A Guide To Slow Living With Intention In A Big City
I have always been a big city kind of girl. I simply love everything about urban life with all the many tall buildings and busy streets. I also enjoy a cozy, small, beautifully designed cafés where I can sit calmly sipping my daily hot cuppa coffee, though.
That’s where the slow living lifestyle takes place: Having time to yourself and making time to the simple acts that make life meaningful and enjoyable.
While I can be fascinated by the idea of living in an apartment on a very high floor (let’s say on the 50th floor) right in the middle of a downtown area and sitting on a reading nook by the window staring at a breathtaking skyline view, I am drawn as well to sitting at a beach somewhere far from the crowd and watching a magical sunset just reflecting on my own life up to now.
I find myself happy being both a city girl and a person passionate about slow living as a lifestyle.
Slow living in the city? Is it even possible?
Many people may think that this lifestyle is only practiced by the ones living in cottages in a small town. How can someone beat the busyness of a big city after all?
We don’t need to beat anything. We can embrace it. We take advantage of all the ease available in a big city and get the best of it. I simply love the pace in the city and its many options of entertainment, opportunities of businesses, different kinds of leisure activities, and even better if the place you live in has parks all around making it possible to have direct contact with nature!
When we feel rushed, we miss out on the precious little moments though.
Rest is important
Burnout is a real issue. We cannot be in the on-the-go mode all the time. If I don’t make time to take care of myself, I will get to a point where I am mentally and physically drained, and consequently, I will go into survival mode (eat, sleep, work, repeat) living on autopilot. Sometimes not even making time for the things that bring me joy.
At this point, it’s where I brought slow living and intentional living into my life to create space for a more balanced and unhurried way of living.
So, what exactly is slow living?
The slow lifestyle idea started in Italy in the 1980s with the Slow Food movement as a counterpart to fast food chains spreading all over. The concept was to slow down and appreciate your meals, eating mindfully.
Quoting Kayte Ferris, a simple living blogger from Simple and Season Blog and Slow with the Soul Podcast:
“Slow living is all about knowing and passionately loving the things we value, and designing our lives to spend the most time possible enjoying them. It’s about having intentionality and consciousness in our activities, about escaping the mindless scrolling and unproductive multi-tasking and focusing on purposeful action. It’s about embracing the fact that you’re not doing it all – it’s about doing less, but better. It’s about knowing what the priorities are in your life and spending the time on them.“
As we see from her words, slow and Intentional living is a lifestyle that can be experienced wherever you are in the world. It’s not about doing things slowly but rather doing everything grounded in the present and intentionally creating your days.
The essentialist way
My passion for slow living came from the fact that I was never a multi-tasker but always wanted to find a way to keep my mono-tasking personality and be productive at the same time. I started off by reading “Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg Mckeown and when I came across this paragraph I knew I had found basis to a completely new lifestyle:
“The way of the essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminating the nonessential and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth path.“
Needless to say – that paragraph from the book showed me exactly who I wanted to be and the best news ever: I would be able to keep living in any downtown area without having to be swallowed by the hustle and bustle of life
I would be able to thrive, to create, to inspire, and be inspired having those little precious moments to myself.
My home became a peaceful sanctuary. I created some Hygge spots full of candles, vision boards, small Buddhas, and fluffy cushions.
Self-care started meaning much more than just skincare, it became a non-negotiable time of the day.
By defining my energy drivers (meditation, journaling, yoga, and walks in the nature in parks nearby home) I could focus on what was really meaningful to me.
I learned to say no and set reasonable boundaries in the name of my mental health.
I studied myself a bit more and defined my core values.
The big lesson: I was able to create momentum and stick to slow living as a lifestyle the day I aligned my decision making to my core values.