In our uber-connected, fast-paced world, “slow” has become an alien notion. Nevertheless, more and more people start to question the velocity and briskness of their lives. Enter the slow living movement. From food to music, fashion, and parenting, the movement nowadays preaches a decrease in speed. What is slow living, and how do we incorporate its tenets into our everyday routines? The following are some of the most effective principles of slow living.
“Slow living” isn’t a scientific concept, but most people agree that the idea originated in 1986 when a man called Carlo Petrini protested against the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome. He later co-founded the slow food movement – a group of people who defend traditional Italian eating rituals against the ever-intensifying fast-food culture.
The movement evolved into a global community and exceeded its culinary roots. As such, “slow living” is the idea that you can slow your life down and counter the modern speed fest.
Throughout the last few decades, the movement gained tremendous popularity – with the resurgence of vinyl records, urban gardening, and old-timey crafts all attributed to the concept of slowness.
So, how can we utilize the benefits of slow living in everyday life?
The most effective principles of slow living
By breaking the slow living movement down into smaller characteristics, we can organize our lives accordingly. On this basis, here are seven principles of slow living that will boost your calmness.
Ritualize your everyday routines
Most of us structure our days around daily habits.
We get up, make a cup of coffee, have breakfast, get dressed, and commute to work. To embrace the principles of slow living, transform these mundane acts into mindful rituals.
Instead of rushing out of bed, take your time, and think about the day ahead. Instead of gulping down your breakfast, analyze its ingredients and nutrients. And finally, stop performing everyday activities on autopilot.
The idea is to incorporate mindfulness into our everyday lives. By doing less and thinking more, we start to consider the real value of our activities. In other words, we learn how to live in the moment, enjoy every single habit, and stop rushing from activity to activity.
Embrace slow food principles
One of the cornerstone principles of the slow living movement concerns food.
In this context, both our meals and our eating habits should adhere to slowness ideals.
You don’t need to adopt every tactic, but you can take some inspiration from the Italian movement. Here are some of the most usable slow food rules:
- Sit on a real table and eat from a proper plate, no matter if the food is takeout.
- Try not to use your phone, tablet, or laptop during meals.
- Try to share at least one meal a day with your family, coworkers, or flatmates.
- Prioritize Sustainable, Local, Organic, and Whole foods. It might be impossible in many instances, but getting closer is a worthwhile goal.
Simplify holidays and other occasions
In our one-click shopping era, consumerism controls many holidays, birthday parties, and other celebrations.
We rush into the stores to find the “perfect” gift for the tech enthusiast in our family. When it comes to birthday presents, we try to outspend each other. And worse still, we believe that our gift defines our level of respect for the recipient.
It’s time to simplify our holidays and gifting culture.
In this context, we can use intentional consumption to determine the value that particular gifts add to the recipient’s life. Such a mantra can change our attitude. We’ll stop trying to find the most lavish gift – and start seeking the most useful present.
The next slow living principle involves traveling.
Before the industry’s Pandemic slowdown, packaged, fast-paced holidays were booming. The cruising industry was on the rise before 2020, and more and more people traveled to far-flung places on all-inclusive trips.
A lot fewer people traveled in recent months, but the industry will eventually regain its former glory. However, when it does, we’ll have an excellent opportunity to rethink our travel habits and slow down our itineraries.
As a digital nomad, travel is part of my daily life. I change locations frequently, but the last few months made me rethink my attitude and slow down my full-time travel lifestyle.
I now spend one to two months in each location – giving myself ample time to savor the culture of the places I’m visiting.
Consequently, whether you want to work remotely, go on cruise ships again, backpack across Southeast Asia, or take a simple city-break, question your travel style.
Ask yourself: how fast should I travel? Do I experience the locations properly? And most importantly, do I have enough time to feel novelty and excitement?
If traveling is just a quick sprint from Instagram hotspot to Instagram hotspot, you could easily travel virtually. After all, virtual experiences will be a substantial part of traveling in the future.
In that same vein, we can value gestures over material presents.
Let’s take the example of family members who live on the other side of the country. Surprising them with a trip to their location can have a much more profound effect than a digital coupon.
For most people, boredom has a negative connotation.
That new movie is boring. Jogging is a boring sport. And everything to do with mindfulness fuels my boredom.
Learning how to relish boredom, however, is a superpower.
No matter if you want to become fitter, start a business, or learn a new language, there will be a lot of boring, repetitive training. And the principles of slow living are an excellent way to master that training.
By practicing mindfulness in everyday life, slowing down your daily routine, and forgoing the idea of multi-tasking, your threshold for boredom will surge. In other words, it will take much longer for you to become bored. And this higher starting point will help you concentrate longer, and by extension, become more productive.
Re-assess the use of your free time
When it comes to free time, slow living is all about pursuing deliberate hobbies, not random entertainment.
Ask yourself: does this activity add value to my life?
If your evening TV session does nothing other than aggravating your anxiety with doom and gloom news reports, it might be time to find a new evening activity.
In that same vein, don’t just watch TV or scroll down social media because you’re bored. Find an activity that provides genuine entertainment or another type of value. Reading is the most obvious example – combining fun with education.
No matter the type, curate your leisure activities. Question their use and don’t perform them on autopilot to counter tediousness.
Live in the moment
Finally, the most crucial slow living principle is the idea of connecting to the present.
In this context, many people can trace their anxieties back to uncertainty. They expect something in the future – and inevitable risks exacerbate their angst.
That’s why you should live in the moment. The problem with consistently pondering future occurrences is that there are no guarantees. You don’t have a crystal ball telling you what’s going to happen.
What you do have, on the other hand, is control over your next 24 hours. Consequently, utilize the principles of slow living by intentionally designing the content of those 24 hours.
Slow living is about mindfully building a productive daily routine that will help you succeed in your endeavors. Start connecting to the present – because the past is gone and the future is uncertain.
Useful links on Principles of Slow Living
- more in the section “Life”
- more under the topic “Mindfulness”
- read 6 Mindful Ways to Slow Your Life Down
- read How to Know When It’s Time to Slow Your Life Down
Don’t miss a beat!
Jack Krier is a writer, photographer, and entrepreneur. On Minimalist Focus, he shares his ideas on minimalism and personal growth, helping thousands of readers improve their lives by focusing on the essentials.