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In recent months, there has been an increase in articles explaining slow living as a ‘trend’ and an ‘aesthetic’. Journalists decipher the increase of TikTok and other social media content around the theme of slow living as a reaction to corporate burnout and today’s hustle culture. Many articles such as this one, focus on slow living as a trend which centres around an aspiration to work less, and describe it as an aesthetic which is idealist and reserved for those with the resources to recreate it.
While there is a growing number of videos online celebrating slow moments – and ‘slow living’ search demand continues to rise on Pinterest – we believe those who refer to slow living as merely a short-term fad within online culture haven’t dived deep enough into the slow movement to truly understand, and reap, its full benefits.
Slow living stems from the slow movement, which began back in the 1980s, and is most definitely here to stay. Here’s why slow living is much more than a short-term trend.
1. Slow Living is a Deeply Personal Mindset, not a Singular Aesthetic
Slow living is a mindset whereby you curate a more meaningful and conscious lifestyle that’s in line with what you value most in life.Slow Living LDN. definition of slow living
Slow living is deeply personal. While many of us may use the same methods or moments of everyday deceleration to physically slow down, the reasons we’re seeking a slower, more meaningful way of life will differ from person to person. This means slow living can look different for all of us, and isn’t reserved for those living in the countryside, or those with an abundance of time or other resources. Put simply, slow living is about living by your values and prioritising what’s most important to you, and it’s not possible to boil that down to one singular aesthetic. It can be helpful to see online videos and depictions of slow living as inspiration, but it’s important to understand that they are someone else’s personal interpretation of ‘slow’.
On this topic, we’ve also dedicated an article to why there is no single slow living interiors aesthetic.
2. Slow Living is About Doing Everything at the Right Pace
A common misconception about slow living is that it means living at a snail’s pace and probably not working a conventional job. That’s not just wildly unrealistic and exclusive, but also not the end goal of slow living. Key thinker on the slow movement, Carl Honoré, explains, “living ‘Slow’ just means doing everything at the right speed – quickly, slowly, or at whatever pace delivers the best results.” Slow living means doing less, but doing those things better. It’s a mindset where you reach increased awareness of how you’re spending your time. There are moments when we need to go fast and moments where taking our time will see the best results. Slow living simply denies that faster is always better.
3. Our Need to Slow Down is Only Increasing
When defined, a trend can be two things. It can be a short-lived spike in interest for a certain style or preference, or it can be something altogether more gradual. The Cambridge Dictionary defines a trend as “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving”.
Since Carlo Petrini founded Slow Food some four decades ago in the 1980s, our pace of living has only increased. There are countless examples of this, from the rate at which we, as a planet, are consuming materials, to how smartphones and social media are leaving us feeling increasingly ‘always-on’ and wired. As eco-anxiety and our awareness of our impact on the environment rises, and our desire to become more mindful intensifies, it’s likely the number of people seeking a slower, more considered lifestyle will only continue to increase. In this sense, slow living isn’t a short-term fad, but a gradual shift in our way of living or a constant upward ‘trend’ in our awareness that, at times, too much speed can be damaging for our well-being and that of the planet.
For a deeper understanding of the slow movement, read our guides: