What is Slow Living? The Ultimate Guide for Living a More Mindful Life
An uncommon guide to slow living including the life-changing benefits, tips on how to slow down, and helpful resources to guide you on your slow living journey.
In a world that is constantly moving faster and faster, it can be hard to keep up. We are always connected and available, and there is always something that needs to be done. It’s hard to scroll on social media without being bombarded with content touting the productivity hacks of the most successful people, and after a long day of “hustling,” there always seems to be more left on the to-do list.
But, what if the key to success is actually a slower lifestyle? While slow living may seem like it’s merely an Instagram aesthetic or a series of hashtags for tagging that picture-perfect latte, the slow-living movement and what it stands for mean so much more.
Slow living is all about being present and savoring the moment. It is about slowing down to appreciate the little things in life. When you embrace a slower lifestyle, you are able to connect with yourself and your surroundings in a deeper way. You are able to find joy in simple pleasures and create meaningful connections.
If you are interested in learning more about the slow living movement beyond the “that girl” aesthetic on Instagram, read on to explore our slow living guide.
Slow Living Guide
What Exactly is Slow Living?
Slow living is an approach to life that emphasizes quality over quantity. It is about living more deliberately and savoring the moment. The slow living movement is about being present and connecting with yourself, your loved ones, and your surroundings. When you live at a slower pace, you are able to appreciate the little things in life and find joy in simple pleasures.
It’s important to note that slow living is not about being “lazy” or doing nothing. Quite the contrary, slow living is about being intentional with your time and doing things mindfully with purpose. The slow living movement is simply a call to action that inspires people to do just that: slow down and live more intentionally.
Benefits of Slow Living
While the benefits of slow living may seem obvious, it’s important to realize how slowing down and practicing slow living can impact and enhance every area of our lives. Some of the benefits of a slow life include:
Improved mental health: When you live slowly, you are able to focus on the present moment which can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, slow living can help increase feelings of happiness and well-being.
More meaningful relationships: When you slow down, you have more time for quality interactions with your loved ones. You are also able to create deeper connections with the people around you.
Greater appreciation for life: When you embrace intentional living, you are able to appreciate all that life has to offer. You savor special moments instead of rushing through them. As a result, you may find that your overall satisfaction with life increases.
Improved physical health: With slow and simple living, you have more time for self-care activities such as exercise and healthy eating habits. Additionally, slow living can help reduce stress levels which can have positive effects on our physical health as well.
Increased productivity: When you let go of multi-tasking to focus on meaningful, high-impact tasks, slowing down boosts your productivity.
More Time: By reducing time-wasting, mindless tasks like scrolling social media or binging Netflix, you’ll find yourself with more time to accomplish the things that matter.
Key Principles of a Slow-Living Lifestyle
1. Being More Present in Everyday Life
So often our days are so busy they become a blur. One of the most important aspects of slow living is being present. This means letting go of distractions and focusing on the task at hand – whether it be completing a work project or simply sipping a cup of coffee. When you are present, you are able to savor the moment and connect with yourself and your surroundings.
2. Living More Intentionally with Purpose
Another important principle of slow living is living more intentionally. This means being purposeful with your time and actions, ultimately reducing your to-do list. “Hustle” culture equates being busy with being successful – treating a lengthy to-do list like it’s a badge of honor. The truth? Being more intentional with your to-do list will help you accomplish more impactful tasks at work and in your personal life while allowing more time for the things you love.
3. Quality over Quantity
Another principle of slow living is choosing quality over quantity. This means valuing experiences and possessions that bring you joy instead of simply chasing after the latest trends. It’s about investing in pieces that will stand the test of time – both physically and emotionally. Whether embracing slow food or shopping more intentionally with slow fashion, the art of slow living means structuring and curating your life to be rich with meaning.
4. Practicing Mindfulness
One of the most important principles of slow living is mindfulness. This means being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions in the present moment and cultivating helpful habits like meditation or journaling to become more in tune with your inner world. Practicing mindfulness also has many proven health benefits such as reduced stress, better mental health, and more restful sleep.
