Slow Living is not a new trend. Before the creation of our society as we know it today – capitalist and consumerist – people had been living slowly for centuries. We just forgot how it’s done.
After the pandemic, we have seen a few phenomena spreading worldwide. For example, people not accepting to go back to the office or deciding that city life was not for them. Others felt that the 9 to 5 was making them miserable – thus, the ‘great resignation’ trend. But why now?
The pandemic took a lot from us, but it did give us something we never had: time. With all that time suddenly in our hands, we couldn’t help but think. Think about our life, what made us happy and, mostly, what made us miserable. It turns out, the ‘fast life’ we were all leading, filled with meetings, drinks after work and Sunday blues, wasn’t what many of us dreamed of when growing up.
The #slowliving hashtag currently counts 5.5M posts on Instagram. On TikTok, the same hashtag has reached a whooping 947.1M views. The content varies from well-presented food to train travels, beach vacations and cabins in the woods, but also flowers, matcha lattes and family portraits.
And, as bizarre as it may seem, this melting pot of different images couldn’t be more accurate. Because reflecting on the meaning of slow living is nothing but recalling the things that are important to us.
What is Slow Living?
The concept of living slow comes from the Slow Movement. The movement was started in Italy by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists that, in the 80s, were campaigning to prevent the opening of a McDonald’s in the iconic Piazza di Spagna in Rome. Other important campaigns were born from the Slow Movement, such as Slow Food, Cittaslow, Slow Travel and many others.
Slow Living is a lifestyle philosophy emphasizing a slower pace of life, focusing on mindful living. It responds to the fast-paced, high-stress, and consumer-driven culture that has become increasingly prevalent in modern society.
Slow living encourages individuals to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life, such as spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, and connecting with nature. It emphasizes a more balanced and intentional approach to daily life, emphasizing self-care, mindfulness, and conscious consumption.
This lifestyle doesn’t require a particular way of life or a passion for specific activities. The goal is to create a sense of peace and contentment in one’s life while reducing stress and improving overall well-being.
There isn’t a specific formula to live a ‘slow life’. Each person has to build their own pleasurable way of living.
How is Slow Living different from the typical fast-paced lifestyle?
Slow living is fundamentally different from the typical fast-paced lifestyle in several ways. Here are some key differences:
The pace of life: Slow living prioritises a slower pace of life, where individuals take the time to enjoy the present moment, rather than rushing from one task to another. In contrast, the fast-paced lifestyle is characterised by a constant sense of urgency and a focus on productivity.
Mindfulness: Slow living gives big importance to mindfulness, which involves being present in the moment and paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. On the other hand, the fast-paced lifestyle can lead to a sense of detachment and disconnection from the present moment.
Consumption: Slow living promotes a more conscious approach to consumption, where individuals focus on quality over quantity and take the time to appreciate the things they have rather than constantly seeking more. In contrast, the fast-paced lifestyle is often driven by consumerism, where individuals are encouraged to consume more and more in pursuit of happiness and success.
Connection: Slow living emphasizes the importance of connection with oneself and others. This can include spending time with loved ones, connecting with nature, and pursuing hobbies and passions. The fast-paced lifestyle, on the other hand, can lead to a sense of isolation and disconnection.
Slow living offers a more balanced and intentional approach to life, focusing on self-care, mindfulness, and connection, rather than productivity and consumption.
What are the benefits of a Slow Lifestyle?
Practising slow living can have several benefits for one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Here are some of the potential benefits:
Reduced stress: It promotes a slower pace of life, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety. By taking the time to slow down and focus on the present moment, individuals can cultivate a sense of calm and relaxation.
Improved mental health: By emphasising mindfulness and self-care, this lifestyle can also help to improve mental health. By caring for oneself, engaging in activities that bring joy, and cultivating a sense of purpose, individuals may experience greater happiness, contentment, and overall well-being.
Better physical health: It can also have physical health benefits, such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases, improving sleep quality, and promoting overall physical fitness. By prioritizing self-care, individuals may be more likely to engage in healthy habits, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet.
Stronger relationships: Emphasizing connection and social interaction helps strengthen relationships with loved ones and promotes a sense of community. By taking the time to connect with others, individuals can foster a sense of belonging and support.
Increased creativity: Slow living can also foster creativity and innovation, as individuals have more time and mental space to explore new ideas and pursue creative passions. By engaging in activities such as writing, painting, or music, individuals may experience a greater sense of fulfilment and purpose.
Overall, slow living offers a more intentional and fulfilling approach to life, with potential benefits for one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
What are some common misconceptions about slow living?
There are several common misconceptions about slow living that can lead to confusion or misunderstanding. Here are a few examples and ways to separate fact from fiction:
Slow living is about being lazy or unproductive: This is a common misconception, but it’s not true. Slow living is not about being lazy, but rather about being intentional and mindful about how we use our time. By prioritizing self-care, connection, and meaningful work, individuals practising slow living can be just as productive and successful as those in a fast-paced lifestyle.
Slow living is only for those who live in rural areas or small towns: While slow living can certainly be easier to practice in a rural or small-town setting, it is not exclusive to these environments. Slow living can be practised in any setting, whether it’s a city, suburb, or countryside.
Slow living means giving up technology: While it’s true that slow living emphasises a more intentional and mindful use of technology, it does not mean giving it up entirely. Slow living encourages individuals to use technology in a way that supports their well-being, rather than allowing it to control their lives.
Slow living is only for the wealthy: This is another common misconception, but it’s not true. Slow living can be practised by anyone, regardless of income level. While certain aspects of slow living, such as organic food or sustainable fashion, can be more expensive, slow living is ultimately about prioritizing what’s most important to us and living a simpler, more fulfilling life.
To separate fact from fiction, it’s important to try it out for yourself. You can start by incorporating small changes into your daily routine, such as taking a few moments to breathe deeply or practising gratitude, and gradually building up to more significant changes, such as reducing screen time or pursuing a creative hobby.
Ultimately, slow living is about finding a balance that works for you and supports your overall well-being.
Source: Pretty Slow Life