Prior to the pandemic, you may have witnessed the rise of "hustle culture". People were tagging their social media posts with #hustle, talking about how to stay productive at work and sharing tips on staying motivated. There was also a pressure to stay active in our social lives and constantly plan outings with friends and family.
But with the pandemic, everything had to change. Suddenly, we were forced to stay indoors and slow down! And it was then that people began to rediscover the value of slow living. Suddenly, we were able to take a step back and take control over our lives instead of being swept up in the fast pace.
If you've been feeling burnt out and mentally exhausted by your busy life, then maybe it's time to consider picking up slow living.
What is slow living?
"Slow living" may sound simple, but it certainly is more than just hitting the brakes and slowing down. It's also about being more intentional with your time, and just taking a calmer and more measured approach to things in your life.
That said, slow living doesn't mean ignoring or taking your time with important commitments and responsibilities! Carl Honoré, , author of In Praise of Slowness: How A Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed, describes slow living as "doing things at the right speed".
3 Benefits of practicing slow living
1. Helps you appreciate what's most important in life
Everyone values different things in their lives. Some people look towards wealth, others value relationships, and some simply prioritize being their creative pursuits. When you slow down, you'll find that you'll begin to rediscover what truly matters to you and what makes you happy! It'll also give you more time and energy to work towards these pursuits.
2. Improves your physical and mental wellbeing
A fast-paced life can leave you mentally exhausted and burnt out, which can negatively affect your mental and physical wellbeing. Did you know that burnout can lead to higher blood pressure as well as an increased risk for cardiovascular disease? In addition to that, individuals that suffer from burnout also face a higher chance of anxiety and depression.
With slow living, you can nip these in the bud and instead lead a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. You'll also find that you'll be less stressed and experience happier days!
3. Boosts your creativity and productivity
Ironically, trying to do too much at once can actually reduce your productivity by as much as 40%! By taking things slow and intention, you'll be surprised to find just how much more productive and motivated you'll become.
This doesn't just bode well for your work — it also benefits your creative pursuits as well! With slow living, you'll find that creative ideas just come much easier to you once you're less stressed. Plus, slow living gives you more time and energy to engage in creative hobbies like knitting or painting.
5 easy ways you can ease into slow living
Despite all these benefits, it can be difficult to suddenly toss all your routines away and adopt slow living. It's all about slow transitioning into this new lifestyle with small changes to your everyday.
So, if you're interested in getting started, here are 5 easy and quick ways you can ease yourself into slow living!
1. Slow down your meals
Do you usually put on a Netflix show or a Youtube video whenever you sit down to eat? If so, try to slow down your meals and eat mindfully! This is an excellent way to truly shut your brain off and slow down a day, especially for working adults whose mealtimes are the only break they have at work.
Next time you have a meal, try these tips on how to eat mindfully.
- Use a plate, even if you've ordered takeout
- Appreciate and savor each bite of food
- Practice gratitude for having food to eat before and after your meal
2. Write down your daily intentions
The best way to avoid overworking is to write down your daily intentions every morning! What do you intend to accomplish today? These aren't exclusive to tasks you have to complete; it can also be a desire to maintain a positive outlook for the day or to drop a message off to a close friend.
Using Journey, you can make a checklist of your intentions for the day!
Once you've completed a task, simply click on the box to check it off.
You'll be surprised at the sense of relief and accomplishment that comes to checking off a completed task.
3. Immerse yourself in nature
Try to take some time out of the day to connect with nature! It doesn't need to be much — an evening walk once every two days, or a hike on the weekends. But it's not just about going outdoors just for the sake of it; you have to truly bask and connect with your surroundings!
Sit in the grass and absorb the way the ground beneath you feels, how the birds sound, how crisp the air is. You might even want to read a book or listen to a podcast as you walk around your local park.
With Journey's Atlas feature, you can check in at key locations, write journal entries and upload pictures of your surroundings.
It's a fun way to look at where you've ventured to, and you can write down your thoughts in your journal entries.
4. Spend time with yourself
Scheduling and enjoying "me time" is a key part of slow living. Slow living is about learning to live in silence and solitude; to connect with yourself and your emotions; to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Try to take 1 hour out from your day to unplug from social media, put away everything work-related, and simply relax. Try reading a book, listening to music, or even meditating! Consider adopting a nighttime routine as well, to really ease yourself into a state of relaxation and leisure.
5. Find happiness in everything
This is much easier said than done, but a great way to ease into this habit is by practicing gratitude! You'll find yourself appreciating things that you've always taken for granted more once you're in the habit of practicing gratitude. It'll also have a positive effect on your mood everyday!
Consider starting a gratitude journal. Every night, simply write down three things that you're grateful for in the past 24 hours. It can be something as simple as being grateful for the clean water you can bathe with, or for having a roof over your head.
Slow living isn't just a fad, or an Instagram aesthetic — it's a way of life. It may not be easy to get used to living slowly, but for a happier and healthier lifestyle, the effort might just be worth it. Incorporate journaling and Journey into your slow living journey today!