Savor These Practical Slow Living Tips

practical tips for slow living


The slow living tips I’m about to share with you changed the way I live my life.

the slow living movementI don’t know about you, but when I first heard the phrase “slow living,” the image that came to my mind was a cross between a beach vacation advertisement and a farmer churning their own butter. Neither picture seemed remotely realistic in my busy life.

Fortunately, the first thing I learned about the slow living movement is that it isn’t about being a beach bum or a butter churner. It’s more practical than that — more personalized than that. Living slowly is less about a specific lifestyle and more about a choice to live intentionally.

Stepping back to evaluate what’s truly important to you, and then choosing to purposefully fill your days with the things that matter is the powerful, life-changing idea behind slow living.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

My slow living journey began when I realized how much time, money, and effort I was spending on things I didn’t really care about. I made a choice then and there to build a tiny home and pursue a simpler lifestyle focused on what matters most to me. Over a decade later, I am living the life I used to dream of.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

How Slow Living Tips Can Change Your Life

How Slow Living Tips Can Change Your Life

Believe me, I know the idea of not being busy probably sounds like a pipedream no matter how many slow living tips I’m able to give you. We’re adults, right? Doesn’t being an adult mean being busy?

Slow Living Can Change Your LifeI’m asking you to suspend disbelief for five minutes and consider the idea that busyness is actually a choice. It’s a choice we habitually make because we haven’t considered that slowing down is an option.

Part of being an adult does mean having a lot of responsibilities. But it also means having some level of control over what we do and when we do it.

The problem is, we fill our days with an insane number of tasks and checkboxes that leave us feeling drained and frazzled.

Greg McKeown

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”

– Greg McKeown, Essentialism

If practically everything we do is unimportant like Greg McKeown says, slow living asks the question, “Why not do fewer unimportant things so we have time, energy, and space for the things that matter?” Asking that question changed my life, and I’m confident it can do the same for you.

a simple formula for living your best life

What Is Slow Living?

What Is Slow Living

Slow living is a mindset that chooses quality over quantity, better over faster, and intentionality over saying yes to everything. This outlook doesn’t pursue slowness for the sake of being slow but rather for the ability to enjoy every moment.

At its core, the slow living mentality redefines our modern notion of success. It encourages a life of self-awareness in which you take purposeful steps to fill your days with what matters most at the expense of the unimportant.

How Is Slow Living Different From Simple Living?

While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, slow living is the pursuit of a less busy lifestyle, while simple living, also known as minimalism, has more to do with having less stuff. These two concepts definitely work well together, but they aren’t the same thing.

I became a minimalist because I decided to live a slower life. Having less stuff cuts down on the number of things I have to clean, care for, and worry about, enabling me to savor more moments in life.

how to become a minimalist

Slow Living Tips You Can Put Into Action Right Now

Slow Living Tips You Can Put Into Action Right Now

Slowing down in a busy world doesn’t happen by accident. It takes conscious choices to reorient your life until you have a more sustainable, enjoyable existence.

Here are some tips for slow living you can put into practice starting today to make your daily life richer, more purposeful, and more meaningful.

Slow Down And Define What’s Important To You

The purpose of slow living is allowing your values and priorities to drive your life. That’s hard to do if you aren’t sure what your values and priorities are.

write down your intentionsI can’t really help you with this because it’s all about you. The journey to a slower lifestyle looks different for everyone because it means tailor-fitting your daily life to your personal principles and goals.

Don’t let other people’s expectations make you think that success is all about career advancement and wealth accumulation. Are you blindly following a career path simply because you’re successful and making good money? To be clear, I’m not telling you to quit your job and live off the land, but you need to honestly evaluate what you want in life.

Take some time to write down the things that are most important to you. It might feel silly, but few people really pause to think through exactly what they want their lives to look like. This simple exercise (maybe written on a post-it and stuck to the wall above your desk) can motivate you to lead a more fulfilling life knowing clearly what you want.

Consider Downshifting Your Lifestyle To Fit Slow Living

In his book Eat That Frog!, Brian Tracy says, “It is the quality of time at work that counts and the quantity of time at home that matters.” In other words, be purposeful about how you spend your time so you have more of it to spend on what (and who) matters.

If you’ve been living in the fast lane with your life set on cruise control, it’s time to slide a few lanes to the right and give yourself some rest. You won’t accomplish more in life by burning yourself out and missing the fulfilling moments. At least, you won’t accomplish anything of real value.

downshifting your lifestyle

Minimize Your Things By Decluttering

While slow living is different than minimalism, having fewer things adding busyness and stress to your home gives you more time to focus on what’s important.

