Tip 1: Find Your Slow Living Moments

Slow Living Moments

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Note that this blog post is part of a series. You can access all tips at Strategies for Better Life Balance and Slow Living.

I’ve been writing about careers and better life balance for a while, although I am rather new to the slow living movement. I finally “noticed” this concept during a period of feeling burned out after taking on extra work and experiencing a few significant changes and losses in a short time period. You could say I was ready to shift gears and contemplate life a bit more. Thus over the past year I have been delving into books, blog posts, articles, and podcasts to try to wrap my head around this topic. What exactly do we mean by slow living?

I admit my initial vision of slow living was someone relaxing on a beach in a lounge chair, enjoying life, and drinking a delightful fruity drink. ALL. DAY. LONG. Can’t get much slower or more wonderful than that!  But let’s be honest…after a couple of weeks of such luxury, we’d become bored. And we’d still have to cook, clean, bathe, work, and so on. You know, take care of life.

My Definition of Slow Living

It took some time and study, but eventually a picture of slow living finally began to emerge in my mind. Here is my personal interpretation at this moment:

Slow living is a philosophy or mindset that one can apply to many or all areas of life. It is about…

  • slowing down at times and not always rushing about
  • finding the calm, peaceful corners in life
  • taking time to pause and reflect
  • being mindful, paying attention to the here and now, and living intentionally
  • noticing how we are spending our time, figuring out what is most important, and carefully curating our days to match
  • incorporating the activities and people whom we truly enjoy and connecting consciously in those moments
  • seeking the “just right” speed for whatever endeavor is at hand
  • simplifying our lives, minds, and schedules

Fast and Slow

Sounds nice, but wouldn’t downshifting to slow in such a fast-paced world hamper our career and perhaps other areas of life? Carl Honoré, who wrote the book In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed, emphasizes that just because our culture celebrates speed does not mean faster is always better. He states, “…the Slow philosophy can be summed up in single word: balance. Be fast when it makes sense to be fast, and be slow when slowness is called for. Seek to live at what musicians call the tempo giusto – the right speed.”

Slow and Balanced

By deliberately applying the slow living mindset to our lives, I believe we also create a more balanced life. We are asking questions about what is most important, simplifying our schedules, carving out time to enjoy the key elements, and connecting more deeply. We are figuring out our own unique pace of life. We certainly can’t do it all, but we are fitting in our top priorities. And while we are still busy and lead full lives, we have moments of slowness.

Exactly how you apply the slow living philosophy in your life is a personal decision. As Brooke McAlary writes, “Over the past two years on The Slow Home Podcast, I’ve interviewed more than 100 people who all have different views on what it means to live a slower life. From tree changes to urban living, tiny homes to ethical consumption, self-sustainability to slow food—there is no one way of describing the external indicators of slow living because there is no one way to live a slower, simpler life.” Each of us has to find our own way.

Slow Living Moments

Action Step: To get started, try incorporating a few slow living moments into each day. Start by making a list of activities that result in feeling as if time is slowing down (in a good way) or where you find yourself enjoying the moment. If you have no idea when this occurs, take a week to pay attention to your actions and record what you are doing when such feelings arise. Here are some of my “slow living” moments:

  • Taking a bath
  • Soaking feet with bath salts
  • Meditating
  • Practicing yoga
  • Reading a book
  • Drinking coffee mindfully
  • Sitting outside on a nice day and being mindful
  • Taking a walk and paying attention to surroundings
  • Going for a run in my favorite forest
  • Writing about slow living topics
  • Journaling
  • Really connecting with loved ones
  • Eating at a restaurant with family/friends
  • Being a tourist
  • Taking photos
  • Hiking
  • Napping

Readers: What are your slow living moments? Share in the comments below!

Be sure to join Women, Work, and Life’s Facebook page where we will further discuss strategies for better life balance and slow living, as well as flexible work, returning to work, and career change. If you are not on Facebook, you can follow me on Twitter @EmilySeamone. Also, sign-up for my newsletter to keep on top of the blog series as well as other posts and information. I look forward to seeing you in all these places!

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