tee and warm chunky jumper after a tiring day would give you all the comfort and papering feeling, also wearing your favorite mermaid dress for a dinner date would give you a boost of confidence. So here are a few tips to consider when choosing clothes as you want to start your slow living journey.
Slow living is always aligned with your own comfort. So go for comfy natural materials such as cotton, silk, or wool. Try oversize or loose-fit fashions to feel much more comfortable to wear effortlessly. Decide your own color palette according to your skin tone.
- Chose outfits that suites to the weather you live in
Here people say there’s no bad weather but only your clothing. This is well appropriate to me since I live in a really cold country, with the right kind of clothing you can survive even the worst weather. Keep seasonal clothes that suites to your geographical area. An umbrella, a raincoat, and a sun hat would help you choose your outfits according to the weather.
- Declutter your existing wardrobe
As a girl, it is impossible to declutter a wardrobe; you may feel like you want to keep all the existing pieces in your current wardrobe for some occasions. But since you upgrading your life to a slow living concept, it is essential to declutter clothing and things you own to minimize the hassle of having lots of things. A wardrobe is a good place to start decluttering your home, so keep only what you love and are comfy with. All the other pieces you are no longer wearing can be donated to a local charity store or used online marketplaces to sell them.
- Create a capsule wardrobe
As a slow-living thriver, you may enjoy creating a capsule wardrobe with a few essentials and basics that always stay in style. Becoming a wardrobe minimalist helps you to save a big chunk of money and also creates peace of mind when choosing an outfit for different occasions. Keep some basic clothes such as T-shirt, blouse, skirt, denim, and cotton pant that you can mix and match in different ways. Invest some money in buying good quality pieces other than buying every month from online sales or low-quality fashions. Be conscious about your purchasing also while being fashionable.
Home, I am sure the word itself reminds you of a warm, cozy, safe, and loving feeling. So, as your home is your safe heaven, it is better to start implementing slow-living add-ons to your home first. After a tired day of work, whatever the temperature outside, we come home to relax and regain energy after dealing with the outside world. Things and the living being in your home should bring joy and calm your mind while feeling cozy and secure. So here are a few tips to turn your home into your comfortable slow living space.
- Use comfy and cozy furniture.
When it comes to furniture, choose the pieces that help you do your daily routine comfortably. Even if the pieces are elegant and look expensive, do not choose them if they are not comfy. Fill up your little reading corner with a huge bean bag that you can curl up with a good book on a rainy day or a couch where you can lie down and relax, a coffee table with a bit more space where you can put some candles and your candy jar, a working table with multiple drawers that you can nicely organize your work stuff could be some ideas. It’s all up to you as to the way you organize your home, select your furniture, and make sure to go with as minimal pieces as you can.
- Make sure you get some natural light.
If you are like me, you may be overwhelmed with natural light coming through the windows during long days in summer. Use layered curtains to solve that issue, and you are all settled for any natural light conditions. Anyways, morning sunlight feels like a blessing to me; make sure to keep your window
without any distractions. Then, you can reach anytime any open when you feel like you want some fresh air and sun rays to make your home cozier. This way, you may get some vital vitamin D naturally, but make sure to get your vitamin D supplements if you live in a country where there is long winter and gray weather.
Food is one of the main important parts of our lives because it reflects our cultures, habits, and cravings. When it comes to slow living, it’s all about indulging your food in a healthier, sustainable, and more enjoyable way. Having a coffee with a good old friend, enjoying a homecooked dinner at your own dining table with your family, or sipping wine in a mountainous cottage looking at the snow falling outside, those moments matter, and food usually adds the extra dose of love makes it much or special. We live in an era where we can grocery shop our goodies easily as our choices or get delivered to our doorstep or grow your own foods kind of society. Not that we need to go for a hunt and cook outside with all natural and manual. We all have fully equipped kitchenettes and central heating or air conditioning to cozy up while cooking or eating. So, whether you are preparing your meal or enjoying it, it’s a good way to slow down and be mindful of what you are doing. Here are some tips for enjoying your slow living with slow food moments.
- Eat homemade
The slow food experience is much better when you cook with love. Needless to know all the tricks and secrets of cooking to try different recipes. You can find some easy, healthy food recipes through the internet or from a friend to your food preferences and give it a try and make sure to serve it nicely regardless it’s for yourself or a loved one. There is nothing like enjoying a homecooked meal sitting at your own table.
- Make sure to have FIKA times often.
