Slow living has gained a lot of traction in recent years as wellbeing and sustainability continue to be key topics on people’s minds.
While there’s no denying the benefits that social media can have in increasing awareness around the importance of wellbeing, for instance, the rise of influencer culture and TikTok fame can create false perceptions about certain aspects of wellness. Has slow living been negatively impacted as a result?
First of all, what is slow living?
If you’ve seen the phrase slow living floating around, but are unsure of its meaning, this one’s for you.
You may see slightly differing views on the core concepts of slow living depending on where you look, but this is how I have come to summarise it from my own experience.
Slow living is a way of life focused on slowing down, being present, and stepping away from the idea that being ‘busy’ and things being ‘fast’ is better. You make conscious decisions on how you spend your time and live with more intention, instead of passing your time on screens and participating in habits that have a negative impact on the environment and your wellbeing such as supporting fast fashion. A slow lifestyle favours quality over quantity and is more mindful of how you live your life.10 Wellbeing and Sustainable Living Buzzwords That Matter, Hearth by Megan Elizabeth
With hustle culture often celebrated until the point of burnout and short-form content limiting attention spans, slow living is something we could all use more of in our lives.
Social media as an idea generator and advocate for slow living
Despite one of the aspects of slow living being reducing screen time and being more present, social media can be a really great place for getting ideas if you are at the start of your slow living journey.
From business directories to blogs and TikTokers, there are plenty of resources out there to get inspiration and there are a lot of creators out there who are advocates for slow living. What’s more, social media can be a great place to open up discussions about slow living.
The negative side of social media
Unfortunately, with the positives of social media also come the negatives. As mentioned at the start, influencer platforms, particularly those with a heavy visual element such as Instagram and TikTok can distort perceptions of slow living and make it seem inaccessible to most.
You see these highly professional and likely filtered photos and videos in luxurious homes or outdoor locations (see feature image as an example). People are using really expensive products and seem to spend their entire day on their skincare routine, journaling, and meditating.
While I love skincare, journaling and meditating, let’s be real, not many of us can dedicate an entire day to those things.
Neither can we afford the fanciest coffee makers or smoothie blenders. If you don’t have a 20 step skincare routine or read 300 books in a year, that’s absolutely fine. If you don’t have an Instagram boyfriend to take photos with a posh camera, that’s fine too. Neither do you have to film your slow living routine to prove it exists.
Focus on your feelings
Slow living is focused on how you feel and what makes you feel more able to slow down and be more present in your life. While social media can be a good place to help with ideas and hold conversations, remember that your version of slow living does not have to be what you see on TikTok or any other platform. It’s about the feeling, not the material items.