7 Micro Habits to Embrace the Slow Living Lifestyle

Slow Living Lifestyle

Hey, I'm Emilie!

A certified life coach, meditation instructor, and spiritual entrepreneur. I’m here to help you create a vibrant life around your higher purpose and heart’s desires. 

Why Rush Through Life? We All Know What’s at the End.

Slow living is the countermovement to a high-paced, achievement-oriented lifestyle. It’s an invitation to savor life rather than rushing through it.

After all, why rush? We all know what’s at the end.

Slow living is not about moving as slowly as possible. It’s living intentionally, in a way that creates inner and outer harmony.

It’s the opposite of living on autopilot, mindlessly going from one moment to the next, which is what most of us do.

It’s a lifestyle that makes you appreciate the value of time – or better said, “quality time.”

If your current way of life makes you feel out of breath, slowing down and bringing more awareness to each passing moment will help you get your breath back.

But how? How do you slow down when you spent years accelerating, making your wheels go so fast that it seems that you’ve lost control?

Be assured; there are ways to decelerate.

I’ll share seven with you in this article: seven micro-habits that will help you slow down, savor each moment, and live deeply.

By implementing these tiny habits into your life, you’ll get a taste of what slow living feels like. 

Mindful Morning Routine

Slow Living Tip #1: Practice Essentialism

The first essential step in embracing slow living is to define your priorities.

Your attention is limited. If you give it to too many things, you risk the quality of your attention being poor. So, the idea is to stop giving attention to what’s not important (to you). To achieve that, you must get clear on what’s essential and what isn’t.

Essential doesn’t mean urgent. The essential things are those that will have mattered when you look back at your life near your last days.

According to the 80/20 Rule, 20% of causes (or inputs) create 80% of the effects (outputs). So, what’s the 20% of things that cause 80% of your happiness? And what’s the 20% of things that cause 80% of the stress in your life?

Answering these questions requires some reflection and may take some time at first.

What I encourage you to do is to take a notebook and write down all the things (small and big) in your life that bring you joy. For example, I wrote:

  • Waking up without an alarm
  • Drinking an almond milk mocha latte in the morning
  • Running at the park
  • Reading personal development books
  • Having a BBQ with my friends

…and so on.

Next, write down what stresses you, annoys you, or bores you.

Finally, place the items on your lists in order of importance. On your first list, place the things that bring you the most joy first. On the second list, put the items that make you most unhappy first.

From now on, create more space in your life for what makes you the happiest, and find ways to reduce what stresses you.

Then, develop the micro-habit to look at your lists every day to continually remind yourself of what you must nurture or discard.

Micro-habit #1: Continually remind yourself of what’s important.

holistic lifestyle

Slow Living Tip #2: Practice Segment Intending

A helpful practice to live more intentionally rather than on autopilot is what Abraham Hicks called segment intending.

Before each segment of your day, set your intention for how you want the segment to unfold.

A segment a moment. It’s any time you engage in an activity or move into a new context or experience.

For example, a segment could be:

  • Waking up and getting out of bed in the morning
  • Getting in your car to go to work
  • Entering a store
  • Preparing dinner
  • Calling someone

For example, before writing this article, I set the intention to get in a state of flow, be undistracted, and write for two hours straight.

Setting your intention for how you want the segment to unfold only takes a few seconds and will help you be more intentional about how you show up in each moment.

Micro-habit #2: Set your intention before each segment of your day.

slow living

Slow Living Tip #3: Pause In-Between Tasks and Activities

Another simple way to decelerate and avoid getting trapped in autopilot mode is to pause in-between tasks.

When you complete a task, instead of jumping to the next activity right away, close your eyes and take three deep breaths.

  • After washing dishes, take three deep breaths before sitting in front of the TV.
  • After eating lunch, close your eyes and take three deep breaths before getting back to work.
  • Before getting out of your car when arriving at the mall, close your eyes and take three deep breaths.

I learned this tip from spiritual teacher Gina Lake, and it’s been an invaluable tool to help me slow down and be more present. Pausing in-between tasks can easily be combined to segment intending.

Micro-habit #3: Pause and take three deep breaths in-between tasks and activities.

holistic living lifestyle

Slow Living Tip #4: Fully Immerse Yourself in Each Moment

“Slow living is savoring the minutes instead of counting them.” -Unknown

At the end of my last high school year (a very long time ago), I told a friend that I felt like time was passing me by. It scared me. I guess I felt anxious about the whole adult life. He told me, “You feel that way because you don’t live each moment fully.”

Those words have played in my mind again and again since that day: be fully present.

Being fully present and savoring each moment don’t just force us to slow down — it can make a black and white life become technicolor. Life becomes richer and more profound when you fully immerse yourself in each moment.