FIKA is a ritual, a concept, a state of mind, an attitude, and an important part of Swedish culture. Many Swedes believe that having a FIKA time is almost an essential thing during everyday life. FIKA often translates as a coffee and cake break, but it is much more than that when it comes to life. It is making quality and relaxing time with your friends or colleagues over a coffee. That’s much needed when you are
adjusting your life to slow living. Even if you can make a solo FIKA time alone when you don’t have anyone around you to share a coffee with, yourself is a mighty companion for you.
- Enjoy dinner outs
Somedays, you really feel like you need some rest from cooking. Going out and finding some cozy place to have lunch or dinner while you still live a slow life is legit. Focus on your company to make it extra special or just enjoy the moment alone. Find a place with a lovely and peaceful ambiance that serves good food and surrounds with friendly staff, then you may feel at home.
- Use local and seasonal
If you live in a country experiencing seasons, you may have heard about traditional and seasonal recipes. As my favorite season is winter, I always look for cozy and warm winter recipes such as mushroom and cream soup with garlic bread and also mulled wine. If it’s Autumn, pumpkin soup, root vegetable stew, and pumpkin spice latte will make autumn evenings cozier. During Spring and summer, you may find lots of greens, fresh veggies, and frits. Eat as much as fresh during these seasons, and make sure to try some preserved recipes such as jam or pickle to enjoy in wintertime.
- Create food traditions and rituals
Make sure to create some food tradition with your loved ones or, as I always mention, just with yourself (that’s totally fine, and you are important). Special food for special days, it could be a birthday, anniversary, Christmas eve, or even just pick a day from the week and make it special by cooking and eating good food as a weekly ritual. Life is all about celebrating, so do it with some cozy and delicious food. Or a monthly potluck with your friends or neighbors would be a great way to socialize and have some quality time as a ritual ( of course, with the right people, I mean).
- Be mindful
Be mindful of what you are eating and how you spend your money on your food. Is it really healthy? is it really worth buying? Is it sustainable? Just ask these questions before you make your grocery list and while you are purchasing food in the store. If you have any opportunity to grow some veggies or herbs, go for it. Even in tiny pots, you can home-grow many things on your window top. You will get to know the
pleasure of eating your own homegrown food. Add different textures, colors, and nutritional foods to your everyday meal. Do not just eat, treat your every meal as an experience.
Nature has its own phase, and it’s the best example for slowing down and impermanence of things around us. Each and every season has its own beauty, and when getting close to nature, you get that serenity and harmony in your life. Smelling those spring flowers and looking closely at those tiny buds and leaves coming to life after rough winter months, Feeling sun rays and the wind at the same time on your skin on a beautiful summer day, hundred shades of golden leaves, and walking on crusty dead leaves or having a walk outside while pure white snowflakes kissing your face; those moments are underrated but being in nature offers us many benefits. Slowing down things and spending some relaxing time in nature would be one of the best things to practice, and here are some ways to get into the practice.
- Exercise outdoor
If the weather allows, take your exercise outdoors. There are many active sports, such as biking, hiking, walking, swimming, surfing, or any active sport that would help you get enough physical exercise. You can find a group or few friends who are into those activities and follow it as a regular thing.
- Connect with nature and stimulate your senses
As we talked about intense sports outdoors, you can also practice some mindfulness and calming activities in nature. Nature meditation, forest bathing, yoga, or Thai chi would help you to soothe your mind and get away from daily stress. If you do not have an idea about those mindfulness activities in nature, just go outside and connect to nature using your senses. You can just observe the colors and shapes of nature, watch the sunset, smell flowers and trees, be exposed to the breeze, taste some sweet and sour wild berries and make some art using nature materials just to keep the connection with nature.
- Learn to Forage and grow your own food
Foraging is a skill many of us are losing, but if you get some hands-on learning from your older generation or even find some good source from the internet, you will be busy and more engaging with nature in Spring and summer. You can learn to forage herbs and other greens and parts of plants that can add to your food. My favorite spring forage is Dandelion; you can make hundreds of things, such as dandelion salad using its greens, tea using roots, and syrup using flowers. Also, it is a good idea to grow your own veggies and fruits or join a community gardening space.
- Appreciate the nature around you
Whether you live in a big city or the countryside, do not forget to appreciate the nature around you. Notices the changes in nature, and enjoy the seasons, ants, or hedgehogs in your backyard. You may find many things to embrace in nature, so be close to it.
Your close relationships matter to your ultimate happiness and wellbeing in life. We are social creatures by nature, whether you are introverted or extrovert personality. So we should find our comfort zone when it comes to relationships. Somedays you feel like you need more relaxation and socializing and somedays
vice versa. As an introvert, I mostly prefer to spend quality time in groups with a maximum of 3 or 4 people since I feel like it is somewhere between socializing and relaxing at the same time. In the end, our relationships shape as you thrive in your slow living and stay connected with people who can trust, support, and believe in you.
