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Slow living guide for beginners - 7 simple ways to start today

The Guide to Slow Living: How to Simplify Your Life and Find Joy in Every Moment

The Guide to Slow Living: How to Simplify Your Life and Find Joy in Every Moment

To my delight, in recent years, the concept of slow living has gained popularity, and more and more people seek balance and calmness in their lives. Embracing slow living means making a conscious effort to simplify and focus on what truly matters in life, making each day count.

I have been practising slow living for close to eight years now. In my mid-20s, I used to work very long hours, always chasing money and trends, quite literally being too busy to notice that this lifestyle was making me miserable, unhappy, and sick. On my days off, I would visit busy shopping centres, spending money I didn't have, completely ignoring my most basic needs for rest and mental peace.

Soothing my nervous system, forest walks, yoga, connecting with the seasons, and mindfulness were far from my priorities, and I ended up paying for it with my physical health and mental burnout.

Anyway, long story short—at the age of 28, I began a yoga practice that led me to mindfulness, living closer to nature, and eventually learning about the concept of slow living. One of the things not many mention is how liberating slow living is. Once I stopped chasing trends and comparing my life with others, I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders, and I could breathe again and be myself exactly the way I wanted.

Looking back at those years of mindful, joyful living, I've put together a list of simple ways to incorporate slow living into your daily routine, helping you find peace and joy in the present moment, just as I did all those years ago. This guide is perfect for beginners, but I also hope that advanced practitioners of slow and mindful living will find some inspiration here.

1. Simplify Your Surroundings

Declutter Your Home

One of the first steps towards slow living is simplifying your surroundings. I'm no minimalist, but clutter not only takes up physical space but also mental energy. Here’s how you can start—begin with one room or even one drawer. Sort through your belongings and decide what to keep, donate, or throw away. The goal is to create a space that feels calm and organised.

Try "The KonMari Method" created by Marie Kondo. You can easily buy her book second-hand for pennies online. Marie suggests keeping only items that "spark joy," and I can't agree more. Our home is our safe space, filled with things that matter to us and bring us joy, so keep items that have meaning, history, or simply make you smile, and get rid of anything that just takes up space.

If you read my monthly "Slow Living To-Do lists," you know I recommend seasonal decluttering—making it a habit to declutter at the start of each season and sometimes even in the middle. Humans have a natural tendency to gather and accumulate items in our homes, and regularly checking in with yourself and assessing your belongings is a great, low-effort way of keeping your space tidy.

Consider setting aside specific days or weekends dedicated to cleaning and organising your home. This can be a very therapeutic process that helps you appreciate your house and find love for it again.

Organise Regularly

Make it a habit to regularly assess and organise your space. Doing it more often means preventing clutter from building up again and maintaining a peaceful environment. I know life is busy enough, and we are talking here about slowing down, but daily tidying up really helps. I know this might sound counterintuitive, but in my very personal opinion, it's better to spend a few minutes each day tidying up than live in clutter for a while and then spend hours trying to bring order to your home again. Daily chores like putting clothes back on hangers, emptying the dishwasher, and taking bins out really make a difference, and your future self will thank you for folding one load of laundry today instead of having a pile from the whole week.

Set aside time each week for a weekly deep cleaning. On those days, I wipe dust, vacuum stairs, scrub the microwave, or clean windows. This is when the daily cleaning really comes in handy as you can focus on the bigger tasks that really need attention (like my oven :D) rather than sorting out smaller tasks that have accumulated.

Overall, consider creating a simple cleaning schedule that breaks down tasks into manageable daily, weekly, and monthly chores. This can make the process feel less overwhelming and more achievable.

2. Prioritise Quality Over Quantity

Buy Less, Choose Better

In a world that often values more, slow living teaches us to value better. This applies to all sorts of situations in life, from the way we spend money to how we choose to spend our time. When making purchases, choose high-quality items that are made in a sustainable way from high-quality ingredients. This goes for clothing, household goods, and even food. Quality over quantity leads to less waste, and you make each penny worth.

Choose timeless, classic styles and durable materials that will stand the test of time and won't go out of fashion in the next season. This is one of the reasons why I choose neutral, natural decor—I don't think that wood or colours like white or beige will go out of fashion anytime soon. You can also easily "spice up" this kind of environment with, e.g., seasonal wreaths or colourful vases that are much cheaper and easier to replace than bigger furniture.

