The pace of modern life often keeps us so busy that we have no time for the little things that bring us the most joy — hobbies, an evening walk, expressing our love for each other. We don’t have enough time to live our lives. The Slow Life movement has existed for over a quarter of a century and aims to promote a more healthy, meaningful lifestyle which overcomes this problem.
At Smalljoys, we felt it was time to share with you some of this movement’s advice, which we think offers a vital opportunity to feel in harmony with the world every single day of your life.
1. Be alone with nature
Nature is a source of energy, harmony and beauty. When people are in harmony with nature, they forget about their problems and learn to listen to their heart. Try to gaze at the stars on occasion, or watch the sunrise by the river bank, or admire the birds soaring high in the sky. These moments will add meaning to your life in ways that you can’t express in words.
2. Enjoy silence
We need it so much amid the constant flow of urban noise, advertising, phone calls, and even our own random thoughts. Silence is such a rare visitor that we sometimes even begin to fear it. But, in fact, silence can help you feel different, more positive, and understand yourself better, and that’s already a great deal. You can take simple a step and invite silence into your life, if only for a few minutes a day.
3. Split your work into equal parts
The main point here is to do things consistently, whether it’s housework or work-related assignments. Even if you have what seems like too many things to do, focus on one of them at a time, and don’t get distracted by other things until you’re done with this one problem. Otherwise, you will have neither the time nor the desire to do anything at all! Work should bring you joy, and it should not completely drain your time and energy.
4. Do what you love
While reading this, thoughts of creative fulfilment may have popped into your head. Everyone has creative gifts, but not all of us notice this and try to develop it. In order to understand what you’re really good at and would love to do, you have to find the time to try different options. This can be anything: drawing, gardening, modelling, writing poetry or raising children. When you do what you love, isn’t that true happiness?
5. Go to events, but do so in moderation
The desire to diversify your lifestyle often turns into an overload of different impressions: you go to an exhibition in the morning, then to the amusement park, to the cinema in the afternoon, and to the theatre in the evening. Everything gets mixed up, so there’s no chance to understand or appreciate what you’re doing in full. When you focus on one thing, the quality of the experience is completely different. That exhibition, if you give it enough time, might stimulate your own creativity; the amusement park will leave a breathtaking feeling of excitement about life for the whole day, and the cinema or theater will encourage to reflect on the ideas of the plot or on your own life.
6. Communicate in real-life
Face-to-face contact can’t be improved upon. To make sure it’s part of your life, you can consciously limit the conversations you have via other communication channels — cell phones, e-mails and the internet in general. One meeting with a friend is more meaningful than hundreds of messages and calls. Give attention to your loved ones, make time to talk heart-to-heart and to share secrets.
7. Appreciate the taste of what you eat
One can develop a special attitude towards food, manifested in a measured carrying out of the entire process — from preparation through to consumption. When buying food items, don’t run into the first shop you see on the way home — it’s better to set aside some time for food shopping at the weekend. Go to the market, select the freshest food that you can find, be creative with your menu, and when preparing your food turn on some nice music. Once everything is ready, slowly enjoy every bite.
8. Really concentrate on relaxing
You’ve been working the whole year, and here comes a nice opportunity — a last-minute tour of “five countries in five days” with visits to all the museums and attractions included…But after this kind of holiday it will take you a month to recharge your batteries. There’s no need to chase dozens of new experiences straight away. Enjoy every moment of your leisure time instead, relish it; take the time to look around, meet new people and communicate. You can feel the fullness of life just by walking along the quayside or having a nice cup of coffee at an outdoor restaurant.
9. Be a little unpredictable
Sometimes you have to let yourself be spontaneous and not to make any plans. Just follow the queues given to you by your mood, and you’ll be surprised at the results.
10. Learn from children
We had a childhood, and it hasn’t gone anywhere — it continues to live inside each and every one of us. Communicate with kids, watch how they interact with the world, and at some point this will help you to see life through their eyes, without the painful life experiences and prejudices you’ve developed as an adult. Children don’t hurry, they live in the present, and the whole point of it all for them is in the “here and now”! Allow yourself to be a child sometimes.