As a long-time minimalist myself, I have lots of advice to give on the benefits of minimalism, but I’ll limit myself to saying that decluttering my belongings has helped me declutter my mind and home in on what I want in life like nothing else has.

If you don’t believe me, give it a try

Start Your Day Slowly And Intentionally

If your mornings are hectic sprints to get everything and everyone where they need to be, I know this might sound impossible, but hear me out. Your experience every day flows from the tone you set when you get out of bed in the morning. If your morning feels stressful, chances are your day won’t improve.

Improving your overall quality of life requires improving the quality of each and every ordinary day. Because no day is ordinary. Each one is one-three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth of your year, and slow living is all about putting the breaks on so you can enjoy all 365 of them.

Intentionality and routine are key here. Remember, living slow means designing your life to line up with your values. Start by designing your morning in a simple, easily repeatable routine that begins each valuable day with ease, energy, and purpose.

minimalist morning routine

Monotask Instead Of Multitasking

This is one of my favorite tips.

The ability to multitask used to be a bragging right in our faced-paced culture. But there have been so many studies proving that juggling multiple projects is actually counterproductive and bad for our brains.

Think about it in terms of quality over quantity. It is better to do one thing well than to do three things passably. And, honestly, it usually ends up taking longer to do multiple things at one time instead of taking the time to focus on each task individually.

Always keep in mind that slow living means pushing for enjoyment and fulfillment over checklist success. I think we easily forget that something like replying to an email or completing a project well can be fun, personable, and fulfilling instead of stressful, unfocused, and bland.


Take Intentional Breaks

Don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed to take a break. A crazy thought, right? Plan specific break times throughout your day (at home and at work) or set a rule for when to break during a project.

Good Times To Take A Break

  • Once you’ve written a certain number of words
  • Once you’ve answered a certain number of emails
  • Whenever your child is sleeping
  • Whenever you hear a car horn outside

Good Things To Do On A Break

  • Take a walk outside in the fresh air
  • Do some stretches and/or meditation
  • Read a few pages of a book
  • Work on a favorite hobby

Honestly, whatever works for you is the way to go. But have a plan for what to do on your break. Don’t just scroll social media or sit staring into space.

Make your breaks enjoyable and refreshing. Don’t just pause one job to work on another.

Practice Living Marginally With Extra Time Built In

This one is for all you habitually late arrivers out there. Regardless of how laid-back you are, running late usually means last-minute rushing and stressing.

Nothing about running late is peaceful, relaxing, or enjoyable. It’s not fulfilling. It’s not intentional.

Letting time get away from you really is a choice — you’re choosing to allow the clock to control your actions and emotions. Instead of shrugging your shoulders and accepting that you’re just a “late person,” decide to take control of your time.

Make a habit of allowing comfortably cushioned margins of time in your schedule. You can easily combine this tip with setting aside time for yourself each day by making an appointment with yourself 15 minutes before you’re supposed to be somewhere. That way, instead of rushing, you’ll arrive early and have 10 minutes for yourself to read, walk, or meditate.

minimalist daily routine
Then, with five fashionable minutes to spare, you can show up unflustered without frantically wondering if you remembered to wear deodorant or if someone will notice you’re late.

Learn To Appreciate The Silence And Pace Of Slow Living

Do you know someone who has to fill every pause in a conversation? Maybe you are that person. No judgement here. This isn’t about personality as much as it is about learning the value of silence.

You can’t be fully present if you don’t listen for natural rhythms in conversation, activity, and thought. When silence is never allowed to naturally settle or even exist in a room or a conversation, we miss out on a lot.

Things We Miss When We Rush To Fill The Silence

  • Our mind’s natural thought processes
  • Body language, facial expressions and other signals from our companions
  • The beauty (or lack thereof) of our surroundings
  • The nuances of our environment, our own thoughts, or our companion’s presence
Take time to pause. Allow silence to exist. You’ll be surprised how much you learn about yourself and the people around you, and how much more present and aware you feel.

Learn How And When To Say No

This slow living tip can truly change your life. At the very least, it will change your schedule.

the power of saying noI’ve written a whole article on how to say no if you need some good motivation and strategies for implementing this tip, but for now I’ll just remind you that the majority of things we say “yes” to on a daily basis aren’t important, aren’t improving the quality of our lives, and aren’t adding value.

Learn to be selective in what you say “yes” to. Make saying “no” your default. That might sound harsh, but you might find that people will respect you for valuing your own time, happiness, and quality of life.

Incorporate An Intentional Slow Living Self-Care Routine

If you struggle with the idea of slowing down, chances are setting aside time each day to take care of yourself sounds selfish and wasteful. The truth is, though, you can only live at your best when you’re mindfully caring for your own heart, mind, and body.

