The world doesn’t slow down for anyone. It keeps turning, spinning, and going full-speed ahead. It wasn’t always this way, though. Our ways of life used to be simple, free from the hectic speeds of the “hustle” mentality. Everybody is always trying to do and be more.
And I subscribed to this mentality for a long time. I still struggle with feeling like I’m not doing enough when I just need to relax. It’s a balance for sure. Our world is built to be chaotic and to make us feel like we’re lazy when we don’t fill up our schedules. But all this go, go, go isn’t good for us either. Physically, mentally, or spiritually.
For me personally, when I’m not actively trying to slow down, my spiritual life suffers, my health declines, and I often get waves of uncontrollable sadness. These definitely aren’t things I want to subscribe to. But how can you do it? how can you actively try to practice a slower life when life is just flying by?
Let’s start with a brief history lesson, shall we? The slow movement was started in the 1980s by an Italian named Carlo Petrini. He started the “slow food” movement after McDonald’s dropped a restaurant at the Spanish Steps in Rome. It’s safe to say that people weren’t too happy about this. This inspired him to start the slow food movement which recognized the negative impact that the fast-food industry had on food, our health, culture, and so much more.
This sparked a worldwide movement and interest to slow down. Faster isn’t always better. Fast-paced living has a similar effect on our bodies and well-being that fast-food does. I’ve learned that almost anything fast is bad: Fast-food, fast fashion, fast living!
There’s a reason the slow living movement has gained popularity in the past few years. We’re all tired of running around like chickens with our heads cut off and still feeling empty at the end of the day. Don’t get me wrong, every now and then a busy day feels good and there’s nothing wrong with that. But as human beings, I think we desire more out of our lives. And slow living may just hold the answer.
How to live slowly in a fast-paced world
1. Understand that faster isn’t always better
We’ve been taught by society that filling up our schedules and juggling multiple things at once is a sign of success or accomplishment. We have to dismantle that belief in order to truly slow down. If we don’t we’ll feel guilty for spending an entire day doing nothing or for taking 5 extra minutes on our coffee breaks. I still struggle with this from time to time. Slow living is not a destination.
But as I mentioned earlier: fast isn’t always better. In fact, it rarely is. Fast food (while a nice treat on occasion) is terrible for our bodies. When food is made that quickly, it’s not made as well. Corners are cut, and preservatives are used so it’s more ready to go.
Fast fashion, as I talk about all the time on this blog, is terrible for the planet, garment workers, and us as consumers. In order to get new styles to consumers quickly, workers are over-worked and underpaid, resources are abused and spent poorly at a great cost to our environment, and toxic chemicals are used in the materials that we breathe in.
Similarly, a fast-paced lifestyle wears us out, drains us mentally and emotionally, and we let a lot of important things fall to the wayside. These full and busy lifestyles often just end up leaving us feeling empty. Fast isn’t always better.
2. Recognize your priorities
We constantly have to make decisions and sacrifices about what gets done, and what doesn’t. What event we attend, and what event we don’t. People we see and people we don’t get to see. Life seems to revolve around making room for some things and having no room for other things.
I can’t guarantee that when you start practicing a slow life you’ll magically have time for everything. We still have jobs and commitments that need to happen. However, we need to recognize our priorities. Things that are non-negotiable.
Take the time to sit down and write out exactly what’s important to you. Is it finally finishing that book you started a year ago? Is it meeting with a friend for coffee once a month? Is it learning a new hobby? Or perhaps it’s just keeping on top of household chores or work. Recognizing your priorities will naturally help you slow down by teaching you how to cut the excess to focus on said priorities. Like saying no to an extra workload so you can finally fold that laundry and so on.
3. Practice quality over quantity
Once you start to apply this practice to every area of your life, you’ll start to notice a huge difference in the quality of your life. (See what I did there?) Fill your life with quality people rather than dozens of not-so-great people. Start eating quality food, even if you have to slow down and cook it. Purchase well-made clothing even if it takes longer to get to you. Become a conscious consumer and consume less, making room for more high-quality items.
This fast-paced world we live in comes at a steep price for both our health and our planet’s health. Shift your belief from more is better to less BUT better. Whether it’s the slow food movement focusing on fewer processed foods, for a fewer ingredient, whole foods or the slow fashion movement which focusing less on owning more, cheaper pieces for fewer, high-quality pieces made to last. Less is better.
4. Build mindful habits
I find my slow lifestyle to be at its best when I’m building and nurturing mindful habits, routines, or rhythms. This will look different for everyone. A few habits I’ve been working on are nailing down and sticking to a consistent skincare routine, doing something more “creative” every day like painting, journaling, reading, learning to knit, or having a big cup of tea every evening.
All of these habits or routines force me to take a pause and slow down. They allow me time to breathe and have made all the difference when it comes to “slow living”. When I have a free evening, I’m no longer looking to fill it up with more things, but I look forward to the slow rhythm of indulging in one or more of these habits.
Again, I encourage you to take the time to write down some things you’d love to start incorporating into your lifestyle that are mindful, not meaningless.
5. Live intentionally
I believe that slow living and intentional living go hand and hand. When we’re more intentional with our days, schedules, and practices it opens the door to a very freeing way of life.
Be intentional about who you spend your time with, what you spend your money on, what kind of food you consume, how busy you are, and on and on.
Intentional living simply means knowing your beliefs, values, and priorities and living your life in accordance. For example, if you believe that eating meat is animal cruelty, you’re intentional about not doing that. You don’t eat meat on purpose. And every day you make intentional decisions to avoid meat and not consume foods with animal products. Apply the same principle to every area of your life.
If you truly want to slow down and live slowly in a fast-paced world, then every day you have to make intentional decisions to do so. It’s not as taxing as it sounds, I promise. If you’re passionate about it, intentionality will be second nature to you.Intentional living is knowing your beliefs, values, and priorities, and living in accordance with them. Click To Tweet
It’s important to remember that slow living is not an exact science. You’ll be practicing and perfecting this way of living for the rest of your life. And you may never get it perfect and that’s ok. We still live in an incredibly fast-paced world. All we can do is our best, and that’s more than enough.
Thank you so much for reading this post! Please don’t forget to share it with others who may benefit from slowing down and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more slow living inspiration!