Ok, so today I’m starting a blog series on slow living because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. So today we’re going to start with: what is slow living and why is it important?
I love the concept of a slow life and I love it when my family and I slow down and embrace this way of living.
What is slow living?
Slow living is about choosing to be present in the moment. It’s about choosing to have intentional interactions with the people around us. It’s about being alive to each sight, smell, and sound. It’s about working with intent.
Slow living isn’t about laziness. It isn’t about having a boring or uneventful life. It’s about working with purpose, instead of trying to do everything in a hurry. It’s about being at peace, instead of being riddled with anxiety.
It’s about living, working, and relating to others in meaningful ways. Being fully awake to what’s before us. Enjoying what we have instead of striving for more.
Choosing to live a slow life is about going back to the basics: community, nature, focused work. It’s about spending less time engaging in the virtual world and spending more time with people face to face.
It’s about doing fewer activities, but doing each one more fully. It’s about having fewer things, but enjoying each one more.
Slow living is counter-cultural. We live in a world driven by consumerism, success, popularity, and hustle.
When we choose to live slowly, we’re choosing to live the way we were designed to live: in community with each other and with God.
So, the next question is:
Why is slow living important?
A slow life is a meaningful life. With fewer stimulants and activities keeping us distracted, living slowly helps us to engage more fully with what is before us.
Let’s be honest. We all know how bad our smartphones can be for our health and relationships. If we let them, our smartphones would easily dominate every area of our lives.
We’d spend our days connected to our work, to our friends and family who live far away and to our social media followers. By living constantly connected to our phones, we wouldn’t be able to raise our children well, maintain our marriages, or even work to our full capacity.
Living slowly is about saying no to all of that. Saying no phone addiction. Saying no to constant virtual connection.
Slow living is also about saying no to endless amounts of external sources of entertainment (series, music, podcasts, hobbies, sports activities, projects) and discovering our ability to find joy and rest in silence, simplicity, face-to-face community, and time alone with God.
Finally, slow living is about saying no to hustle and success-driven culture where work obsession, popularity and power are the main currencies. When we choose a slow life, we choose to work and enjoy the fruits of our labour without being plagued by thoughts about reaching the top of the career ladder.
How to implement slow living
There are different ways we can implement slow living as a lifestyle, the main ones being:
- Living with fewer things – declutter your house and car, buy fewer items, donate what you don’t use
- Living more simply – choose one car instead of two, use fewer appliances, engage in fewer sources of entertainment.
- Choosing to engage in fewer activities – even if you’re a multipassionate person, choose to reduce the amount of activities you engage in by rotating between different activities instead of doing them all at once! Also, do the same with your kids by getting them to choose just one or two extracurricular activities, rather than five or six.
- Going outside into nature – being in nature helps us become aware of a world that runs even when we’re not being “productive”. Get outside and notice the sights, smells and sounds. Be fully present as you contemplate God’s creation.
- Spending time with people in the real world – listening to and engaging with real people is important in helping us slow down because we need to adapt to their pace.
- Embracing moments of silence, solitude and meditation – Make room in your schedule for silence and solitude. (I do this through prayer, Bible reading and nature walks.) Walk to work instead of driving there. Pray and meditate instead of listening to a podcast. Schedule a couple of days of solitude every three to four months. Do whatever works for you, but choose intentionally.
So, what do you think? Do you want to enjoy the slow life? Let me know in the comments. 🙂
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