Do you feel like your life is constantly in a rush with no time to do anything you enjoy? Being constantly on the go can zap the joy from your everyday living. It can also cause you to feel overwhelmed and stressed. So if you find yourself having days or even weeks passing you by in an instant then you need to take a step back and try slowly living!
So what is slowly living really all about? Here, we talk about the many benefits of living slowly and how you can adopt them in your own life.
What does living slowly mean?
Have you gotten into the habit of answering “busy!” when greeted with the question, “how are you?” If so, you’re not alone! Even though busy is not a feeling, it’s nonetheless become the standard answer to that question. Slow living just might be the antidote you’re looking for in your overly hectic life.
Slow living is a lifestyle that grew out of the slow food movement. Emerging in Italy in the 1980s as a backlash against fast food, the slow food movement wanted to protect traditional cooking and bring back the pleasure of eating and sharing food with others. From there, the movement expanded to include slowing down in all aspects of life.
Slow living can be practiced in many areas of life and in many ways. There’s no “right” way to live slowly but there are certain things that a slow living lifestyle embodies, such as:
- Embracing simplicity over excess.
- Understanding that faster isn’t always better.
- Following the philosophy of quality over quantity.
One thing slowly living is not is laziness or boredom. If you practice slow living, you’ll realize that just because your day is not filled to the brim with appointments, in no way does that make you lazy or unproductive. There is pleasure, beauty, and yes, even productivity, to be found in a slower life.
7 Key tips to start living slowly
So if you’re ready to embrace slow living as a new way of life, here are some ways you can begin:
1. Cut back on consumption
You don’t have to become a minimalist to practice slow living, but many of the same principles apply to both. Slow living is all about learning to appreciate what you already have and cutting back on your shopping.
Once you become more intentional about your possessions, you’ll probably find that there are places you can reduce your consumption, reuse what you already own, or recycle something instead of throwing it away.
2. Put down your phone
A large part of slow living is about connecting with your surroundings, whether that means with people or with nature. Resist the urge to check your phone whenever you have a free moment.
Sure, there will always be something to do on your phone (online shopping, responding to a text, checking email, etc.), but how much of that is really urgent? Instead of taking your phone out for comfort or to fight boredom, spend your time thinking and connecting to your surroundings.
3. Build more rest into your schedule
Those who practice slow living prioritize rest. So try to include more downtime into your schedule. This might look like ten minutes of meditation in the morning, an afternoon nap, or nightly journaling.
You can incorporate small moments of rest into your days, too. Take a few more minutes to savor your coffee while you look out the kitchen window, linger in bed with your partner for a moment longer, or hug your kids extra long. Being mindful of your time and slowing down is a form of resting, too.
4. Say yes to slowly living, say no to other things
Are you a “yes” person, always letting others place demands on your time and fill up your schedule? One of the key concepts of slow living is being intentional with your time. If you want to do that, you have to learn how to say no.
No to your daughter’s school’s request that you chaperone a trip, no to your family’s expectation that you prepare a new dinner recipe every weeknight, and no to your boss’s demand of your time after hours. Start putting your foot down and start saying no.
5. Get outside
Connecting with nature is a core element of slow living. One of the simplest ways to do this is to get outside, even if it’s just to sit under a tree on your lawn or take a stroll around the block. Leave your phone inside, and observe the world around you.
6. Grow your own food (or buy locally)
Ok, for most people, growing your own food is not practical or even possible. But many of us have room for a mini garden on the kitchen shelf. Tending to something like a basil plant connects you to nature and to your food, helps you practice patience, and gives you something to care for.
If you can’t or don’t want to grow anything on your own, try to buy local or organic produce. Slow living embraces sustainability, and that includes what you eat. Eat locally to reduce your environmental impact and support local farmers and producers.
7. Connect with family and friends
Lastly, make time to connect with your loved ones. Slow living is about slowing down so that you can focus more time on the important things in life, like your relationships. Spending time with your family can be done on a budget and can incorporate other aspects of slow living, like connecting with nature and leaving your phone behind.
How living slowly benefits your mental health
One of the greatest benefits of living slowly is how much of a positive impact it can have on your mental health. Some of these benefits include:
1. Lower levels of stress
A byproduct of slowing down? A more relaxed lifestyle and lower stress levels. With fewer commitments on your calendar, fewer things you “have” to do, and a more mindful way of living comes less stress.
2. More time for yourself
Another benefit? More time for rest, for yourself, and for self-care. Again, by cutting back on obligations or things that distract you from what you truly care about, you’ll have more time to do things that actually fulfill you and more time for yourself.
3. Slowly living means stronger relationships
Strong relationships have numerous health benefits, including increased happiness and even a longer life. What is one way you can strengthen your relationships? By living slowly and taking back your time, you’ll create more space for your relationships. Plus, being fully present when you are with others improves the quality of that time spent with your friends and family.
4. Better sense of purpose
By being intentional with your life, you’ll lead with more purpose. Those who live slowly live by their core values and make time for what matters most to them. Having a sense of purpose has a positive effect on your mental health and overall well-being.
How slowly living affects your finances
By now, you’re probably sold on the idea of slow living, or at least incorporating some of its practices into your daily life. But, since this is Clever Girl Finance, we’d be remiss not to talk about how slow living affects your finances! Here are some of the ways:
1. You spend less money
When you adopt a slower life and learn to appreciate what you have, spending less and saving more is something you don’t have to even think about. It just happens! When you no longer worry about keeping up with the Joneses or having the latest and greatest luxury goods, you’ll have more money to put toward savings, investing, or your other financial goals.
Most people who practice slow living learn to pause and think about a purchase before pulling out their credit card and buying something they don’t need or even really want. Many save money by rejecting fast fashion in favor of sustainable clothing. Others practice something called “slow travel,” which is an intentional and sustainable form of travel that often costs less than a traditional vacation.
2. Helps build up your savings and investments
So much of personal finance and financial goal setting is about the long game. But even if you understand that saving or investing will benefit your future self, it can be hard to put that into practice. One thing slow living teaches you is that not everything is immediate.
In a world where we are accustomed to instant gratification, we often forget that things take time. Saving for a down payment on a house or college education can take many years. With slow living, you learn to appreciate that things take time, so you become willing to take it slow and invest in your future over your present.
3. Other effects of slowly living
There are tradeoffs that you have to consider when deciding to live slowly. Some changes you make might not benefit your finances on their face but will benefit your overall life. It’s up to you to decide if these changes are worth it.
These are things like working part-time instead of full-time, taking a sabbatical, or quitting your job to spend more time with your family. While these moves don’t appear to be financially beneficial since they all result in less income, living well isn’t just about making more and more money. You might decide for yourself that a slower life, even with less money in the bank, is a richer one.
Try slowly living for a more fulfilling life!
Living slowly just might be the solution to our over-worked, over-stressed, over-scheduled lives. If you find yourself wishing you had more time to do what you want, fulfill your purpose, and spend your time with loved ones, why not try slowing down? The benefits of just a few small changes can have ripple effects on your relationships, health, and even your finances.
So are you ready to start slowly living but need to figure out how to do it financially? You can learn how to create the right financial goals and a budget that works for you with our completely free "Build a solid foundation" bundle! Also, be sure to check out the Clever Girls Know podcast and YouTube channel for top tips on all things personal finance!