How Slow Living Can Help You Live Minimally

By Cora Gold, Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist

The pandemic changed how people act and think. This life-changing event made everyone pause and reevaluate their daily routines, recognizing what truly matters. They began to focus more on loved ones and only have for a short while on Earth, and they aren’t willing to go back to ignoring what it means to be human. Fortunately, slow living with a minimalist mindset can help you maintain the lifestyle despite a changing world.

Slow living and minimalism share much in common, linked by mindfulness. People today don’t crave “busyness” as usual. They want to create meaning.

Embracing elements of slow living into your daily routine leads to greater mindfulness. It also helps you be happy with what you have. Here’s how slow living can help you live minimally.

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You’ll Reduce Waste Without Trying or Feeling Deprived

Have you ever wondered how the world got so polluted? Some of it occurred due to ignorance — people didn’t understand the climate impact of certain activities until relatively recently. However, there’s another part of the equation: Somebody, somewhere, weighed the risk of what they wanted to do against the cost to the planet, and their desires won.

It’s easy to point fingers but harder to recognize that everyone has done this at least once. You order steak instead of a salad or snag a plastic bag from the grocery instead of walking back to your car to get a reusable one.

However, slow living helps you reduce waste without depriving yourself. For example, eating at home creates less garbage than takeaway with all the packaging. Better yet, line your plate with goodies from your garden to recreate the farm-to-table experience at home. You’ll get better nutrition and enjoy organic goodness you grew yourself.

Even urban dwellers can grow a few tomato seeds in pots. You can store the seeds from your meals, saving money at the nursery and becoming more minimalist. Does this process take longer than zipping through the drive-thru? Of course, but it also provides these benefits:

  • Improved nutrition
  • Richer flavor
  • Time with loved ones at the table
  • Freshness
  • The joy of cooking — which can be a mindful activity
Victory Garden in Civic Center Plaza taken during the Slow Food Nation festival
Victory Garden at San Francisco Civic Center Plaza
Credit:  Mckennagene (talk) – I created this work entirely by myself.

You’ll Spend More Time on Experiences, Not Stuff

Slow living helps you live minimally by breaking your addiction to stuff. Think about it: While it’s well and good to have the latest gadget, the things you own also eat up your precious time with cleaning and maintenance.

Slow living invites you to spend time making memories, not working a side hustle to keep up with the Kardashians. It reminds you that life is a precious gift to savor and enjoy. As a result, you take more vacations and enjoy them more.

You’ll Realize What Brings You True Joy Isn’t Store-Bought

Has a store-bought product ever made anyone happy? It might delight you for a while, but even children eventually outgrow their favorite toys. Material objects have never been the key to lasting joy.

Happiness comes from a rich and meaningful life spent with people you love. Instead of trying to buy affection with trinkets, you make plans together, working mindfully to create your dream existence.

Ways to Get Started Living Slowly and Minimally

Do you need tips for getting started with slow, minimalist living? It all begins with mindfulness, looking at your routine and shifting your focus from “getting things done” to “doing things right and enjoying the journey.”

A Beachscape exemplifying Slow Living

1. Start Your Day Right

Does your brain go from “ugh” to your to-do list like a Ferrari doing zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds when you open your eyes? It’s time to adjust your mindset for the day, starting with how you wake up.

Instead of rushing out of bed, spend a few minutes doing gentle stretches while you draw your awareness to your heart center and generate a feeling of gratitude for another day of life. Adjust your mindset to the positive, perhaps picking a word like “serenity” for how you would like your day’s vibe to go.

Listening to guided meditations can help, especially if your brain automatically turns negative, not positive. You can find some fabulous free ones on YouTube — download them to your playlist and pop one on as a substitute alarm clock.

2. Schedule Less in More Time

It’s wise to schedule your week, sitting down with your agenda on Sunday night and penciling in important meetings and deadlines. However, people often challenge themselves to do too much in a short period, leading to stress, burnout and even physical health woes.

Instead, give yourself time to mindfully complete each task. An extra 15 minutes might not seem like much, but it could be what you need to switch out of “assembly line” mode and instead work with intention, adding meaning and value to what you do.

This method can work even if you work in a field like retail or serving, where the customers keep coming in fast and furious. Try spending one or two extra minutes exchanging pleasantries with guests with a genuine smile and see if your tips don’t improve.

3. Check in With Your Senses

Do you know that you have more than five senses? You also have sensory nerves that affect whether you’re hot and cold, where your body is in space (proprioception) and how you experience that nagging headache (interoception).

How often do you ignore how you feel as you navigate your day? This can lead to health conditions, and you may avoid seeking treatment to help you feel better and regain lost productivity. Instead, check in with yourself periodically, setting alarms on your phone if necessary.

4. Prioritize Self-Care

People often put themselves last, considering self-care selfish. However, it’s so important to your overall health that the WHO defines it.

Take time each day for:

  • At least one healthy meal
  • 30 minutes of movement
  • Tending to your hygiene needs, like brushing your teeth
  • Stretching and meditation

These activities help you live more slowly by focusing on the joy of caring for yourself. Write them in your planner, giving them equal weight with work appointments.

5. Meditate

A daily meditation practice is vital to slow, minimalist living. It gives you time to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t, tweaking your routine to fit your desired lifestyle. Furthermore, it reminds you that it’s OK to simply breathe and be. Set a timer and do so several times daily, taking advantage of naturally slow minutes — like waiting in line at the grocery store — to focus on your breath.

How Slow Living Can Help You Live Minimally

Slow living can help you live minimally by helping you enjoy your daily tasks. As a result, you’re in less of a rush and more mindful about adjusting your mental state.

Focus more on what truly makes you happy. Slow living helps you live minimally by increasing enjoyment instead of sacrificing all for an elusive “someday.”

Cora Gold

About the Author

Cora Gold has a passion for writing about life, happiness and sustainability. As Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, she loves to share her insights and find inspiration from others. Follow Cora on FacebookPinterest and Twitter.