I’m sure it’s no surprise to you but we’re living in a ridiculously fast paced world. From the moment we wake up, we’re bombarded with the latest news, trending stories and most recent Instagram posts. We head out and we’re surrounded by the new-in-store and latest gadgets. Our minds are constantly being fed with new information and we’ve become accustomed to it – crave it, even. Our lifestyles favour instant gratification and we no longer possess much willpower. To be honest, I’m losing patience just trying to keep up. What’s the rush?
I’m in favour of joining the growing number of people who have decided to embrace the Slow Movement: Appreciating the world around us, focusing on personal sustainability and repairing the disconnect and stress caused by life in the fast lane. It’s not about doing everything at a snail’s pace, it’s about doing it at the right speed and seeking balance from the pace of our working lives.
So, how does the Slow Movement translate into everyday life? It all started with something we love – food.
Beginning with a protest against the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome, slow food promotes an alternative to fast food. It strives to preserve regional produce and cuisine along with traditional food production. These methods often lead to healthier food, full of flavour. Popularity for slow food has spread worldwide and we can see it within our own culture. One of the latest trends in slow food includes cold coffee, brewed overnight, creating a sweeter, concentrated and less acidic flavour. The nation is also becoming obsessed with brewing their own beer and fermenting food. Fermented food in particular is incredibly healthy, full of good bacteria and great for digestion. We’ve seen a big rise in these foods including sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), tempeh (fermented soybeans) and kimchi (fermented vegetables). If it sounds a bit gross to you, just think about all the fermented food we already eat from yoghurt, bread and cheese, to wine and vinegar.
Slow travel is not so much about the mode of transport as it is a state of mind. Focus is on absorbing the culture around you rather than manic sight-seeing. Slow cities have less traffic, less noise and fewer crowds. The demand for travel at a relaxed pace is on the rise – think walking and cycling tours, hikes and even exploring on horseback. Less city-hopping more experiencing. Italy leads the way as the country honouring its traditions and rejecting turning into a tourist-led machine. Rough Guides wrote a great article on the topic: http://www.roughguides.com/article/taking-it-easy-slow-travel/
As well as high intensity workouts, add gentler exercises to your regime such as yoga, pilates, tai chi or even walking. This style of exercise increases your endurance and helps to relax and destress you. A great mid-week workout that refreshes and rebalances the fast-pace of many of our working lives.
With everything at our fingertips on our smart phones, it’s not often we take the time to switch-off from technology. This is being recognised through the emergence of apps such as Pause. Using interactive technology, Pause triggers relaxation and recoups energy via focus and attention training activities on screen. Slow media is about taking time out of your day for leisure, such as reading a book – something less and less of us do. We’ve even seen the introduction of slow television, Norwegian style, that plays coverage of an event in its complete length. In the UK it began with the series, “BBC Four Goes Slow,” which featured a 3 hour tour of the National Gallery.
The breakneck speed of fashion is something more and more people feel needs to be addressed. We are bombarded with trends and made to feel unfashionable with the constantly refreshed stock in stores. It’s a waste of money and it’s unsustainable. I covered this topic in more depth in a previous post: The End in Trend. If you haven’t read it yet and also feel lost in the endless fashion trend cycle, I recommend you read it.
You may not agree with taking the Slow Movement on in its entirety, but I hope you found aspects of it that you can embrace to improve your wellbeing. Just remember to take some time out for yourself and for your sanity.
If you liked this post, check out: How LA Inspired London to Grow Up
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