Going from place to place, living on to-do lists, multi-tasking, eating fast, going to bed, and starting all over again — does that sound familiar? August is here, and it’s the perfect opportunity to discover and benefit from all the magic of slow living.
What is “slow living”?
Slow living is a lifestyle that encourages a slower approach to aspects of everyday life. It started in Italy during the 1980s and 1990s in opposition to the emergence of fast food. Relevant to “living green,” slow living is a proposed solution to a more materialistic and industrial lifestyle.
What are the benefits?
Slowing down helps you live a healthier life, improve your relationships, reduce stress and anxiety, save time, save money, develop deeper experiences, and make better decisions.
How can you live more slowly?
There is no right way; your version of slow living will likely be different than mine. Slow living is about living at the proper pace for you. It involves intentionality and quality over quantity. Intentional living means living in alignment with your values. Now is the perfect time to review your values and what is or is not important to you.
Here are some ways you can start to experience slow living:
- Wake up early. Take advantage of long summer days. A good friend told me there is a sunrise and a sunset every day; it is only up to me to enjoy them.
- Change your routine. Consider adjusting your schedule and finding a seasonal routine. It may be time to integrate new rules or relax others.
- Make space and time for what is important. Start by decluttering your physical environment; it can be very therapeutic.
- Spend more time alone. Prioritize self-care and use this time to regenerate yourself.
- Say “no.” Cut down on your commitments without guilt at home and work. Set boundaries and ask for help when you need it.
- Spend more time doing less. When is the last time you did nothing? It is such an interesting experience to listen to your thoughts, calm them down, and do nothing for just a moment.
- Experience silence. Introduce stillness in your life through mediation, mindfulness exercises, yoga, or by sitting in silence (start with one minute).
- Cut out distractions. Try to remove distractions like TV, phones, email, and smartwatches for an hour, a day, or more. Just be.
- Take your time to do everyday things: In neuro-linguistic programming, this is called the “beginner mind.” Have you ever tried to prepare your breakfast as if you wanted to explain every single step to someone who has never done it before? Notice the sound of the spoon on the counter, the texture of the cereals under your teeth, the taste of fresh berries; use this technique to cook, fully aware of every action.
- Reconnect: Reconnect with nature, old friends, and family. Slow parenting is focused less on doing things with your kids and more on simply being present with them.
- Use your five senses: Observe five things around you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
- Try something new: Dig into art, reading, and new experiences.
- Listen: Listen to what your body and your mind are telling you. Be present. Enjoy the moment.
Aline Bloch is the owner of Aline’s Cardboard and Out of the Box Eco-Store and a Central Park resident. Photo provided by Aline Bloch.