Slow living has made me immeasurably healthier and happier but – unexpectedly – has also helped me be more successful at what I am doing and finally, to sort out my finances.
In many ways slowing down wasn’t a choice.
As a newish, single mother I was struggling with parenting, work and even the most basic housekeeping. My immune system and finances were in pieces; I suffered with frequent recurrent flu, shingles and infections and was haunted by the monster that is debt.
In a world where the constant buzz of busy-busy is a symbol of not only success but also virtue, I was failing big time. I couldn’t keep up at that speed and my whole show was coming off the rails.
So I had to slow down.
But slowly in that slower lane I found a new way of living that is sustainable for me and my family and full of far more joy.
It’s not been straight forward.
I’ve ventured up some blind alleys and taken many a wrong turn but in that journey I have discovered all sorts of small ways in which to live slowly but joyfully and in this post I’ve tried to bring them together to share with you.
These little slow living tips aren’t intended as a set of strict rules we all need to live by for any hope of happiness. We all have different needs.
Some of us will be happier – and more successful – dedicating ourselves to a much slower life. But some of us just need more respite in the patterns of our lives from the speed at which we now expect ourselves to live
Whatever your needs – wherever you are on your journey – I hope you find some help in these slow living tips. We don’t have to hurtle hectically through our time holding on for dear life. There is another way to live and it can be very good.
80 Slow Living Tips For A More Joyful Life
- Very gently declutter a few things every day.
- Ditch … don’t delegate.
- Stop reinventing the wheel for the sake of it …
- … enjoy the familiar.
- Detox from stimulants … coffee, sugar, alcohol & screens … for at least 6 weeks every year.
- Start living debt free so you stop having to run so fast to fund a lifestyle you can’t sustain …
- Stop buying things you never use.
Gentle Habits & Rhythms
- Build simple daily habits.
- Build weekly rhythms.
- Keep going back to the same place.
- Play old games or do old jigsaws with phones off.
- Re-read books.
- Learn to done one thing better and better with your hands.
- Practice something pleasurable for five minutes every day.
- Help children learn to contribute to family chores.
- Cherish sleep …
- … and stop sabotaging it.
- Have a day of rest weekly …
- … and when you just need one.
- Put aside time to energise yourself in the right way for you … introverts need time alone, extraverts need time to talk … every day.
- If you’re an introvert and get exhausted by other people, don’t try and live your life by the standards of extroverts.
- Give yourself time to recover …
- … from illness …
- … from grief …
- … from heartache …
- Take care of your circadian rhythm, get up and outside in the light early.
- Build slack into every day.
- Stop making a virtue of having no time.
- Stop over scheduling kids …
- … enjoy slower happier parenting.
- Learn to do more in less time and savour the time saved, don’t fill it …
- Keep plenty of weekends free.
- Clear your calendar … by half … and half again
- Write a not doing list, so you consciously acknowledge all the things whirring around in your head that you’re not going to do.
- Learn to say no.
- Time block communication and only answer emails and messages in that time block.
- Travel slowly by train.
- Love local.
- Walk every day wherever you can and use the downtime …
- … to talk
- … to connect with your community
- … to muse & ponder.
- Give up your car.
- Stroll, saunter, wander …
- … take time to stop and stare.
- Ride a bike.
- Holiday at home.
- Notice nature …
- … see which way the wind is blowing every day …
- … look at the stars …
- … spot what the trees are doing.
- Grow a few things but don’t go crazy just start …
- … a few simple vegetables …
- … some basic herbs …
- … a pot of spring bulbs.
- Go hiking.
Be In The Moment
- Notice yourself in the full flow of feeling happy … what are you doing? … do more of it?
- Make time to clean …
- Make time to cook simple healthy food …
- … be in the moment …
- … and enjoy what you’re doing.
- Get real exercise from physical work – travelling, cleaning, gardening – rather than constantly trying to squeeze in time for artificial exercise.
- Keep an eye on why you’re doing things … very often it’s not because they’re important or actually make us happy.
- Switch off phone notifications.
- Go out without your phone.
- Go on a wifi & phone free retreat every year.
- Go on a low information diet.
- Break your cable news addiction … whatever our politics, Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson are equally bad for us.
- Deinstall any apps you’re addicted to on your phone.
- Stick to one messaging app only.
- Switch your phone off when you’re with your kids.
- Unsubscribe from a couple of email lists every day.
- Follow the seasons …
- … join the harvest
- … sleep more in winter.
- Organise your calendar around simple traditions …
- … and enjoy the calm of the old and familiar.
- Recognise the times in the year you take on too much e.g. Christmas, holidays, new school year and work out what else you will stop doing to build in slack.
- Find time every week to connect with the past.
And be a little sceptical of progress … the failures of the past do not guarantee their replacement will be any better.
I do hope these slow living tips help you find more joy living slowly. For more little ways to enjoy a simpler life have a read of these :
- Slower Happier Parenting
- 50 Little Ways To Ease Stress
- 14 Simple Frugal Life Skills
- 30 Lovely Ways To Calm Down
- 30 Ways To Live Debt Free
Original image source: under licence from rawpixel.com
This is a fab list of various techniques for slowing down. I especially like the list on living locally. I find when I walk more or bike around my neighborhood I naturally feel less hurried and better centered. One area I’d also add to this list is applying minimalism on a mental level. In terms of slowing down our overactive minds by using positive distractions like reading nurturing material, or journaling. I feel a lot of us live such cluttered lives, stemming from an overactive mind. Meditation also helps with this. Once again thanks for this post
Great point. So many of us are struggling with over busy minds. I feel screens have really played a part in this. We almost need to relearn how to think slowly and rebuild those slower paths in our brains.
Those a very good tips for slowing down. Life is just passing too fast, but since I moved to a warmer climate, this helped to find better relaxation from the sun outside. Great read.
The sun does make a difference doesn’t it. Certainly not warm here in London right now but still lovely to get out and slowly stroll the park as first signs of spring emerge.
Hey Alice, I really loved reading your blog. It’s given me great tips on slow living. I first start delving into slow living when I moved to the countryside. I was feeling unfulfilled, stressed, and I was craving something. Slow living has totally changed my perspective and life outlook. I love following the seasons, spending more time in nature and setting myself reminders to be present.
I just started a tea company to encourage people to slow down over tea. I couldn’t find your contact, but if you’d be interested in collaborating on content, feel free to reach out to me on email@example.com.
Wishing you a beautiful, slow day,