After the hustle and bustle of a pretty intense holiday season, never has slow living sounded more appealing. Similar to mindfulness and with a healthy dose of self-care included, slow living is about creating space and doing all the things – eating, cleaning, creating and relaxing – with intention. It’s the opposite of multi-tasking and busy-ness. It’s about less is more, and taking the time to be aware of life, while also enjoying it more. Here are a few ways to incorporate slow living into your daily life.
1. Embrace the Quiet: Life doesn’t have to be all talk, music, TV on in the background, and stimulus all the time. Give yourself some periods of quiet. Try yin yoga – a slow and quiet yoga practice with long holds. Read in relative silence. Turn off those sources of stimulus. Go for a walk without music or podcasts or your phone. Let the quiet wash over you.
2. Mindful Movement: Try some mindful movement, and be aware of what your body and mind are doing. This means no Netflix while on the treadmill. Swim, walk, or do yoga and focus on the movement itself, rather than being hell-bent on distraction. Focus on how it feels to move your body and what you are doing. Music in the background is fine! But be deliberate in your focus and motions.
3. Intentional Eating: It’s time to prioritize taking a moment to think about how we are fuelling our bodies. This is intentional eating, rather than eating for convenience or speed. Meals don’t need to be drastically different from what you like to eat, or even fancy, but try to consider what you’re about to eat. When you can, try to make food from scratch – if meal prep involves opening a bunch of packages, this is a clue that it’s overly processed. Try simpler, cleaner and more wholesome food – made from scratch (the ‘baking your own bread’ trend is fun with or without the kids and it’s great for all of your senses). You’ll feel better mentally and physically.
4. Self Care: The self-care movement is one I can wholeheartedly endorse. We shouldn’t feel guilty about taking the time to care for and even pamper ourselves. Why do we feel like there are more important things to be doing or spending money on? Our physical and mental health depend on taking the time – so book that massage. Try a hot stone restorative yoga class. Take a long bubble bath with plenty of candles and bath salts. Moisturize your whole body, and try a face and hair mask. Whatever it is that you find reenergizes you, do it. You deserve it.
5. Relax: Mission – relaxation! Watch a movie without multi tasking – that means no phones or folding laundry. Lie down and listen to a favourite album from years ago. Read a book for a solid chunk of time. Relaxing is so, so good for the soul.
6. Create: Something magical happens when we give our creativity time to flourish. We don’t need to be skilled to try our hand at any number of artistic endeavours. Take some photos, print and frame them. Try drawing, painting or lettering. Write a poem, story, blog, or journal entry. Knit, crochet or sew. Make paper. Try silk-screening a funky design onto a t-shirt.
7. Seek out Nature: You know how great it is to be out in nature. That could be a short but intentional stroll through a city park, time spent in the backyard, hitting the hills for a hike, or even gazing out at a natural vista. Soak it in and feel calmed and rejuvenated.
Current lifestyles don’t always allow for the chance to stop, slow down and live with intention. But by trying to incorporate a few of the tenets of slow living, you’ll benefit from the pause, quiet and attention to the world and tasks around you.