- Find your happy people.
Everybody has their go-to people, the people you feel at home and who can understand you better. So find yours! Get involved with them often and make sure to have some quality time sharing life updates, talking about successes and failures, and even quirky jokes. Connecting with communities that share the same interests as you would be a great way to find your tribe and spend some quality time.
- Make time for your loved one.
Even if you are into slow living, you may still have a to-do list to tick off at the end of the day. So when you plan your day, week, or month, keep some time for your loved ones to nurture the relationship with them. Show your love and appreciation to them, get involved, be attentive, and be there for them when they need you the most.
Create memories Creating memories with your loved ones is one way to accomplish your life. 10 or 20 years later, you will have lots of stories about how you spent a week in a mountain cottage and that campfire you gathered around and talked about life and shared laughter with your friends. The smaller and the simplest the moment that makes the best memories.
Mindset is everything! How you think, and your attitude towards life greatly impact your choices and embrace your blessings. Always have a positive attitude and be simple when adjusting to slow living. Be grateful for things and people around you, and at the same time, be ready to accept letting go. Enjoy the moment and admire simple things. You do not need all major events and extraordinary things to be happy. Slow living is more about feeling content with your flow and simply living a fulfilling life.
- Be present and content.
Be in the moment and enjoy it as it is. We always miss our best moments by assuming there will be a good chance if I do this or that. It is good to have future plans and goals in your life. But still, remember to enjoy the small and simple moments you pass through daily. Unplug your devices, forget about your to-do list, and enjoy life’s quieter pleasure. There’s a Danish concept called Hygge which means taking time away from the daily rush to care about yourself and enjoy life with the feeling of wellness and contentment.
- Focus on positive
A positive mindset is essential for a slow life. With all that going on around the world and around you, staying positive takes a bit of practice. Celebrate your small wins, start a gratitude journal, and read more about positive thinking and well-being. Avoid getting distracted by negative vibes, believe in yourself, and go with your choices in life. You become what you think, and you attract what you feel.
- Think simple
Simplicity is another key point for slow living. Think simple, and you will do more, more in the sense you will feel happy and fulfilled. Simplicity always clears your path and keeps you well-grounded. Life is temporary so make it simple and worth living. Do what makes you happy without thinking about the world around you.
- Take care of yourself.
Running through modern responsibilities makes us forget about ourselves. We are juggling our daily life, corporate life, and social life. Slow living makes you prioritize yourself and have enough time for self-care or self-development. Spend a day on your own, go out and have a nice walk, take a long bath, reflect on your life goals and take that course you always wanted to travel to that place you always dreamed about. Taking time for self-care isn’t selfish; it is much more necessary.
My favorite quote about travel is Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell. Not stuff to show. Exactly as it says, we gain so much experience by travel. You meet new people, see new cultures taste different food, you see the world as it is and how different it is, and that widens your mindset. You
do not have to travel far from your home; even going to another city and exploring a bit more is fine if you cannot cross the globe. Break the daily routine and find your inner peace while you are traveling. Here are some tips to make your travel at its best as a slow-living enthusiast.
- Take a breather
When you set up your dates to travel, make sure to get free from work, study, or other stuff in life. In that way, you enjoy the moment, and you will have time to take a breather from daily life. Decide where to go, what activities and experiences you want to take, and what you want to eat and enjoy every bit of it while traveling. Traveling is an antidote to daily stress. Ah, use as much as fewer digital devices and let the people be your source.
- Make new friends
While traveling to new places, try to find communities that share the same interests as you have. Some hiking groups, sunset yoga groups, or other solo travelers. Connect with them, and share your travel stories. Their shared experience of travel always brings like-minded people together.
- Get to know new cultures and experiences.
Connect with local people and explore their culture and tradition. Every culture has its own beauty, and you will have something to add to your life from it. Go for a local wine-tasting evening, take an authentic cooking class or try to pick some essential words from their language.
- Reconnect with yourself
Leaving your comfort zone makes you reflect and reconnect with your life. Every time you travel somewhere, you see different ways people experience their life, try to see the good in those ways of life, and reflect on yours and how far you have come so far, and what you can do better for you to make yourself much more content.
- Appreciate home
Coming home is basically the best thing after traveling somewhere new. You come home with lots of good memories and experiences. Exploring other places always reminds you of the highs and lows in your life, and you will appreciate the coziness in your own home out of everything you have experienced. There’s no place like home to be at your best.