Slow Living In A City

Slow Living In A City

Slow living is about connecting your yourself to your space; being mindful of your environment and actions by slowing down and enjoying the moment. We often imagine slow living to mean tiny cottages in quaint villages yet it's just as possible to live a slow life in a fast-paced city.

I, for one, could not bear life in a tiny village. I grew up in a village and quickly realised the tediously slow country life and lack of anything to do is not for me. I like to do things on a whim. While I appreciate and admire the rolling countryside, I’d much rather be a visitor passing through than a permanent resident.

So how do we adopt the slow living philosophy when we live in a too-fast-to-keep-up-with city? I’ve found slow living has very little do with where you live but how you live and so, whether you’re stuck in a big city or a tiny village, you can set your own pace.

Make Space

Slow living starts at home. Create an environment that inspires you and gives you energy. When we make space in our external surroundings, we start to focus on and become more aware of our internal busyness. Incorporating slow living practices into your home life means you can carry that with you into the outside world; establishing intention and mindfulness.

A good starting point is decluttering both your physical and digital belongings to create an environment that’s free from unwanted distractions and irritations. Keep only the things you believe to be beautiful or useful. Embrace and indulge in the habits or hobbies that bring you joy and focus your attention in a positive way.

I’ve found certain rituals and hobbies, like reading and tending to my plants, help me to create awareness and intention; a space in which I can focus on my thoughts and feelings, and carry that through the rest of my day.

Find Quiet Spots

Even the most vast and sprawling cities have quiet areas you can retreat into and enjoy their peace and tranquility. It could be your favourite coffee shop decorated beautifully, a museum or gallery full of art you love, or a park bench surrounded by nature. Spend time seeking out these quiet spots you enjoy being in; notice how you feel and how a space lifts your mood.

We can always find these special spots when we look for them. Mine is the local library. It’s quiet and safe with a secret garden on the roof and comfy chairs to fall into with a good book. If you can find these spaces, it can make a busy city feel less daunting and more friendly.

Be A Tourist

One of the strangest things I’d noticed about living in a big city is how infrequently the people who live there go out and explore it. Travelling from one side to the other can sometimes take hours so I understand the reluctance to leave a local borough, however, you’re missing out if you don’t. Apply the art of slow travel to life at home.

Explore your city; notice what’s around you from ghost signs to blue plaques. I love wandering the side streets in my local area just to look at the old buildings and workshops. There’s often events, like heritage weeks, gallery and museum events, horticultural shows, and artisanal markets, that can make you feel more connected to your city, help build a community, and make new connections with people who have the same interests.

Stay Calm

City life can be fast-paced and stressful. Allow the frustrations of slow traffic, noise and construction, impatient people, obstructions and irritations, to wash over you as you move through the streets. Shutting these nuisances out isn’t always easy but if you let them they can quickly affect your mood and mindset. Take a deep breath, put it into perspective, and handle the situation rationally.

Make use of lost time stuck in traffic or waiting in line or otherwise dull moments by making them more enjoyable. Notice the world around you, listen to a podcast, read a book, or go through your emails. I find following a yoga routine helps with grounding and calming myself. Refocus your time on something more interesting or productive, and try to avoid letting the frustrations of city life overwhelm your mood.

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