When you have a conversation with a friend or your partner, give them your undivided attention. When you read a book, immerse yourself fully in the story. When you eat a meal, just eat: focus on the taste, texture, and smells of the food you’re eating. Learn to be in a state of flow at work and when you engage in your hobbies.

To slow down and savor life, we must be present.

“You can’t slow our time by being busy. You can only slow your time by being present, living a life of congruence, and by choosing to relate on a trusting and vulnerable level with those you love.” – Benjamin Hardy, in Slipstream Time Hacking

Micro-habit #4: Be fully present in each moment. Start by eating one meal a day mindfully.

living intentionally

Slow Living Tip #5: Schedule Downtime

I always recommend my meditation students to schedule their meditation time to make sure they prioritize it. I ask them to block time for it in their planner, just as they do for other tasks and activities.

The same applies to downtime; to prioritize it, schedule it. 

Schedule relaxation, meditation, reading a book, or going for a walk. Don’t leave it for “when you’ll have time.” Block that time in advance in your planner.

Scheduling downtime is not unproductive— far from it. It’s when you rest that you are most likely to get genius ideas. Inspiration occurs when your mind relaxes and you get into the Alpha or Theta states. Alpha and Theta are slower brainwaves that are conducive to receiving insights.

Plus, you can use downtime to collect your thoughts and energy so that you have greater strength and mental clarity to tackle the other demanding tasks of your day. Scheduling downtime can also prevent burn-out.

It’s a strategy for long-term productivity.

Micro-habit #5: Schedule downtime. Block time for it in your planner, even if it’s just fifteen minutes a day.

Slow Living Lifestyle

Slow Living Tip #6: Schedule Clean Rest

I also recommend scheduling clean rest. That’s an idea I learned from Sam Laura Brown, a productivity coach and the host of The Perfectionism Project Podcast.

Clean rest is particularly important for those of us who are entrepreneurs or self-employed. When you are your own boss, it’s easy to work all the time. Even when you aren’t working, you may be thinking of work.

Clean rest means that when you clock out, you disconnect entirely.

This idea has been invaluable in my life. I don’t work that many hours a week; perhaps thirty or so. But I used to work a little – an hour or two, sometimes more – on my days off. Plus, I was almost always thinking about work when doing something else – for example, while running, walking somewhere, trying to meditate, and even sleeping!

Even if, technically, I wasn’t working that many hours a week, it still felt like I was working all the time. Nowadays, I schedule clean rest, whether it’s a full day off or just an evening, and completely disconnect. 

Just like downtime and everything else that’s important to us, we should schedule clean rest (and keep it clean).

Micro-habit #6: Schedule clean rest.

Slow Life

Slow Living Tip #7: Reduce the Flux of Inputs

The more information we take in, the more our minds have raw materials to generate thoughts. The busier our minds are, the more we risk feeling out of breath.

Reducing the flux of incoming information helps us to slow down.

I love learning. I could even say that I’m an information junkie. I rarely leave my house without having a podcast ready to play.

The other day, as I was walking home from the supermarket, I felt very calm and peaceful. Suddenly, I realized I had forgotten to press play. There was no podcast playing. It felt as if fifty guests had just left my home.

My mind was quiet and relaxed. For the first time that day, there was no influx of information entering my mind. I realized that a continuous influx of information is tiring.

To slow down, I believe it’s necessary to reduce the inflow of information.

It could be reducing the time you spend watching TV or on social media and, instead, indulging in moments of silence once in a while.

It could be learning only about what you plan on using right away, something Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden from Internet Business Mastery call “just-in-time learning,” or it could be turning off the notifications on your phone and leaving them off most of the day.

Micro-habit #7: Reduce the influx of information. Cut in half the time you spend on social media and watching TV. Practice just-in-time learning.

Mindful Morning Routine

Will You Try One of These 7 Ideas This Week?

I believe these seven micro-habits are a good way to dip your toes into slow living. Here they are again:

Micro-habit #1: Continually remind yourself of what’s important.

Micro-habit #2: Set your intention before each segment of your day.

Micro-habit #3: Pause and take three deep breaths in-between tasks and activities.

Micro-habit #4: Be fully present in each moment. Start by eating one meal a day mindfully.

Micro-habit #5: Schedule downtime. Block time for it in your planner.

Micro-habit #6: Schedule clean rest and keep it clean.

You don’t have to practice them perfectly to benefit from them.

Even incorporating one of those habits in a portion of your day will help you be more intentional about how you spend your time.

Again, slow living is mostly about acknowledging the value of (quality) time.

Have a beautiful week!

Emilie ♡

 

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