May, 2018: The Art of Slow Living: Ways to be Slow and Present
For many of us, our daily routine revolves around going through the motions of what needs to get done without ever being mindful of the what we are actually doing at that very moment. Stemming from the Slow Food Movement, the slow living movement encourages us to be more cognizant of our day to day routines and to be more present. Because we are continuously bombarded by social media and the feeling of having to keep up and compare ourselves, it can be difficult to know where to start. We're also a generation of rushers. For some reason, we've been programmed to think that the faster we get somewhere or achieve something the better. But what happened to just doing things at your own pace? Here are some simple tips on how to integrate slow living into your everyday life.
On your commute - If you have ever found yourself zoning out for 45 minutes while on your way to work, you aren't the only one. However, that 45-minute commute is the perfect place to practice meditation. Whether you're a pro at meditating on your own or if you need guidance, your morning commute is the perfect place to set yourself up for success for the remainder of your day. Andy Puddicome, the founder of the guided meditation app, Headspace, recognizes that "meditation is a way to familiarise oneself with the qualities of mindfulness."
With your meal - The original Slow Food Movement was founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy. The idea was to encourage food that was "good, clean and fair". However, the Slow Food movement extends beyond the source of your meal. One of the easiest ways to incorporate slow living into your mealtime is to get rid of distractions including phones, laptops and television. Taking the time to enjoy the flavours of the meal and conversations with friends and family will leave your tummy and heart feeling full. As much as food is fuel, it is to be enjoyed too.
In your spare time - Rather than getting sucked into Instagram in the evenings (we've all had that moment of "how did I end up on my best friend's, ex-boyfriend's, step-mother's profile?"), try picking up a new hobby. Studies have shown that knitting is one of the newest forms of meditation. Laura Zander, the founder of online yarn retailer, Jimmy Beans Wool, has found that many of their customers knit solely for "meditative and therapeutic" purposes. Crafts like knitting and crochet allow the mind to focus on one thing at a time without distractions. As a bonus? You'll have the satisfaction of creating your own garment. Cashmere scarf, anyone?
In your workout - Don't get us wrong, one of the best things about some workouts is letting our minds wander or shutting them off completely. However, taking the time to notice the movements you are working on, whether it is running or squats, will allow you to find a deeper connection to that movement and to truly focus on the work you are putting in. Why not swap your spin session for a stretch, yoga or meditation session once in a while? It will help lower your cortisol levels (stress hormone) and it might just be what your body needs.
Incorporating slow living into your everyday life might seem daunting, but who knows, you might find that life in the slow lane is much more rewarding.
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