The further I get into this slow living thing, the more I realize that it's not a "one size fits all" approach to life — not by a long shot. Last week, I asked the folks on my Instagram about the one area they struggled to slow down in and the answers were about as diverse as you'd expect. Schedule, online time, shopping habits, life with toddlers, anything and everything.
Although I do think that for those who try to live slowly, venturing into minimalism (the acquisition of "less") often seems like the natural progression of their journey, it doesn't have to look that way. You don't have to de-clutter and create a capsule wardrobe and live in a "uniform" outfit in order to live slowly. They're two different goals, with similar paths sometimes, but they aren't necessarily one in the same.
Getting rid of "stuff," and downsizing my wardrobe has been huge for my own journey, but I think that more often than not, the term "minimalism" focuses too purely on stuff, and not on deeper issues like ethics and lifestyle. And since I'm all about getting at the heart of things here on SL&Co, I've been gravitating towards "the slow" and away from "the minimal" for a long time now — both publicly and in my own home and heart.
While I still consider myself an "aspiring minimalist" who loves all things white-washed and capsuled, I'm growing into my newly made habits of shopping with intention, considering my schedule, and prioritizing self-care, and find the term "slow" much more fitting for where I'm currently at.
If you can relate — or if you can't, but you're wanting to learn how to slow down the pace of your busy life — I wanted to share a few of the ways I've learned to "keep it slow" that have nothing to do with "things". And if you commented on my IG photo from the other day, THANK YOU. These ideas are for you.
1. Cultivate a morning routine
I'm not a morning person. Not in any remote sense of the word. Like, at all. But I've learned that having a bit of a routine each morning, be it a simple cup of coffee with your partner before you part for the day, a yoga workout, a devotional, or even just a quick shower and a healthy breakfast can jumpstart your day in the best way possible. I don't think this is backed by science, but I'd venture to say that the first hour of your day is one of the most important ones.
2. Fill your commute with intention
Along the same lines, I've heard from several people that their morning commutes to work are the most stressful part of their day. It's hard to live "slowly" while stuck in traffic or on a crowded subway, but it's possible. Try listening to a podcast aimed at intentional, slow living (the Lively Show and the Simple Show are two of my favorites) or plug in some headphones and create a playlist that puts you in the best mood, despite your surroundings.
3. Practice "monotasking"
I'm a firm believer that doing one thing well is better than doing five things sort-of well. If you're struggling to accomplish the goals you've set for yourself, maybe you're focusing on too many things. This can relate to anything from big life-goals to a simple daily cleaning list for your house.
4. Start saying no
In my e-course, I dedicated an entire section to "the art of saying no" for a reason. If you have an innate tendency to over-commit yourself, exhaust yourself, or say yes to please others, try saying no to just one thing and see how it makes you feel. Slowly chip away at the events, meetings, and non-essentials that are only adding to your stress and watch as life suddenly slows down significantly.
5. Log off
It doesn't matter if your entire life revolves around social media or the internet (which, might be dangerous for other reasons...) logging off even for a few hours each day will cause you to immediately be more intentional, aware, and involved in creating your own life (both offline and online). If you need a boost in that direction, check out my 7 day Social Media Detox.
6. Make space for yourself
It goes without saying that self-care is a huge part of slow living. I would argue that it's one of the main "pillars of slow living" (is there such a thing? I don't know, but there is now.)
If you're not caring for yourself, carving out time for what fuels you, and refreshing yourself both physically and creatively, you can't love others well.
How have you learned to slow down in more ways than just de-cluttering?