SLOW-living vs Idleness
The slow-living image is someone sitting on a park bench with a book for hours. The world rushes by them, but they sit there unbothered. But slow-living isn't consistent leisure or an all-day luxury session. It's a way of life that's inclusive of all lifestyles and personality types.
Now, don't get me wrong the person on the park bench can be living slowly and giving themselves what they need - quiet, reading, outdoors. But they can also be procrastinating, avoiding, or cramming. The truth is slow-living has nothing to do with the general activity. Someone with a book in hand at home isn't living more slowly than the person biking (with friends) for miles on a Saturday afternoon.
Slow living is not the same thing as inactivity, comfort-zone living, "postive stress" avoidance, or worse, laziness.
Yes, it can mean taking a moment of stillness when you need to, but that moment of stillness is a break - it's not a consistent lifestyle. Because let's face it, according to The World Health Organization, a physically inactive lifestyle can:
"increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety. According to WHO, 60 to 85% of people in the world—from both developed and developing countries—lead sedentary lifestyles, making it one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time."
And on the flip side, according to Big Think, challenging yourself mentally - meaning practicing focus-activities, activating abstract reasoning, and cognitive abilities are also known to reduce anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Simply meaning, that by pushing yourself mentally or focusing on a task (cleaning, organizing, a work project, etc.) you can remain healthier mentally.
And so, if slow-living simply meant sitting on the couch avoiding challenges then it would be a dangerous lifestyle choice.
Slow-living is not the same as being idle.
Slow-living merely means being intentional about the tasks in front of you. It's about making time to be present, intentional, and planning moments of "downtime." It's the stand against moving too fast, doing countless meaningless things, or chaotically overlapping meaningful things. It's an approach to make room for the essential things and creating thinking time to determine what those significant nouns (people, places, things) are. And while doing the nouns that make us - us, we are fully present and relishing them.
And this looks different for everyone. For me, that means time to work with my hands (sew, cook, draw, create, fix,etc.), my head (taking academic courses (ongoing learning), museums, reading, walking, journaling, etc.), and my heart (spending real time with loved ones, community involvement, praying, etc.). While some slow-living folks enjoy afternoons in the gym, gardening, afternoons of playdates, going to a party, spending hours (with friends) at a restaurant dining on seven courses, or taking hours to code on the computer. It's all about your personality type, the things that bring you joy, and your life's circumstances.
A real-time slow-living example for me is that I enjoy making videos. But right now, it's not essential to my being. And so whereas I really enjoy finding multiple avenues of communication, in this season, I have to say "no." That "no" opens space (or creates a "yes") for homeschooling and time away from devices. That said, in different seasons, videos are absolutely an enjoyable downtime.
Nonetheless, don't y'all worry, I found a video for those looking to start a slow-living lifestyle.