18 Simple Ways to Practice Slow Living & Rediscover Life

The slow living movement eased into our culture and it looks like it's here to stay. Here's how you can embrace a gentle lifestyle.

Published February 1, 2024
Woman with a backpack rests outdoors near a river

Slow living promotes a lifestyle focused on peaceful and leisurely approaches to most aspects of life. With an emphasis on living mindfully and being fully in each moment, the slow living movement is meant to help you filter through all the distractions and busyness in life so you can focus on what matters most.

There's no right or wrong way to practice the slow living life, but these are our tips for approaching it with ease.

Benefits of Slow Living

In a world that tells us to keep pushing, keep achieving, and stay busy, it seems like slowing down couldn't possibly benefit us. But taking the slow approach to life can have many benefits, stretching from your health to your relationships. Though the outcomes of slow living can impact everyone differently, if you try this approach these are some of the benefits you might experience.

  • More connection in your relationships
  • Avoid burnout
  • Make decisions easier
  • Improve your productivity
  • Increased mindfulness
  • Better work-life balance
  • Reduce environmental impact
  • An increased sense of purpose and fulfillment 
  • More gratitude and joy
  • Reduced level of stress

Related: 50 Quotes to Empower an Intentional Lifestyle 

How to Practice Slow Living

If you've decided that the busy life is no longer for you and you long to reap some of the slow living benefits, you can start right away. Since the slow living movement is all about simplifying the complicated things in life, getting started is simple. Here's how you can start practicing a slower lifestyle. 

Let Go of Multitasking

Believe it or not, you might be more productive if you tackle tasks one at a time. Letting go of multitasking helps you focus on one important task before moving on to the next.

While you might think that multitasking helps you accomplish more in a shorter amount of time, it can have the opposite effect. By approaching each task individually, you might find you're accomplishing more by the end of the day without feeling burnt out.

Say "No" More Often

One of the first steps to slow living involves freeing up as much of your schedule as possible. To enjoy the things you want to say "yes" to, you're probably going to have to say "no" to most things. Try looking at this as gaining time rather than losing experiences so you can say "yes" to only the things that truly bring you joy. 

Think of Time as a Currency

Slow living involves changing how you look at nearly everything in life, especially time. When you view time as a type of currency that you pay for every task and experience, you might find that you're slow to give your time away. This helps you invest time in only the things that truly matter to you and then have the ability to be fully present as you enjoy them.

Choose a Slow Hobby

Slow living isn't about removing as much as possible from your life. It's about adding things that bring joy and purpose. One way you can do this is to invest time in a hobby you enjoy. Consider a hobby that invites you to slow down and be fully present like gardening, sketching, or making pottery. 

Related: Ideas for the Perfect Mom Hobby

Rethink Your Sleep Schedule

Another thing you can add to your life as you practice a slow lifestyle is more frequent and better-quality sleep. This might mean rethinking your entire sleep schedule because this may not mean you sleep later each morning. Rather, you might find you're able to maintain a slower-paced lifestyle if you go to bed earlier and wake up earlier

Quick Tip

A simple way to approach this concept is to rest and rise with the sun. 

Slow Down Your Morning

Once you've established that slow sleep schedule, you can focus on making your mornings the perfect start to a slower day. As you're rising earlier, you can have a slower approach to your morning. Rise gently, spend time caring for yourself, enjoy a slow breakfast, and ease into your day mindfully. 

Woman practicing yoga in lotus position in bedroom in the morning

Reduce Screen Time

As you're easing into the slow living lifestyle, you might start to notice how much time you spend in front of screens. While you don't have to give up your phone or any other screen permanently, reducing your use of screens can help you focus on the parts of life that slow living enhances. 

Try setting a screen time limit on your phone or removing apps that you find difficult to avoid. Swap some of your TV time for a good book or limit computer screen time to only what is needed for work and life. 

Need to Know

If you find yourself reaching for your phone while watching TV or doubling your screen time in other ways, you might start this process by committing to just one screen in use at a time. 

Shrink Your Circle

Slow living doesn't mean you cut people out of your life. But it might mean that your circle of people you spend a lot of time with shrinks. 

