Sustainability made simple

What Is Slow Living – and How Do You Slow Down?

slow living
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / StockSnap

Slow living is a lifestyle movement that emphasizes conscious living and savoring what you have. Learning how to slow down can help you appreciate your life more.

In an increasingly busy and interconnected world, it can be difficult to cherish the joys of everyday life. Slow living helps you prioritize your personal needs and desires, and encourages you to slow down so that you can experience life to its fullest. You can read on to learn more about how to incorporate these values into your daily habits. Just a few small changes could completely transform your outlook on life.

What Is Slow Living?

The slow living movement is rooted in the values of Slow Food, an organization that promotes conscious eating habits.
The slow living movement is rooted in the values of Slow Food, an organization that promotes conscious eating habits.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / lumix2004)

Slow living is a set of lifestyle attitudes that emerged as a response to the increased commercialization and fast-paced nature of ordinary life. It is closely related to minimalist living, and generally encourages individuals to consume less and to be more intentional about their everyday habits.

The movement first began with Slow Food, an Italian organization founded in 1986 in order to preserve traditional agriculture and cuisine, as well as to push back against the fast-food industry. The organization encourages people worldwide to gain a deeper appreciation of the food they consume by slowing down and taking the time to learn about where it comes from, how it is produced, and how dietary choices can have wide-reaching effects.

Other organizations and activists have now begun to reexamine other aspects of ordinary life in a similar way. For example, Slow Fashion refers to a lifestyle choice in which consumers learn about the production process behind their clothes and choose to purchase clothes more consciously. Like the Slow Food movement pushes back against fast food, Slow Fashion pushes back against the fast fashion industry.

In all areas, slow living seeks to promote four core values, which are conveniently included in the acronym SLOW:

S – Sustainable

L – Local

O – Organic

W – Whole (rather than processed)

Thinking about how our everyday choices align with each of these four values can help lead to much more conscientious decisions.

Why Should I Try Slow Living?

Slow living can improve your life in many ways.
Slow living can improve your life in many ways.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / StockSnap)

Slow living not only promotes ethical values, it also has an overall positive impact on daily life, both physically and psychologically. 

  • Slow living deepens your appreciation for what you have: Because one of the core values of slow living is sustainability, this lifestyle encourages you to consume less and think more about how you can use what you already have. This can encourage you to be more appreciative about all of the things you already have in your life and discourage the urge to find satisfaction through a constant pursuit of new things.
  • It saves you money: Because slow living emphasizes conscious consumption, you will probably be purchasing fewer items if you follow this lifestyle. You can also reduce impulse purchases, meaning that you are less likely to discard the items that you do choose to buy. This can save you a lot of money in the long-run since you are only investing in items that will add value to your life.
  • It encourages you to be creative: Since slow living encourages you to reevaluate the things you already have in your life, it also helps you to think about different ways you can repurpose what you already have. For example, you might want to take on a visible mending project to breathe some new life into an old pair of jeans instead of simply throwing them away.
  • It encourages personal development: Because slow living centers around learning more about the objects in your life and deciding what you find most valuable, it can help you self-reflect. As you follow the lifestyle, you can begin to understand yourself, your own needs, and the world around you on a deeper level.

5 Tips on How to Slow Down

You can get the most out of life by setting aside the time to think about your priorities.
You can get the most out of life by setting aside the time to think about your priorities.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / PourquoiPas)

All of this probably sounds great, but you might be wondering about the practical steps you should take to start living more slowly. Although each person’s style of slow living will be tailored to their personal needs, here are some general tips that you can follow to begin your own journey.

  1. Think about SLOW when you are shopping: One of the first steps you can take is to think about the main values of slow living in your consumer habits. Are you contributing to sustainable, local, organic, and whole products that align with your values? If not, it may be a sign to reevaluate what kinds of items should have a place in your life.
  2. Educate yourself about the impact of your lifestyle: Slow living emphasizes conscious living, which means that you should be aware of the systems you are part of and the habits you form. You can find a lot of great resources online about how your lifestyle can affect the wider world, including in the environment section of our website.
  3. Think before acting: Whether you are thinking about purchasing something small, or making a life-changing decision like taking a new job, think about whether your choice will add value to your life. Slow living is all about simplifying your life and focusing your energy on what is important to you. Regardless of how great something might look from the outside, always think about how the choices you are making will really bring you happiness.
  4. Spend time alone: The slow living movement is rooted in a desire to counteract many of the negative effects of modern trends. In order to break away from social pressures, it is a good idea to spend some time alone to think about the aspects of your lifestyle that are benefitting you and those that are harming you. Mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques like meditation or journaling are both great ways to get started. 
  5. Set aside time to rest and relax: One of the things that slow living encourages you to avoid is overwork and burnout. In order to give yourself the time that you need to be your best self, and to remove yourself from the pressures of modern life, make sure to schedule time to do things like getting a good night’s sleep, taking a bath, or taking a nice walk through nature.

If you follow these tips and remember to be present in the moment, you can learn to slow down and reap the benefits of a life that you have chosen for yourself.

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