Supporting small businesses is a simple way to live more mindfully. Look for brands that prioritise sustainability and ethical practices like our candle shop. All our main candle ingredients are British-made, meaning that by buying from us, you support all the other businesses behind us and the overall British economy. As a small business, we are able to keep a close eye on each detail, producing high-quality candles that are loved all around the world.

Shop our hand-poured candles, inspired by the British way of cosy, made exclusively in our family-run studio in Somerset.

The Guide to Slow Living: How to Simplify Your Life and Find Joy in Every Moment

Spend Your Time Wisely

Instead of cramming your schedule with tons of activities just because it's what seems to be popular at the moment, choose a few meaningful experiences that will truly bring joy to your day. Whether it’s a meal with loved ones or a walk in nature, savour these moments fully.

Choose activities that promote mindfulness, such as yoga, meditation, or nature walks. These three activities were game changers on my path to slow living, and I wouldn't be the person I am today without them. They taught me to stay present and appreciate even the most ordinary moments.

Establish routines or small traditions that you can look forward to, such as a weekly family dinner or a monthly outing with friends. These rituals add something to plan and wait for in your everyday life, adding joy and a sparkle of anticipation to ordinary days. In our house, one of many small rituals is a Sunday roast dinner that everyone (including both children who are picky eaters) loves!

3. Embrace Mindfulness

Mindful Eating

In the world of fast foods and rushed meals, paying attention to your food can make a significant difference. Eating mindfully is good for your digestion and makes meals more enjoyable. Create time in your schedule to cook meals from scratch. If you are short on time, try preparing meals in advance. In our home, we often cook for three days. Enjoy the process of preparing food for yourself and your loved ones and appreciate the flavours of fresh, homemade dishes. Even more importantly, take time to appreciate your food—the easy access we have these days to even the most exotic fruits, vegetables, and spices. Before eating, take a moment to express gratitude for the food on your plate. This simple practice can deepen your appreciation for each meal.


Multitasking is great and definitely comes in handy, but it's important to resist the urge to multitask non-stop. Focus on one task at a time, whether it’s working, reading, or even washing dishes. You’ll find that you complete tasks more efficiently and with greater satisfaction. Create a daily to-do list and prioritise your tasks. For me, one of the things that helped me very much both in personal life and my business is learning to complete one task before moving on to the next.

Digital Detox

Set boundaries for your digital usage. Limit screen time and create tech-free zones or times in your day. Consider setting specific times during the day to check emails and social media, rather than constantly checking throughout the day. This can help you stay focused and reduce digital distractions.

The non-negotiable in our home is to eat without distractions such as television or smartphones. I recommend focusing solely on the act of eating, savouring each bite, and sharing the meal with your family, enhancing your overall dining experience.

4. Slow Down Your Pace

Take Breaks

Our Western culture often glorifies busyness, but slow living encourages you to slow down and find joy in simplicity. Naturally, we all have work to do and can't completely abandon it, but try incorporating short breaks throughout your day. Step outside, stretch, or simply breathe. These breaks can refresh your mind and improve productivity. If you can, spend time outdoors during your breaks, even if it's just going out to your garden. Nature has a calming effect and can help you recharge.

I also find the Pomodoro Technique to break my workday into focused intervals with regular breaks very useful. There are lots of ambience videos on YouTube that have Pomodoro timers. You can choose all sorts of scenes—from Hogwarts to forests, cosy coffee shops, or studying in the library.

Set Boundaries

Learn to say no to commitments that don’t align with your values or goals. This creates space for activities that truly matter to you. Regularly assess your commitments and let go of those that no longer serve you. This frees up time and energy for what truly matters. It's very important to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Create designated work hours and stick to them. Try to dedicate time each day to unplug from digital devices and engage in offline activities. This can improve your overall well-being and creativity.

Enjoy Hobbies and Fun Activities

In the busyness of everyday life, make time for hobbies and activities that you enjoy, whether it’s walking, yoga, reading, gardening, or painting. In my opinion, leisure activities are essential for relaxation and happiness. Schedule regular time for your hobbies. Treat this time as sacred and non-negotiable.

5. Embrace Slow Travel

Travel Mindfully

Have you ever heard the expression "slow travel"? It is about immersing yourself in the local culture and truly experiencing a place, rather than rushing through a checklist of tourist spots. Travelling mindfully means planning your trips with a focus on quality experiences rather than quantity.

