We live in a world where information and news travels faster than ever before and most people are expected to be online or available at all times. It’s seen as desirable to work long hours to the point of burnout while simultaneously more and more people are depressed and burnt out. We live in crowded cities and try to fit in as much as we can in the 24 hours that each day consists of.
But what if life could be different, if you chose other values to built your life upon? What if you could slow down, de-stress and focus on quality over quantity as a general life approach?
Good thing is, you can!
For me, slow living is the way to go about it! It emphasizes a slower and more purposeful approach to life. Sometimes people seem to think that slower means doing nothing, to just “sit around”, or that it means that you’re just lazy. If you ask me, that is far from the truth.
Living slow is all about priorities, it’s about quality over quantity, it’s about doing things with presence and being in the moment. It is about doing what you do in your everyday life as well as possible instead of as fast as possible. Instead of burning out you’ll experience life and those everyday moments to the fullest.
Living slow is also about saying NO to a lot of things that isn’t important, so you can say YES to what is. Slow living can absolutely be about baking bread from scratch, sitting down and drink tea while watching the fire in the fire place and knitting your own sweaters, but it doesn’t have to be. It can mean working from home and living in the countryside but it can also mean traveling the world or chasing a career that includes a lot of work and long hours, as along as you’re guarding your time for what’s important to you. As long as it means you’re mindful what you spend your time on, you’re able to hustle while still doing quality work and live an quality life where focus is just that; quality.
This slow living approach to life doesn’t mean you can’t use things such as mobile phones or Internet. To be honest, practicing slow living doesn’t require and certificate, there are no rules or super clear definition that everyone who says they are practicing slow living uses. So you can disregard everything I just wrote…kidding aside, that is the truth. The following tips and this whole post is just how I have chosen to practice slow living and how I have incorporated it into my life.
It starts in the home
For me slow living starts in the home. A messy chaotic home leaves my mind messy and chaotic too. I think looking at what your space looks like, how you spend your time there and what you surround yourself can be a first step in adapting a more considered approach to everyday life. Home, no matter if you work from home or not, is where you recharge. This is where we raise our families, where we rest, where we invite people to share food and where we create many of our everyday memories.
When I stared adapting a slow living approach to my home, I quickly realized how much of what I surrounded myself was stressing me out. It also took a lot of time to clean, organize and pick up after myself. Shortly; I needed to clean out my space, only keep what had a purpose for me and that added value to my home, and also to keep all interior elements in soft, muted and earth based colors.
When our homes are created based on what we value, what makes home a place of rest and peace, they begin serve as more than just a space we come home to after work. For me everything I have in my either have a purpose – meaning a functional value, or a sentimental value – meaning it is important for me in some personal aspect. If it doesn’t meet one or both of those criteria, there is no purpose in keeping it for me.
Something else that I try and organize my home around, is that everything should have a place. One example could be that magazines or mail that I get ends up on the floor just inside the front door, or that I always forget where I put my keys after coming home. That, for me, is a sign that I need a place for those items, to not have them adding stress or negative impact my personal space. It’s easily fixed by putting up a shelf on the wall just by the door, or placing a nice chair or a dresser with a wooden bowl for both keys and mail. Whatever works in you home. My home decoration style is centered around the routines in y life (what I put where and when), purpose and what value it adds.
What I eat and HOW I eat it
There are no food that are needed to consume when you take the slow living approach. Naturally though, shopping for groceries, cooking and eating with with quality at the core, quickly excludes fast food and unhealthy eating just for the sake of eating.
When I think about food and eating with the Slow living approach I think of how SLOW is used as an acronym:
S for Sustainable
L for Local
O for Organic as in not mass produced
W for Whole, not processed
And for me, that is what I try to incorporate as much as I can. Even if I buy fast food, I try to chose the ones that used whole food ingredients, that support local producers, that might serve organic meals or that support my core values in some other ways. And if I eat candy, I try my best to support local small producers of chocolate and to really enjoy what I am eating. Savor every bite and being present in that moment, not just eating 1 pound of candy out of stress or to suppress a negative emotion.
What I buy and wear
The same philosophy I apply to my home, I apply to my wardrobe. It’s not about being perfect or only buying organically produced item. But it about being conscious about what I by, for what reason and if it really adds value to my closet. 20 dresses is not anyone needs, then it’s what one wants, and the questions is when it boils down to choosing one dress for a specific occasion, does it really add value choosing between that many dresses? Several studies have shown that having too many options adds stress and not value to our life. The only way many options add value is if we know, with certainty, that choosing one option over the others will benefit us greatly.
For me, applying slow living on my closet means buying with purpose. I try to support smaller business, that produce quality hand made items, and preferably in organic material. But in this world, finding that and also in a style that you love, isn’t always so easy.
So for me, I shop with the following in mind:
Do I really need it or do I have something like this in my wardrobe already? If I do, then what is the difference between them, in what occasion will I wear the new item instead of the older that I love?
Is it in a style that suits my body? I love the boho type of skirts that you wear on your hips, but let me tell you. That is not a good style for my body type. I love it, but I don’t look good in it and hence I don’t feel comfortable. And it always ends up hanging in the closet just taking up space.
Is it in the “right” color tone for me. I try and keep my closet within certain color tones. It’s both what suits me, what I like, and having the same color tones or keeping all my clothes within the same range of colors make my wardrobe much more versatile.
All this mounts down to choosing quality over quantity but because I have a quality mindset building my wardrobe, it becomes larger in the process and fewer items actually means more options to chose from but in a positive way since everything goes “together”.
What I consume & communicate
The saying “You are what you eat” meaning what you consume in terms of food is something many have read or heard about. But what you consume isn’t just food, it’s everything. You consume TV-series, books, news articles and content on social media. You also consume conversations with friends and family, your own thoughts about life and the values you have.
Because of that, I try my best to be conscious about what I consume, when and why. And when I do consume, I try and do it with purpose. Meaning, I try and not scroll aimlessly on social media. I am very careful with who I follow and what content they produce and what values they stand for. I restrict my news media consumption to maximum one update a day. I try to not speak about other people in a negative tone or manner and if I need to “get something of my chest” I make it my priority to speak to that person first, and not speak about him or her with someone else. I try to think kindly and forgiving about other peoples behavior, and that I do not know what kind of turmoil they are going through when acting selfishly or angry. Most of the times, the way people act when aggressively attacking others most often is a reflection of how they feel inside. I stand up for myself, but I can also chose to react with no reaction. When I speak, I should do so with honesty. You should not speak everything that is on your mind, that is just being rude your truth isn’t necessarily THE truth, but when you do speak it should be honest and kind. Asking yourself “is it kind, is it helpful?” before speaking makes a world of difference how it affects your mind and spirit and hence how you feel about yourself, others and the worlds as a whole. And that is definitely quality over quantity.
Let me know, are your practicing slow living and quality over quantity in any aspects of your life+ How is it affecting you? Or are you curious to start what then will be your first are to improve on?