5. Deeper Relationships
When you press pause on a fast-paced life, you have more time to connect with the people that matter. This means having conversations that go beyond small talk, really getting to know the people around you, and spending quality time together. When you make deeper connections, you are able to create more meaningful relationships.
6. Simplifying your Life
A key component of the slow movement is simplifying your life. This means decluttering your space and getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose. It also means letting go of any negative thoughts or emotions that are weighing you down.
7. Purposeful Pondering
When you create a more intentional life, you will have more time to think. This means taking time out of your day to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. It also means making space for creativity or fostering new ideas. Some of the most successful people dedicate significant time to simply letting their minds wander and brainstorming new ideas.
8. Holistic Health
Oftentimes, we focus on the health of our bodies to the exclusion of our mental and emotional well-being. But when you embrace the slow movement, you have time to focus on all aspects of your health. This means eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. It also means taking care of your mental health by practicing self-care and seeking professional help when needed.
9. Pursuing Passions
One of the best things about slow living is that it allows you to find your passions and pursue them. When you’re not bogged down by the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you have time to explore new interests and find out what brings you happiness. Whether it’s painting, hiking, cooking, or anything else, slow living gives you the time and space to pursue your passions.
10. Enjoying the Journey
Whether it be practicing slow travel and getting more intimate with the destinations you visit, taking time to indulge in a hobby or hone a new craft, or simply embracing the slow food movement and honing your cooking skills, slow living is all about enjoying the journey and being present in your own life.
How to Practice Slow Living
Now that we’ve gone over some of the key principles of the slow movement, let’s explore what slow living means for your daily routine. Here are a few slow-living tips to get you started:
1. Be Intentional with Your Time
The secret to being more intentional with your time is to pay close attention to how you’re spending your days and make sure that it aligns with your values. Slow living means reflecting on your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. What activities are simply a waste of time? What activities can be delegated? What activities bring you the most joy? Are there any activities that you would love to do but aren’t making time for?
The key is to edit your schedule to reduce activities that are low impact, a waste of time, or simply depleting to make space for activities that are more enriching and impactful. An important principle in slow philosophy to remember is you shouldn’t add anything to your schedule without eliminating other events or activities first.
2. Set Aside Time Each Day for Reflection
One of the best ways to practice slow living is to set aside time each day for reflection. This can be done first thing in the morning, right before bed, or at any time that works for you. During this time, you can meditate, journal, or simply sit in silence and focus on your breath.
3. Clear Your Space & Mind
Another way to practice slow living is to simplify your space. This means decluttering your home and getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose. Once you streamline your space, it’s important to explore if there is any “mental clutter” that is weighing you down. How do you feel each day? Are your thoughts negative or positive? Is there any emotional trauma you are carrying with you? It is extremely hard to enjoy the present moment when your mind is distracted by negative thoughts and emotions. If you are struggling with negativity, activities like journaling, meditation, and therapy are a great way to clear your mind for a more positive, present mindset.
4. Make Time for the Things You Love
One of the best things about the art of slow living is that it allows you to make time for the things you love. Whether it’s taking a leisurely walk in nature, cooking a healthy meal, or reading your favorite book, make sure to schedule time for the things that bring you happiness.
5. Connect with the People Around You
Have you ever asked someone a question and then didn’t listen to the answer because you let your mind wander? We’ve all been there. Another key component of slow living is connecting with the people around you by being more present and a better listener. Make an effort to spend more quality time with the people closest to you. When engaging with coworkers, friends, or new acquaintances be present and more engaging in conversations rather than letting your mind get distracted. You will be amazed how much more easily you connect with people when you are present.
Slow living is all about taking the time to savor life’s simple pleasures. By following the slow living tips above and embracing a slower-paced life, you can start living a slow lifestyle today and create a more meaningful life.
Slow Living Resources
If you’re ready to slow down and live a more balanced life, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. Read on for the best slow-living magazines, books, and podcasts so you can bring these slow-living principles into your daily routine and live a more mindful lifestyle.
