It's time to slow down. Slow down how we let stress control our lives, slow down our exercise regimes and slow down how we eat food. The time for living mindfully, or living a low-intensity lifestyle, has arrived.
It is no longer uncommon for people to live overly-busy, hectic lifestyles where we let stress complicate and make our lives harder than they need to be. We indulge in fast food, fast cars, fast holidays (if we take them) and fast conversations as our days whiz past us.
So how do we resolve this? It's simple, we slow down, and we find the time to reconnect with our lives once again. Allow more time for focus and clarity, eat whole foods for a real burst of energy (not manufactured energy rushes from processed foods and coffee), and we take the time to breathe before beginning a task.
It's not as impossible as it may sound. Over the last year, we have seen a significant rise in suggestions in the way we can slow down our lives. By taking inspiration from our Scandinavian friends, the wellness movement of 'Hygge' encouraged people to embrace a cosier lifestyle, eating more mindfully, finishing work on time, and leaving our work at the office over the weekend. We are also being encouraged to swap high-impact training such as HIIT sessions with low-intensity fitness classes such as yoga and pilates.
So, could a lower intensity lifestyle mean a healthier life?
If you are always in the fast lane of life, it will soon catch up with you. Stresses and strains of being under constant pressure can push our bodies to the limit which could result in heart problems, the appearance of premature ageing, and not to mention the emotional stress. Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders can all be a result of living an overly stressful lifestyle.
Slow-living does not mean to stop moving altogether, but simply be more mindful about how you move and treat your body. Mindful movement works wonders for clarity of mind, all the while, toning your body but without the super intense, high impact sweaty workouts. Don't give up on your cardio workouts altogether, though, we all need to let off a little steam now and again, but just don't take part in it every day. Find a gym or local classes which offer yoga or pilates. Split up your training programme where you can work on the movement and build strength in your body, as well as combining this with focusing on finding peace in your mind.
These kinds of exercises do not necessarily have to be practised in a gym or class environment, the mindful movement at home is also on the up. With the ‘Hygge’ trend, more people are finding comfort in their homes and finding ways to keep fit and enhance their mood from the comfort of their living rooms. It's now a lot easier with smartphone apps being readily available for yoga, meditation and pilates.
How many cookbooks do you have lining the shelves of your kitchen which you may have only used one or two recipes from? We have certainly seen an increase in celebrity endorsed cookbooks and those partnered with fitness experts, so why not spend some time picking your favourite new recipe and cook at home?
Fast-food is known to be unhealthy for us, but the term 'fast-food' also relates to eating lunch at our desks, getting a takeaway with friends, healthy or not, in the evening and relying on sugar-filled, energy boosting drinks throughout the day.
'Slow food' isn't going anywhere, the movement has been suggested as one of top health trends for the year, and it appears to be having a positive effect on how we eat. The rise of preparing food for the week on a Sunday evening is becoming more popular than ever with thousands of people uploading their delicious looking food with the tag #sundayfoodprep onto Instagram.
The 'slow food' movement encourages us to look at how we consume food, prepare it and where it's coming from. The more organic produce you use and the more friends you involve, the better!
However, most importantly, the process is about learning to enjoy the food. The taste of it, discovering new flavours and enjoying company with people as you share a meal. Slow down, listen to what your mind is telling you and relax.
It's not only food we are being encouraged to slow down, but experts are all keen for us to adopt a more peaceful lifestyle by reducing the amount of nights out which revolve around drinking alcohol, and it appears to be working. Instead of partying the night away, more people are partaking in a peaceful lifestyle, by either enjoying a social gathering with 'mocktails' and other unique soft drinks or simply staying in.
Along with choosing to change the way we move and think, there are many products on the market which aim to promote this kind of living.
These ‘slow movement’ products are created to help us sleep better, but they also assist the body to restore while we rest, clear the mind, and assist with meditation or yoga practice.
Drinking herbal teas before bed which include calming Ayurvedic herbs allow us to relax into a peaceful night's sleep. Caffeine free drinks such as Pukka Relax Tea features a calming and balancing blend to help you unwind and relieve tension, and their Pukka Night Time Tea has a combination of Ayurvedic herbs which prepares you for a deep, restful sleep with a refreshed awakening.
Aromatherapy balms give us the opportunity on the go to bring the mind out of its rush and back to the present with a few moments of calm. Products such as the Tazeka Aromatherapy Blends Non-Stop Thoughts and Scentered Stress Less Balm contain a 100% natural blend of balancing and uplifting ingredients which help with the everyday demands of modern life. They're easy enough to pop in your bag and apply to pulse points and breathe in, whereever you are throughout your day.
If you feel like your life is a never-ending list of things to do, appointments, workouts and meet ups, then simplify it. Slow it right down and join the growing 'slow movement' community.