The 'Slow Living' mantra first crept into our consciousness with the conception of Kinfolk magazine way back in 2011; a little discussed way of life that slowly began to catch on as people decided that they needed an antidote to the hurried pace of life that had become the norm. After going through several years as a niche lifestyle, Instagram suddenly propelled #slowliving to the height of hipster cool. But what does slow living actually mean? And how do you find the time to slow down?
Scroll through the #theartofslowliving hashtag on Instagram and you'll be bombarded with photos of people reading magazines, strolling across moors, and at least 100,000 cups of tea. The concept of slowing down your pace of life and learning to love the little moments has become almost a parody of itself. Anything is considered slow - even taking an instant photograph and showing it to the world.
The heart of the slow living movement (as opposed to the 'art' of it) is simply to allow yourself to enjoy the little thing in life, and to take pleasure over the simple moments that occur daily. Sitting down on your favourite chair to savor every sip of a brew of tea, lingering over an article in a magazine, knitting yourself a jumper from the comfort of your own bed, going for a relaxing walk just for the hell of it.
Think about all of the things that you rush through in everyday life: getting out of bed at the last possible moment, grabbing breakfast on the go, skipping your lunch break to get through your emails, eating takeaway in front on Netflix - we're in danger of our lives passing us by in a blur if we don't learn to truly slow down and appreciate each little moment.
HOW TO SLOW DOWN
Modern life is rubbish. Fact. We have to work to make money in order to enjoy nice things (and survive). The slow living thing seems like a nice idea, but who actually has time for it?
The lifestyles that you covet on Instagram may not seem sustainable, but more often than not you're not seeing the entire picture. Yes, there may be some bohemian domestic goddesses who grow all of their own vegetables, bake their own bread, knit their children's clothes, buy fresh flowers every day, carve out a successful freelance career with minimal effort and still find time to jet off to Bali for a yoga retreat - but 9.9 times out of 10, these are just the parts of their lives that they've decided to share. They probably have cleaners, eat takeaway most nights and chuck all of their mess out of shot.
So how can you actually slow things down?
Try setting your alarm an hour (or even half an hour) earlier than you actually need to get up in the morning, and keep your phone on the other side of the room to prevent snoozing. Spend this extra time in the morning making and enjoying a nutritious breakfast and taking your time to get ready to leave the house.
Always take your lunch break and step away from the task at hand for at least half an hour. Go for a stroll around the neighborhood where you work, sit on a comfortable chair and read a chapter of a book, take the time to prepare your lunch rather than grabbing something to go from a cafe.
Go for a walk, just for the hell of it. Slow living is so often considered to be something that you do indoors, conjuring up visions of baking in the kitchen or reading in your favourite chair. Taking it slowly outdoors is one of the best ways to appreciate slow living; walking around your local park with no real purpose or time limit or allowing an entire day to soak up the outdoors and scale hills far away from the stresses of your daily life.
Cook from scratch rather than eating takeout or ready meals.Slowing down how you prepare and consume your meals is one of the easiest ways to embrace slow living. Take the time to prepare fresh food, discover incredible recipes and savor the cooking process. Once your meal is ready, sit up to the table with your partner, family or housemates and enjoy the experience of eating together, rather than becoming distracted by the TV. The same goes for baking - bake your own bread, bake a pie, bake a cake, whatever you fancy.
Allow yourself at least one evening a week where you don;t make any plans and hide the remote control. Rather than mindlessly watching TV or rushing out to meet friends, allocate this time to yourself. Pick up a new skill such as knitting, read a book, go for a walk with the dog and just enjoy the moment.
Create something. Whether that's writing a blog post, shooting a roll of photographs on film, knitting a scarf, painting a picture or growing your own herbs on the windowsill, put some time and effort into creating something of your very own.
Learn to slow down your travels. Rather than always jetting off on city breaks where you're rushing around to cram in as much as possible into as little time, allow yourself holidays where you can truly relax. Whether that's taking a slow paced road trip around Iceland or lying on a beach in Greece, remember than holidays should be a break from stress - not the cause of it.
Photos | My own