Why on Earth are we trying to hurry? It is not good to be lazy or procrastinate, but what’s required is a bit of slowing down. Slow living lifestyle helps calm nerves, make deep personal connections, and, paradoxically, allows way more time than when we are frantically moving around.
One has to recognize that slowing down is a choice open to all. Even if you are busy, there are always ways to take it easy. You can start small and make your life fulfilling.
This slow-living phenomenon has roots in the Slow Food movement, started by Carlo Petrini in the 1980s, in Italy. Slow living expands on the simple idea of slowing down enough to enjoy life – from eating meals to the way of working to spending free time.
One way to embrace slowness and empower sustainability is by modifying or even doing away with a traditional commute. You could ride a bike or scooter – or even walk – to work instead of driving. Using public transportation instead of your own vehicle, or asking your supervisor about telecommuting a few days each week is a reasonable enough option.
Exploring other work opportunities – closer to home – if your current work situation requires a lengthy journey is another way to opt for a breather. Or if this isn’t possible, you could always leave early to avoid traffic jams. Use your commute time to listen to a meditation recording, refreshing music, or audiobook for overcoming stress.
Spend free time on a hobby rather than on Google
Instead of checking email, continually updating social media, or even shopping online, spend your time on a hobby. These online activities can take up a lot of time if we let them! We’re simply choosing to spend our free time online rather than doing something productive. It will help connect to yourself and increase productivity. Knit or play an instrument or write – devote one evening a week to what will help you slow live through life.
A little boredom is okay
Thich Nhat Hanh – a spiritual leader and peace activist – writes in his book Planting Seeds, that it is actually quite difficult to be lazy.
“Not doing anything, just enjoying ourselves and whatever is around us, is a very deep practice. All of us have an energy within that constantly pushes us to do this or that. We cannot sit or lie still and enjoy ourselves or the beautiful sky. If we aren’t doing something, we can’t stand it.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Choose to not always rush off into a new activity. Instead, pay close attention to the colour of the sky, your feelings, the people around you.
Slow parenting benefits both parties
Rushing from school to sports, to after-school activities, and then spending the remaining time on homework or looking at a screen, kids eventually get stressed out and run-down. The same is true for parents chauffeuring and catering to them. Making room in the daily schedule for screen-free, unstructured time is very important to help everyone relax. Creative pursuits, such as using art supplies, woodblocks and building materials, and regular trips to the garden or exploring a nearby nature area will go a long way in helping you enjoy and relish life. At the same time, your kids might learn a thing or two about their environment.
Make from scratch
Making something you would normally buy brings satisfaction, costs very little, and can easily replace more typical and expensive forms of entertainment. It can be a collaborative activity, enough to include your family or friends, thus adding up to the memory drawer! Bake bread, brew coffee/tea, make jam, knit, try to create your own soap or scrub, or sew some cloth napkins.
Sharing reduces your ecological footprint
By spending with others, you share your footprint with theirs. At home with your family, being together in one room, cooking and eating together, or being entertained together, the amount of energy used is greatly reduced compared to when everyone is acting separately. This includes the energy consumed by cooling/heating, lighting, electronics, and cooking appliances. When people assemble, they merge their energy use.
Sustainability supports an individual’s choice of slow living.
Voluntary simplicity – a practice where the focus is on having less but experiencing life more – is representative of sustainability.
The benefits of simple living are significant. Shedding the produce-and-consume way of life, you are able to focus more on aspects that support well-being like self-improvement, relationships, and pursuit of the meaning of life. You don’t often get to experience such important parts of life in urban set-ups, given that the hubbub of rushed life steals away most of your ‘me time’.
However, usually travelling to health resorts or countryside immediately has that soothing effect. You tend to appreciate simple living more. People from villages are mostly not aware of new technological advancements and continue living their lives in the lap of nature, taking their time, with no social media to overwhelm them. Thus, they invest energy in grooming their health and soul to the best of their capabilities. They are, in fact, way healthy than the city folk. Being with them and settling into their habits makes you more serene inside out!
Slow living promotes health and sustainability.
It encourages walking or cycling over automobiles. It promotes fresh local food over processed food. Sustainability assists in having warm, dry homes that ward off illness. It also supports the use of harmless natural products over synthetic ones.
The whole society also benefits from slow living. If individuals are healthy, it will help make a robust society. Sustainable practices also include sharing, providing, and supporting each other – to achieve higher levels of social well-being in all communities.
It not only helps you save energy but can increase your happiness too. Studies have shown that people are filled with positive energy when actively engaged in social, cultural, and creative experiences – more than if they are consuming mindless entertainment alone.
In-person interaction is not always easy. However, even just having a good conversation, is more enjoyable than being alone. The major reason is that you’ve to put some effort into it.
With the pandemic switching our priorities, people have – even more so – realized the importance of social circles and human interactions that are not done over virtual networks. We must never forget the importance of human touch. Machines might replace the physical presence of human beings but they can never provide the same emotional closeness. Using these lessons as true mantras for a fulfilling life, we must act together, eat together, and spend time in each other’s company – to conserve energy, promote sustainability, and improve our living standards.