The art of slow living

Adopt these principles of slow living to boost your calmness.

We’re in the last days of summer, a season where we all collectively unwind and take a slower approach to living. In ways, September feels like a fresh start for us all: We’re back to our regularly scheduled programming, children are back to school, and we’re more focused on work and routines. But with this change of seasons, we can also experience a return to that uber-connected, fast-paced world we forgot about for the last few months. It can feel chaotic, and that go, go, go, lifestyle is overwhelming. Enter the slow living movement. It’s not a scientific concept, but its basic message is about encouraging people to take a slower, more meaningful daily approach to life. It’s about embracing a more sustainable life with a focus on valuing relationships and peace of mind and finding joy in life’s simple pleasures.

It felt apt to write this at the beginning of September when everyone is likely feeling a little anxious about letting summer go (myself included). We can still embrace the principles of that easy summer feeling by embracing slow living. Here I share some of the fundamental principles behind the movement. I will try and incorporate a few of these in my fall routine myself, and I hope you try them out too!

Ritualize everyday routines

Most of us structure our days around daily habits: we wake up simultaneously, make our morning coffee, get dressed and get to work. To embrace the principles of slow living, the idea is that we transform these rather mundane activities into mindful rituals. How? Stop the rush. Take your time and think about your day ahead. Instead of buzzing through your morning and rushing out the door, try and slow down and take your time to enjoy your breakfast, ask yourself what kind of day you want to have today, and essentially try and stop doing everything on auto-pilot mode. It’s about bringing mindfulness into our daily lives. We can evaluate our activities’ value by thinking more about what we’re doing. We can learn how to live in the moment and find enjoyment in our daily habits.

Embrace boredom

If you’re like me, boredom is felt like a curse, but not in the slow-living lifestyle. Practising mindfulness in everyday life, we’re actively slowing down our daily routines and removing the pressure to multitask. It’s in that space of time where we can combat those familiar feelings of boredom (i.e., I have time, I should be doing something!) with a sense of contentment. Whereas before, we would fill our space with a million to-dos, now we’re giving ourselves the time to do nothing and simply enjoying the freedom in that space. Also, in that “free time,” focus on pursuing hobbies and activities that bring you genuine joy.

Live in the now

We don’t have control of the future. All we have control of is the now. Living in the moment is about focusing on the 24 hours ahead of you. Map out how you want to live, achieve, and experience the day ahead. The clarity of a specific timeframe will eliminate the anxiety of what we don’t know and can’t control in the future.