Demanding work schedules, family commitments, convenient nutrient-poor diets and information bombardment is enough to cause mental stress, burnout and serious illness. However a real answer to modern life’s problems has surfaced and it’s called slow living.
What is slow living?
Slow living is a lifestyle choice by people who desire to lead more balanced lives. It focusses on a less-is-more approach structuring your life around meaning, fulfilment and quality of life. Slow living embraces simplicity and rejects the accumulating of stuff without real purpose. Because it integrates mindfulness, it encourages people to make conscious decisions rather than living on autopilot.
So how do we incorporate ‘slow’ in a hectic life? Here are our top ‘slow’ tips that will improve your health and wellness:
Eat real food
It can be difficult to eat mindfully when you’re time poor but this is where planning comes in. Plan your weekly shop and purchase plenty of whole foods, proteins, nuts, seeds and healthy gluten-free snacks so that you are getting all your essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Food has a significant impact on how we function, and if you want to function at your optimal levels, it means eating real food. Avoid too much sugar, too much salt, artificial substances and aim for organic ingredients where possible.
First things first
Every day we have competing demands and these demands can overwhelm us. We recommend when waking up, that you plan out your day, identifying your priorities and other things that need doing. Rather than being pushed to breaking point by all these pressures, take a look at your list and remember to deal with the urgent matters first. Once you have addressed the urgent demands, you can then focus on the less-pressing issues. Do the same the next day and the day after. Make planning your day a habit. By start the day prioritising your tasks, you’ll feel less stressed and actually get more done.
The act of consciously breathing reduces stress hormones, helping us to slow down and think more clearly. Activities that incorporate breathing practices such as meditation, yoga, tai-chi and pilates are ideal. But if you don’t have the time you can do 10 minutes of breathing exercises no matter where you are, ensuring that you are taking deep breaths, filling your diaphragm and then slowly releasing your breath. So if you are feeling anxious, feeling frustrated or are having problems sleeping, try some deep breathing exercises.
At the end of each day, take some time to think about the things that you are grateful for. By shifting your focus on life’s gifts, you will feel more relaxed and positive.
Keep a journal
The act of writing your thoughts down helps you interpret your emotions reduces stress levels. The act of writing in a journal is therapeutic, helping you reduce your stress levels as you work through (write out) your thoughts and feelings.
Spend some time outdoors
If you’re cooped up in an office all day, getting out in the sunshine can do wonders. You can also try taking your shoes off and walk around on grass bare feet. Doing this will help to reduce your stress levels and helps you connect to the rest of life. Biophilia, the human urge to connect with other living systems is a very real need, especially when you live and work in the city.
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