As you're saying "no" more often and practicing being present in each moment, your circle might get smaller as a natural result. It's okay if you commit the majority of your time to a small group of people who encourage your slow approach to life. 

Related: 100+ Gratitudes to Encourage a Joyful Life

Eat Mindfully

As you're learning how to live slowly, you'll see how much this movement flows into every part of life. Even eating. Mindful eating can be a big part of the slow living movement as it helps you enjoy nourishing your body and focus on the smells, tastes, and textures of what you eat. 

Another part of eating mindfully in the slow living lifestyle is to choose sustainable foods as often as you can. This flows into the environmental aspect of living slowly which involves limiting your impact on the environment as you focus less on consuming and more on contributing to the world around you. 

Practice Meditation in Your Own Way

Meditation can be an actual meditation practice or it can be whatever helps you draw within, reflect, and find calm. Whatever meditation looks like to you, embrace it as often as possible to fully experience the peace and calm of a slow lifestyle.

Allow Yourself to Be Bored 

As you're no longer multitasking and turning down requests and invitations more often, you might start to see the busyness of life turn into boredom. Being bored can be a positive outcome of a slower lifestyle as it encourages you to rest, be creative, or spend time focusing on your thoughts. 

Related: Ways to Have Fun & Relax During Downtime

Embrace Minimalism

Slow living and a minimalist lifestyle can blend in many ways. You might find that starting with a slower approach to life leads you to a life of minimalism. Embrace the idea of using less, consuming less, buying less, and filling your life and schedule with fewer commitments. 

Man relaxing at home with his dog by his side

Simplify Your Routines

We all have a collection of small routines that make up our days and our lives, even if we never set those routines intentionally. Take some time to evaluate the naturally occurring routines in your life and how you can approach them slowly. This could look like walking to some of the locations you usually drive to or actually taking a lunch break instead of skipping it to be more productive. 

Related: How to Find Joy & Start Romanticizing Your Life 

Spend Time in Nature

One of life's simplest and most beautiful gifts is the beauty of nature all around us. Spending time in nature as often as possible can show you what slow living looks like as few parts of nature rush about. As you observe flowing water, flitting birds, and gentle breezes you might naturally incorporate the essence of these things into your own life. 

Make Movement Easy

Working out is great, but if it feels like your normal gym routine is inhibiting your slow living, it might be time to reevaluate. Consider swapping high-intensity or fast-paced workouts for gentler movements. Try walking, yoga, hiking, pilates, or swimming for a slower approach to exercise.

Take the Scenic Route to Everything 

You could take the literal scenic route on your usual drives. That's one way to embrace slow living. But this principle can flow into many areas of life. 

  • Take time to gaze outside the window as you do dishes.
  • Wait patiently by the coffee maker each morning to take in the scent of your favorite brew.
  • Cook dinner without distractions and pay attention to how the process impacts all of your senses.
  • Stroll as you shop for groceries and take time to touch or smell produce, even if you don't plan to buy it. 
  • Turn off music or distractions in the car to have meaningful conversations with your passengers. 
  • Slow down your nightly routine and let your mind wander as you brush your teeth or tidy the house. 

Seek the Purpose In Every Action

With all of the components of slow living working together, this part of the process will likely happen without much intention. You'll start to notice yourself questioning the purpose of each action, evaluating whether or not it's something that adds to your life.

Embrace this new outlook and let it flow into everything you do as you start to seek the reason behind each decision. 

  • Ask yourself if the action helps you consume or contribute.
  • Determine if the action brings you joy, peace, or any other positive feeling.
  • Consider how the action impacts the environment around you, your mental well-being, and your physical health. 

Discover How Much More There Is to Life

Slow living might seem like you're giving up a lot at first glance. But what you'll find is that you gain so much more by letting go of the things that don't truly serve you. As you filter through your routines, decisions, and actions, you'll start to see all the beautiful parts of life that happen when busyness and burnout are no longer controlling every moment. 

18 Simple Ways to Practice Slow Living & Rediscover Life