Researching the history and culture of your destination before you go is really a must. One of my favourite tips for slow travel is to stay in locally-owned accommodations, such as guesthouses or bed and breakfasts. This supports the local economy and gives you a more authentic experience. Try to spend more time in one location to really get to know it (at least as much as possible during your holidays) and befriend some locals for a deeper understanding of the place and the local community.

Visit Local Markets

One of my favourite things to do when abroad or even here, within the UK, is exploring local markets to taste fresh produce and homemade goods. This is also a lovely way to meet and interact with the local community.

6. Practise Self-Care

Self-care is healthcare—it is an essential part not only of slow living but of any kind of living really. Taking the time to nurture your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is incredibly important, and I'm glad that more and more people are waking up to it.

Physical Self-Care

Take care of your body through regular exercise, balanced eating, and plenty of rest. My top tip for physical self-care is to find an exercise routine that you actually enjoy—whether it’s yoga, walking, pilates, or dancing. Regular physical activity can improve your overall health and mood, but only if you truly enjoy what you are doing.

Don't punish your body with strict training and diet regimes, because it will only make things worse. Plan your exercise and meals and focus on long-term goals, rather than opting for quick get-fit schemes.

A huge part of our well-being is rest—ensure you get enough sleep each night. Create a relaxing bedtime routine that will help you maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Incorporate activities like reading or gentle yoga into your evening routine to reduce stress, calm your nervous system, and help you fall asleep easier.

Mental and Emotional Self-Care

In addition to physical care, your mind needs soothing too. We live in a world that sends thousands of stimuli every waking moment, and our minds are constantly working, processing all this data, even without us realising it. Try simple activities that promote mental and emotional well-being.

I know I mentioned yoga in the physical part of this point, but true yoga is practised off the mat. Yoga quite literally means "to unite" body and mind, and the mental part of practising yoga is as important as the physical. Find 10-15 minutes daily to practise breathing or meditation. You can find lots of free resources on YouTube that include guided meditation and breathwork for beginners.

Another idea to support your mental well-being is journalling. Write down your thoughts and feelings regularly. Journaling can be a great way to reflect on your everyday experiences and also keep track of your thoughts and feelings.

Lastly, don’t be ashamed to seek support. Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, and if needed—a professional therapist. Talking about your feelings and experiences can provide relief, and other people can often offer us a different perspective.

7. Connect with Nature

Spend Time Outdoors

My absolute favourite self-care way is connecting with nature and its rhythms. It is a fundamental aspect of slow living. Nature has a calming effect on our body and mind and will help you feel more grounded and present, so make it a priority to spend time in nature regularly. Try adding a walk in nature into your daily routine. Even a short walk in a park will have a positive impact on your mood and well-being.

If you live in the city or town, away from wilder regions, if possible, try planning regular weekend trips to natural destinations, such as forests, mountains, or beaches. These short escapes from civilisation can provide a much-needed break from the chaos of city life.

Practise Eco-Friendly Habits

Slow, mindful living encourages love and care for our planet, so adopting habits that are environmentally friendly and promote sustainability is the way to go.

Follow the three R’s to minimise waste: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reduce your consumption, reuse items whenever possible, and recycle materials properly.
Incorporate sustainable practices into your daily life whenever possible, such as using reusable bags and containers, conserving water and energy, and supporting eco-friendly products.

YR studio candles are made from natural wax and fragrance oils produced here in the UK. Our products are sustainable, not tested on animals, and packed in recyclable and biodegradable packing. You can be sure that enjoying a quiet moment with one of our hand-poured candles doesn't cost the earth, and you can also keep and reuse the jar (because who's not guilty of hoarding spare jars? I certainly am).

Final thoughts

Embracing slow living doesn’t mean you have to completely change your lifestyle overnight. My slow living journey began eight years ago, and I still learn new things and get better at certain aspects of mindful living. My best advice is to start with small, intentional changes and gradually build habits that promote a simple and happy life. By simplifying your surroundings, prioritising quality, practising mindfulness, slowing down your pace, practising self-care, and connecting with nature, you can easily lead a more balanced life that doesn't require you to rush or compete with anything and anyone. Remember, slow living is about enjoying the journey and finding joy in the ordinary moments in life. Take the time to appreciate the simple pleasures, prioritise what truly matters, and cultivate a sense of balance and contentment in your daily life.

The Guide to Slow Living: How to Simplify Your Life and Find Joy in Every Moment


  • Thank you so much.I love reading g your blogs.Its always calming and refreshing.

  • Slow living has changed everything in my life Adrianna. i loved reading your thoughts on creating a slow living lifestyle.


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