You know that phrase, “Slow and steady wins the race?” Rumor says it originated from a fable dating back to ancient Greece, but just like scrunchies, the old adage is making a 21st-century comeback. I’ll get into the how in a bit, but the why is glaringly obvious. Years of hustle culture (and his sister, burnout) are finally taking their toll on our collective wellbeing, and the consequences are not pretty.
Why Do We Need Slow Living?
55% of Americans are stressed on a given day (which is 20% higher than the global average, BTW). Nearly 20% of adults experience an anxiety disorder every year. Also, according to the American Psychological Association, employees “across the board saw heightened rates of burnout” in 2021, with 44% of people feeling physical weariness from the stress—an astounding 38% increase from 2 years before. In other words, even when we tell ourselves it’s okay to keep going, our bodies are saying, “Girl, get a grip.”
And a grip we definitely need, because all this rat-racing is not doing our physical health any good either. Research finds that only 12% of American adults (including those of a “normal weight” by medical standards) have decent metabolic health; and as of 2016, less than 3% of us had a healthy lifestyle. Only 3 percent?!
The takeaway is that we’re overworked, undernourished, and desperately in need of change. (Or a hero, but if Wonder Woman didn’t respond to Bonnie Tyler’s plea, we doubt anyone else could convince her.)
So, What is Slow Living?
Slow living is basically the opposite energy of keeping up with the Joneses. Instead of attending every event or working overtime to get ahead in your career, slow living is setting aside all that social pressure (including FOMO!) to prioritize behaviors that nourish you and your needs only. Niki, a slow living content creator, has been living this way since having her 1-year-old daughter.
She was working 2 careers (corporate job/business coach) and filling up her calendar with social events, leaving her with little time with family. “I call myself a hustle culture dropout because I was always thinking 10 steps ahead and missing the here and now. Then I started peeling back and spending more time on things that mattered to me the most.” After Niki realized something was off, she began to meticulously track what she did each day, then at the end of the week, highlighted the things that brought her joy.
The leftover activities, aka ones that didn’t support her “core values,” slowly fell off her calendar. She also quit her draining 9-5, shopped more eco-consciously, and integrated intentional movement like walks or bike rides into her daily life. “I definitely used to have a lot of anxiety, and that came from saying yes to commitments I didn’t really want to do,” she said. “Since we’ve started slow living, we’re more content with what we have. It’s just a better quality of life for us.”
How Can I Practice Slow Living?
It sounds like a dream, but not all of us can quit city life to become a cottagecore mom. Nevertheless, people are still craving ways to get a dose of calm in our lives. #Slowliving has 265.3 million views on TikTok, and it seems like women are taking the slow approach when it comes to their wellness, too.
Trend forecaster Alice Barraclough recently declared that low-intensity workouts will dominate 2022, which tracks, because the hot girl walk has to be the definitive fitness trend of the year so far. (The summer peak of Google searches for “how to lose weight fast” is also down 18% compared to last year, and in the wise words of Lizzo, it’s about damn time.)
When it comes to wellness, we have some slow routines for you to try out, but here are Niki’s tips for living overall:
- Reflect on your core values (family, health, community, etc.) and schedule activities that support them first.
- Stay off your phones for the first hour of your day (which psychologists say could trigger your brain’s stress response from overstimulation). Bonus points if you stay off social media whenever possible.
- Only agree to do things you actually want to do. We say yes to many things out of a sense of social obligation, but the obligation to your mental health and happiness always takes priority.
If I try it out, should I tell you my review?
Yes! As a writer, I’m always on social media for work, and as a Bob’s Burgers fanatic, I’m always on Hulu for pleasure. I’ve been trying to integrate principles of slow living into my life, but I definitely have a patience problem that makes things difficult at times. But I’m still trying, and I’d love to hear how you guys are trying to slow down in your own lives, too. So, if you try any of Niki’s tips or this article somehow inspired you to make a change, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below! (Also, I would love to hear your Bob’s Burgers opinions, but that’s less of a priority.)