Best Slow Living Magazines
Slowing down and taking the time to savor life is becoming a more and more important part of our culture. Thanks to the rise of the slow living movement, it has never been easier for people to shift towards a slower, more mindful way of living.
One great way to tap into this movement is by reading slow-living magazines. These indie publications are packed with beautiful images, lovely essays, and other interesting content that encourages readers to put down their devices and truly enjoy their surroundings. Whether you’re interested in gardening or cooking, meditation or travel, there is sure to be a magazine out there that speaks to your passion for the slow life.
While this magazine has become synonymous with the Instagram aesthetic, making cameos in flat-lay shots of lattes and avocado toast the world over, don’t rule this magazine out. Originally focused on intimate gatherings, when it comes to slow-living magazines, Kinfolk is truly in a league of its own. This quarterly publication is devoted to exploring the ideas and slow living practices related to home, work, style, and culture. With an emphasis on creativity and authenticity, Kinfolk has earned a reputation for being a go-to resource for anyone who is passionate about slow living, with this publication now sold in over 100 different countries worldwide.
Featuring stunning photography and insightful articles on everything from style to art to travel, this magazine has quickly become a cultural touchstone for those interested in slow living and mindful consumption. Whether you are looking for new outfit inspiration or seeking travel tips for your next vacation, Cereal has you covered. With its unique blend of high-quality content and contemporary aesthetic, this publication is truly a work of art.
Breathe is a magazine that focuses on the importance of mindfulness, downtime, and recharging in our fast-paced world. With its stunning illustrations and carefully curated topics from well-being to creativity and travel, Breathe invites readers to slow down, reconnect with themselves, and find more balance in their lives. Whether you are looking for practical tips on how to cultivate greater peace and clarity or simply seeking some much-needed respite from the demands of daily life, Breathe is a one-stop resource for those interested in rediscovering what truly matters.
With articles that range from helpful tips for slowing down in your everyday life to in-depth advice on complex topics like self-care and mental health, Darling magazine provides an inclusive and supportive space for women to engage in meaningful dialogue. If you are looking for a community of like-minded women who value authenticity, look no further than Darling. Whether you need advice on dealing with chronic stress or simply want to connect with inspirational individuals who share similar perspectives, Darling magazine challenges the social norms of beauty, mental health, and sex.
Featuring long-form stories and insider tips about slow living in some of the most beautiful locales around the world, this quarterly travel publication is a great way to get inspired and start planning your next adventure. Whether you’re dreaming of slow-paced island escapes or backpacking through far-flung cities, you’ll find plenty of gorgeous photography and thought-provoking articles to keep you busy. And with its focus on slow travel, Suitcase gives you all the information you need to plan a trip that truly lets you take in all that a destination has to offer, rather than just rushing from one tourist attraction to the next.
Created by well-known slow-living expert Carole Bamford, Seed is a bi-annual magazine that focuses on living consciously and sustainably. This magazine is an inspiring resource for anyone interested in making small lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on the planet. With articles on sustainable eating and seasonal recipes, as well as interesting conversations with artisans and creatives, Seed provides plenty of food for thought on slow-living topics.
Delayed Gratification magazine is focused on slow journalism, reporting on popular news stories with more accurate and intentional detail. This quarterly magazine takes the concept of “breaking” a news story and turns it on its head by revisiting news stories and adding more holistic details to provide readers with more thoughtful, reflective takes on current events. Whether you enjoy reading about politics, science, culture, or any other field, Delayed Gratification offers a refreshing perspective that can help us slow down and savor all that is going on in our rapidly changing world.
Best Slow Living Books
Reading is one of the cornerstones of slow living. From a Zen Buddhist teacher to a woman who radically changed her life after an MS diagnosis, these authors explore a slower approach to life from unique perspectives.
The Things You Can Only See When You Slow Down
By Haemin Sunim
Written by a Zen Buddhist teacher, “The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down,” encourages readers to slow down and live mindfully in a fast-paced world. With poetic reflections on life, love, and relationships, this is more than just a guide to being mindful. It is an invitation to examine your life with fresh eyes, cultivating the clarity and presence that comes from stepping back from the constant rush of daily life.
