6 Tips for Slow Living in a Fast City

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In a city that never sleeps, how do you live slow?

When we think about slow living, our minds naturally conjure up a picturesque countryside home, with a woman in overalls happily tending to her garden. However, that’s not the reality that most of us can or want to live.

For most of us, our every day involves busy streets with honking cars, passing by hundreds of people that we will never know, and hearing what seems to be siren after siren. Today more people than ever live in urban environments, with city life comes the high-speed pace of life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t slow down, even if we’re living in fast cities.

So how can we normalize slow living in the city in our day to days? Here are my top six tips for slow living in the city:

Cultivate moments of slow with rituals

Making a slow ritual in your daily or weekly life can help ground yourself and allow mindfulness into your life.

This could be as simple as enjoying your coffee each morning without distraction. Meaning no phone, no journal, no magazine. Just you and your coffee.

On a weekly basis, this could mean ritually visiting the veggie market on Saturday morning. It can be anything really, as long as you create space for it to be your slow ritual.

Walk or Bike

While hopping in our car or down into the metro is easy and quick, biking and walking places allow for moments of slow in our busy life.

When we stay above ground and in the fresh air we can notice things we’d never see, come across hidden gems in your city, and allow for serendipity to take place.

I know that in a big city it’s not always time-allowing to walk everywhere, but biking tends to take a similar amount of time as the subway. Considering the traffic in the city, it might even be faster than driving too.

Make Your Space Your Sanctuary

One easy way to embrace slow living in the city is to make your home your safe place. When we come home from the sensory overload of city life, it’s important to have a place of refuge and sanctuary.

Whether you have just a room or a full apartment, making sure that it’s tidy and filled with things you love, will allow your mind to unwind and slow down.

Something else that can help signal to our body that it’s time to slow down is aromatherapy. Burning a nice smelling candle, incense or essential oil room sprays can help set the mood for slowing down and being present.

Use a Stop Light as A Meditative Moment

Slow living in the city doesn’t have to be complicated, we can even take cues from the world around us.

How often does it happen that when we get to a red light we impatiently stare at the light waiting for it to turn green, or if we’re walking, spending the entire light looking frantically to see if we can rush across when there’s a gap in traffic?

Rather than see waiting at a red light as an annoyance, use this time as a meditative moment. This doesn’t mean to go into a full blow meditation, but more as a moment to check in with yourself, take a couple of calming breaths and rejuvenate yourself for the day ahead or from the day that’s past.

Skip the Takeout

When we live in a city there are endless options of quick and easy food that we can grab on to go or order in. Rather than giving in to the temptation, especially on days when you’re exhausted, cook yourself something special.

It doesn’t have to be a Michelin Starred level meal, but something with whole foods that will nourish your body. The act of cooking forces us to slow down, it becomes a meditation of sorts — a win-win for your body and mind.

Say no

This is one of the most important tips. While FOMO is real, learning to say no is essential for living a slow life in a fast city. When you have the world at your fingertips in the city there will ALWAYS be something going on.

A gallery opening to check out, a new must-see show, or a restaurant that you’ve been dying to try. However not overloading yourself and saying no sometimes is the best way to slow down.

We tend to forget about the time we need to ourselves until we are overwhelmed and stressed, but by saying no to things sometimes, we can create more time to slow down and check in with ourselves so we never get to the point of overload.

Have another way that you like to embrace slow living in the city? Leave a comment below!
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