What Does It Mean To Live A Slow Life?

Unless you've seen the TikToks or know about slow living from various cultures throughout history, you probably assume that a slow life is one that's literally lived at a slower pace. However, this phrase doesn't mean that you must perform tasks less quickly. At the core, this lifestyle is about taking the time to complete things intentionally instead of rushing through them to move on to the next thing. Those who practice this lifestyle consciously savor every moment and prioritize their purpose over productivity.


Because working extensive hours and making exuberant amounts of money, sometimes called 'the grind,' is praised in our society, slow living is quite counter-cultural. However, there are several benefits to balancing your personal interests and your work, including that it could lessen your stress and increase your happiness. While living in this way may look quite different for various people, we've highlighted six practices anyone could implement to live more mindfully.

Be present in every moment

The first way to practice living a slow life is to be present in every moment consciously. Our stress can often be caused by ruminating on past mistakes or worrying about the future. Instead, slow living encourages you to be present where you are and to take every moment in as it comes to you. Practically, this may look like only completing one task at a time instead of multitasking or trading distractions like technology for contemplation. 


Many of us occasionally take the time to be present, perhaps while walking in nature or on special holidays. However, while these are great times to be more mindful, if you want to live a slow life, try to be present even when accomplishing boring tasks. For instance, as you make your bed in the morning, focus on that one task instead of letting your mind wander. Being present may also require us sometimes to reset ourselves. Because technology and responsibilities can pull us away from living in the moment, many of us don't take the time to be quiet and still, but doing this even for just a few minutes could make you feel more at peace. 

Prioritize what's most important to you

Those who have the busiest schedules often struggle with pleasing people. If you're a people pleaser, you may often find yourself saying yes to everything, even social events or plans that you're not interested in. This could be the leading cause of stress, as you could be spreading yourself too thin out of guilt or FOMO, a fear of missing out. Instead, living a slow life means saying yes to the social situations that are satisfying or have a purpose and saying no to the plans that cause stress or don't interest you. Allow yourself some much-needed rest and consider what you truly want to do.


Similarly, many who live slow lives also have fewer possessions, as maintaining many items could steal your time and, therefore, your joy. If you have something that's not adding purpose to your life but is making it more difficult, like a large home that always needs to be cleaned, consider replacing it with something more simplistic and easy to manage.

Take your time while eating

One of the most practical ways to live a slower life is to savor your food. This means taking time, chewing your food thoroughly, and enjoying every bite. According to Mogren Dental, this will come with several benefits, including that it could cause you to enjoy your food more, taste all the different flavors, make it easier to know when you're full, so you never overeat, and improve digestion, as you'll swallow smaller pieces of food. To get the most benefits from eating slowly, don't eat in front of the television, sit down for every meal, and carve out at least 20 minutes or more every time you eat.


Further, if you often eat with family or friends, being mindful about mealtimes could also improve your relationships. The dinner table can be a great place to connect with others and hear about what's going on in their lives. This could enhance your quality of life by helping you feel closer to those you love.

Make sure you sleep enough

Another practical step to living a slower life is getting enough sleep every night. When busy or overwhelmed, one of the first things we may cut out of our schedule, consciously or unconsciously, is our rest. However, this may be a huge mistake, as sleeping enough is essential for basic functioning and could tremendously boost your mood. Therefore, make sure you never trade getting enough sleep for work priorities or social events.


The Sleep Foundation says that most adults need somewhere between seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but this number can differ from person to person. What's most important is ensuring that you feel rejuvenated and ready for the tasks ahead every time you wake up. It could also be beneficial to stick to a similar schedule every day, as this could help you develop a routine that simplifies your life. Finally, ensure your bed is comfortable and supports you well, as a mattress that doesn't meet your needs could worsen your rest. 

Put down the phone and retreat to nature

Nature has a way of making us slow down and appreciate everything in our lives. Because it's quiet and peaceful, it can help us relax while also giving us a new perspective. Technology, however, can make us feel overwhelmed or overstimulated. Scrolling for hours on social media or checking the news too often may lead to exhaustion. Therefore, putting down your phone and other electronics and spending more time in nature could help you live a slower and more satisfying life.


However, it's important to note that slow living doesn't mean you have to give up all technology. Instead, those who adopt this lifestyle in the modern age typically limit their use of technology since it can be a powerful and necessary tool when used correctly. Limiting your screen time could either mean participating in a full detox once a week, or it could look like using your phone less each day. Whatever works for you and your lifestyle is what matters the most.

Know your worth outside of work

Finally, your attitude toward work is critical in living slow. Those who are overly dedicated to their jobs may feel like this lifestyle is unobtainable because they can't imagine taking the time to slow down. However, living a slow life doesn't mean you should neglect your work or be a slower employee; Instead, it means realizing that you have worth outside of what you accomplish or produce.


Practically, this may mean consciously trying to worry less about work outside of when you're on the clock, or maybe it means not answering emails during a specific timeframe so that you can be more mindful and take the time to recenter yourself. Another example is allowing yourself to take some much-needed breaks, knowing they will make you happier and help you be a better employee. Overall, putting your life and purpose before your job is essential.