Destination: Simple – Rituals and Rhythms for a Simpler Daily Life
By Brooke McAlary
Whether you’re looking to slow down and simplify your life, or simply looking for practical ways to reduce stress and overwhelm, Destination Simple is the perfect read. Written by slow living expert Brooke McAlary, this concise guide offers a wealth of tips and tricks for effortlessly making slow living a reality.
Within Destination Simple, you’ll find everything from strategies for honing your focus and energy on a single task at a time, to tips for creating a calming evening routine that helps you let go of stress after a long day. Whether you’re just getting started on your slow living journey or looking for new strategies to help strengthen your commitment to simplicity, this book is a must-read.
In Praise of Slowness
By Carl Honore
Carl Honore’s book, “In Praise of Slowness”, takes a critical look at our modern obsession with speed and the ways in which it has impacted our lives. Through a wide range of interviews and anecdotes, Honore argues that the cult of speed has had a negative impact on our health, our environment, and our communities.
Honore traces the slow movement as it emerges in areas such as architecture and food production. He explores the slow food movement and its origins in reaction to fast food chains like McDonald’s setting up shop near the iconic Spanish Steps in Rome. Through these explorations, Honore highlights how our preoccupation with speed permeates every aspect of modern life, from industrial farming to obesity and junk food.
By Courtney Carver
Written by Courtney Carver, Soulful Simplicity is a bold and inspiring account of one woman’s journey to simplify her life in the face of a difficult MS diagnosis. Through slow living and deliberate steps, Carver realized what was really important in her life and made the necessary changes to create more space for the things that truly mattered.
She paid off her debt, cut back on unnecessary spending, and focused on building meaningful relationships with those around her. She also turned to yoga as a way to maintain her health and cultivate peace within herself. Throughout it all, Carver remained faithful to her core values of mindfulness and simplicity, serving as an example for others who may be struggling to find their own path toward a more mindful life.
Best Slow Living Podcasts
These slow-living podcasts are a friendly reminder that life can move at your own pace. Covering topics like decluttering, living a minimalist lifestyle, and how we are constantly “switched on,” tune in to these podcasts to help unplug.
The Slow Home Podcast
In the Slow Home Podcast, Brooke McAlary shares her own experience with slow living along with practical tips and strategies for living a slow and intentional life. With her husband Ben by her side, she explores topics such as balancing work and home life, connecting with nature, embracing imperfection, and even how to eliminate clutter and simplify your space. The insights shared on this podcast are both inspiring and empowering, offering listeners a new way of thinking about the choices they make in their own lives.
The Minimalist Podcast
If you’re looking for a podcast that explores the principles of minimalism and slow living in more depth, The Minimalists is a great option. The hosts, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, are both experienced writers and speakers who share their own stories of downsizing and simplifying their lives.
They offer practical tips for decluttering your home, reducing stress, and simplifying your life overall. The Minimalists podcast is perfect for anyone who’s looking to break free from the clutter and chaos of modern life and find a slower, more meaningful way of living.
Hurry Slow Podcast
Hosted by Jocelyn K. Glei, this podcast features captivating episodes about the simple act of slowing down in our hectic modern world. She weaves together fascinating stories and interviews with guests who have pursued slow living in their own unique ways.
Whether it is through carving out time for solitude or slow cooking every meal, these inspiring individuals are proof that slow living can make us more productive, creative, and resilient people. If you are looking for some inspiration to slow down and savor life’s moments, this podcast is definitely worth checking out.
Slow living addresses the anxiety and stress in our lives. By embracing a simpler life and a slower mindset, we can more easily uncover our life purpose and live a more meaningful life.
Slow living simply means structuring our schedule so we can spend time on meaningful activities that move us closer to our goals and our personal values. Ultimately, the slow living movement is a reminder for us to slow down, be in the moment, and most importantly, breathe.