Your values and goals won’t get the focused attention they deserve if you’re overwhelmed, tired, or burned out. The important people in your life won’t feel your love and presence if you’re drained.

Set Aside Some Time With Yourself

Living slow doesn’t involve damage control. Instead of letting things happen as they will and recovering afterwards, take control of your own well-being in small ways by intentionally scheduling a time each day just for just yourself.

This might be a novel idea to you, but I can’t stress its importance enough. Your loved ones (and even your to-do list) wants you, not a washed out, out-of-touch-with-yourself version of you.

This doesn’t have to be a long period of time or even at the same time every day. Do what works for you.

Places To Go Alone To Clear Your Head

Make A Habit Of Meditating

Meditation is a key component of self-care for those wanting to live slowly because it forces you to stop everything else and just be. If you are unsure where to begin, there are countless resources out there to guide you.

If you are hesitant to try meditating, I encourage you to give it a go for a little while before writing it off. Make what you want of it, but try it. You might find yourself in better touch with yourself, your inner thoughts and feelings, and the world around you. And if that isn’t a main goal of slow living, I don’t know what is.

practical self care

Slow Down And Prioritize Your Health

Caring for yourself also means taking care of your body. Many people who practice slow living enjoy growing their own fresh vegetables, but if that isn’t you, decide how you will intentionally make your health a priority in your life, and stick with it.

Like anything else, start small and build up. Choose one thing to do differently every day. Then another.

Spend More Time In Motion

Whether you want to set up a daily exercise routine or simply schedule time to take a walk outside, find a way to get your body moving that works for you. A slow lifestyle is not a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise and fresh air revitalize you and enable you to live life to the fullest.

Take Time To Plan And Prepare Nutritious Meals

As a foodie and a gardener, I love preparing tasty, nutritious recipes. Growing your own food and loving to cook aren’t required for slow living, but they are common in the slow life movement. Slowing down long enough to realize that your health is a priority for a full and happy life (which is most likely important to you) will motivate you to change what you eat and how you prepare it.

minimalist simple diet

Dedicate More Time For Sleep

Taking care of yourself and your health requires a good sleep routine. Countless studies confirm that your sleep habits effect your health and your enjoyment of the day, so make sleep a priority.

Living slow means prioritizing a life of value and meaning, neither of which happen on too little sleep.

Spend Some Time Outside Daily

I love being outside. I take a fifteen-minute walk every morning, and I hike often. Believe me when I say there’s nothing like fresh air and sunshine to revitalize the quality of your life, which makes spending time outside invaluable to a slow liver.

go for a walk in the parkIf you’re not a natural outdoors person, find a few specific spots and activities that you enjoy — a porch where you can read and soak up some sun or a flower garden where you can get your hands dirty for a few minutes every day.

The trick is to make your outside time as effortless and enjoyable as possible so that you can recharge in nature while your mind takes a break. If you choose gardening, have some gardening clothes and tools in a handy place where you can grab them and go so it’s easy. Don’t make this a chore.

Indulge Your Inner Desire To Create

Each of us has an inner desire to make something with our own hands or minds. Creativity is something we encourage in children, but we shouldn’t outgrow it as adults. Imagination and creation relax and stimulate our minds and our inner selves. It’s actually really healthy to be creative!

Don’t overthink this tip, just pick something that sounds fun to you and roll with it. You can always change your mind later.

Ideas To Indulge Your Creative Side

  • Grow a garden
  • Try your hand at baking
  • Write a poem or novel (nobody has to see it)
  • Have someone teach you how to crochet
  • Take up painting
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Explore crafts like jewelry or woodworking
try your hand at baking

Find Inspiration For Slow Living

Find Inspiration For Slow Living

The slow living movement is a popular lifestyle these days. Take advantage of its online presence and community to build your understanding of what it means to live slowly. The more you learn about slow living, the more motivated you’ll be to slow your own life down.

There are also some amazingly helpful slow living books out there that I highly recommend.

slow living book reviews

Put Slow Living Into Practice

Put Slow Living Into Practice

Slow living is all about slowing down, so don’t rush into it. If some of these tips feel right for your life, start with them and don’t get overwhelmed trying to incorporate everything at once.

Pick one for this week. Make one intentional change at a time, and pretty soon your life will be slower, more purposeful, and more enjoyable.

Your Turn!

  • What are some strategies that you might use to say “no” to things that won’t add value to your life?
  • What resources have been the most helpful to you in transitioning to a slower lifestyle?
1 Comment
  1. Multitasking is really doing several things half-assed, and “functioning” in frazzled mode. It’s not a skill.

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