Sit down, make a cup of tea, grab a blanket, and read this blog post without any thoughts popping into your mind of what you should be doing instead. In your dreams, right?
In modern society, if you’re not running around like a headless chicken; you’re lazy. If you don’t get to the end of the day feeling exhausted, and must crash out in front of the television for the last hour of your day, then what are you doing with your life? Are you truly contributing? Our fast-paced lifestyle expectations are gradually becoming too much. Our human bodies aren’t handling it; our cracks are starting to show. We’ve all had enough.
People are either having break downs and existential crises, or jumping on the slow living bandwagon before it’s too late. The slow living movement is spreading (thank goodness), and there’s good reason for it.
Slow living isn’t encouraging you to lie down on the couch all day. It’s a state of mind, a reflection of the soul, and a gift to yourself and the world around you. It’s intentional existence. It’s avoiding a life of fleeting moments going absent-mindedly from one place to another because the media, society, and your pairs tell you that you must do it all, and perfectly too.
Slow living could be going about your morning routine without a time limit. It could be having a bath instead of a shower, baking a cake instead of buying one, or deciding to go for a walk instead of the task you had planned because you realise it’s not actually urgent. Slow living is the time you spend asking the check-out operator how their day is going, or when you stop to chat to the busker on the street because you are interested in their music, and your meeting can wait. Embracing slow living whole heartedly is often a privilege, but it’s ultimately a state of mind. It looks different for everyone.
You may be reading this thinking “but I like to be busy”. There’s a difference between being manageably busy, and stressed out. You’ll know that line between manic stress, and a full day of activities that don’t take the life and soul out of you.
Racing from events and activities, tasks and do-to lists, increases the risk of stress, and has a negative toll on the body. Headaches, short of breath, insomnia, pounding heartbeat, and a weakened immune system are a few of the conditions stress can activate in the body. Additionally, when you are stressed, you’re less likely to notice what your body needs, resulting in more serious health issues that aren’t picked up on soon enough.
If you’re present in the moment, then the people and environment around you reap the results too. Slowing down means you can visit your friend at the last minute when they need your support. It involves keeping your head up and being emotionally available for those around you. Being a good listener, opening space and time in your life for people, and nature, reaps rewards that are far beyond what we can imagine. Imagine if we all embodied this?
If you’re one of those people who answers ‘busy’ when you are asked how you are, we encourage you to question your answer. Being busy is a choice. Busy doesn’t describe how you are, and it should not become your identity. Slowing down does not take away from the number of things you accomplish, but it encompasses a sustainable pace of living, that benefits both you and the world around you.
Slow living is how we describe the state of ideal human existence in our fast-paced world, but really, it’s just living.
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