“Be a curator of your life. Slowly cut things out until you’re left only with what you love, with what’s necessary, with what makes you happy.”
There are 24 hours in each day; 8 is for sleeping, bringing you down to 16.
Then there’s eating, making your bed, and if you need to earn a living – work.
How do you make time to enjoy life’s pleasures?
The answer lies in slow living.
Imagine if you could opt for a superpower.
One that allows you to slow seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and even years just based on whether you are happy in the moment.
Seriously, who wouldn’t?
But contrary to its name, slow living isn’t about slowing down time nor moving slowly.
Oh, and has absolutely nothing to do with where you live.
Slow living is a mindset, a way of life. Taking on many synonyms – conscious Living, mindful Living, intentional Living and purposeful and like me, it may be a lifestyle you are embracing… or trying to.
What is Slow Living & Where Does it Come From?
Ultimately slow living is about living authentically and making intentional choices following your values and life purpose. They’ll differ from me to you, but you know you’re living with intent by the way whatever you are doing feels. It will light you up from the inside out.
We each get 24 hours a day. How are you choosing to spend yours?
Slow living is making mindful choices to allocate
those hours, your life to doing the things that make you happy. In making these choices, you’ll filter out the external chatter.
Adopting a slower lifestyle helps you follow your inner compass, guiding you through your journey.
I do talk about some woo-woo sounding topics here I know, but the concept of slow living isn’t new age, nor particularly woo-woo.
It originates from the slow food movement started in Italy during the 1980s following the rise of fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and co. Like many practices that (eventually) reach the Western world, it shares some nuggets from ancient Buddhist philosophy.
Why The Time is Now to Embrace a Slower Life
Societally, we are taught early doors to strive towards more work. That busy-ness equates to success.
“Do this, then that…, and then you’ll be happy”, we are told
And there there is desire or chase rather to constantly be “on the grind”.
For many people, what they do (for work) and what they own is so tightly tied to their self-esteem. Even, where they derive their sense of belonging.
Food for thought: Take away your job title, and at your core, who are you? What do you stand for, and how do you prioritise your authentic self?
I understand in life, there is going to be plenty of time doing things that, quite frankly, we’d rather not! But maybe, just maybe, by becoming more intentional, we can change that!
Over the last year or so, I’ve felt the collective whirring of the world in my corner. The blurred lines between a healthy work-life balance. A mindless sprint to overdo, keep up, and over-consume. By taking part in this race, I’ve felt a disconnect taking me off course from all that makes me truly happy.
This giant robotic treadmill had forced me to pull up and ponder over Eckhart Tolle’s quote, which he so eloquently put when he said:
“The problem is you think you have time.”
Ways Of Embracing a Slower Life
Spending time in nature
By now, I think it’s clear that I am a nature lover, right? I’m in total agreement with Gary Syndar and also believe: “nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
Being outdoors revelling in nature’s simple pleasures is an uplifting experience and has many healing qualities.
When the world becomes chaotic (as so often does in the life of an empath), nature is the perfect place for restoring my energy, clarity, and offering an abundance of joy.
That being said, I would hate to leave you with a false impression. Slow living isn’t dependent on where you live, nor does it have any bearing on your monetary wealth.
Embracing a slower lifestyle is something you can adopt whether you live in London, on a riverboat in Amsterdam or like me in Malta.
Another reason why this slower lifestyle appeal is because of its simple roots. For me, it’s a process that celebrates being a human being rather than a human-doing. Slowing down in many ways returns to basics and is something everyone can get on board with.
The issue I have with this busy-ness, fast-paced mindset is its greedy capitalist origins.
A false notion (and promotion) that to be happy in life, you need to be rich, spend excess money and the need to look outside yourself.
This does nothing for the world at large. Look around you, get outside the best things in life are free.
Social Media Detox
When Instagram went down a few months ago, were you one of the millions of users angry and/or anxiously waiting for its return? Or, like me, did you enjoy the downtime another way?
Incredibly, just how much time is spent on social media. Much of it – mindless scrolling and procrastination.
Are you aware of just how much time you spend mindlessly scrolling? This on top of keeping up with ever-changing algorithms and perfectly curated feeds?
Studies have shown the average person spends 4 hours per day on social media, and this is equal to:
- ½ a night of good quality rest
- A flight from Malta to London
- A day spent hiking
- Quality time with loved ones
- Cooking a hearty meal from scratch
- Reading an (at least) quarter of a book
- Starting a blog post
- Going on a date
(Or whatever else you love doing)
If you’re deriving true happiness and joy from spending this amount of time on socials, all good.
But are you?
Nowadays, spending time on social media feels counterintuitive to my happiness.
I love creating, interacting and sharing. But lately, social media feels less supportive of creativity and more about holding up social constructs and ideas, leading to burnout and over-consumerism.
Similarly to Imposters Syndrome being the killer of creativity + dreams, so can social media. This is because of perfectionism and social comparison.
Don’t know if you’ve seen last years social media documentary, The Social Experiment. Still, there was a stark warning that often hauntingly replays in my mind:
“If you’re not paying for the product…. you are the product”.
Social Media giants make huge profits by keeping you away from doing everything that genuinely brings you joy. And the worse bit…keeping you on the hamster wheel at the whim of likes and comments does nothing for your self-esteem.
Becoming More Mindful
When was the last time you put your complete concentration behind whatever action or task you were doing?
Did you know that we complete tasks on auto-pilot 90% of the time? It kinda sounds cool, but it also means 90% of the time, we are not here in the now.
Ever since reading The Power of Now, observing mindfulness was one main key takeaway from the book.
So we may not have the power to slow time. Being mindful is one superpower available to us as mere humans that can bring joy to even the most mundane tasks.
To make busy-ness sound exciting, you will often hear another word: Multi-tasking.
But, in the beautiful world of mindfulness… multitasking doesn’t exist,
your superpower is limited to the joy of one task.
Anxiety is a result of overthinking about the past or too much thinking of the present. This is why mindfulness does wonders for anxiety.
Becoming more mindful is an excellent practice for choosing to embrace a slower lifestyle and is ever so handy when deciding who and what to give your time and energy to.
Some days this looks like choosing your battles, determining whether something requires a reaction.
On others it’s counting your blessing and expressing your gratitude for all you have.
And on other occasions, it’s tuning into your intuition and “saying yes or, in some cases, saying no”.
One of my favourite things to do is just chill with a coffee in hand, watching everything and nothing as people drift past. Or stopping to notice another epic sunset. Yours?
Final Thoughts on Embracing a Slower Lifestyle
Embracing a slower lifestyle has many benefits and a practice that is less about perfection, busy-ness and more about your happiness.
The keyword here is practice. You won’t grasp a slower lifestyle immediately, but you sure as well will have fun in the process.
So, would you agree, the time is now to start embracing a slower life?