How to Embrace Slow and Conscious Living

By Rashi Agarwal Favier

It’s no surprise that the past year has been challenging for all of us. Even though life around us had come to a crawl or in some cases a complete halt, the level of stress and unforeseen circumstances can take a toll on our lifestyle. We tend to feel overworked and our leisure activities become strenuous obligations. In a pandemic, being conscious takes a backseat.

The slow-living movement reminds us to be mindful of what’s around us. It’s about cultivating simple pleasures and being grateful for the smaller things in life. Slow living began with an exploration of local, sustainable food and fashion and has expanded to encompass a more thoughtful, intentional way of life. Slow and conscious living also facilitates focus on a sustainable wardrobe and being mindful of what we consume in terms of sustainable fashion. Here are some tips to practical and simple ideas to a more conscious way of living and to slow down.

Michelle de Bruijn: “I always try to ask myself the questions: 'What can I mean for myself today, for others and the world?"

Watch Michelle de Bruijn in documentary 'Take It Slow'.

1. Meditate

is synonymous with slow living. It establishes a secure connection between our internal and external worlds and awakens the body and benefits all aspects of the conscious and subconscious layers of the mind. All you need is five minutes a day. Find a quiet space, get comfortable, and minimize distractions. Focus on a simple in and out breath. Choose something meaningful to hold in your mind. Apps like Headspace and Calm are a great way to get into guided meditation for beginners.

Elizabeth Plokker: "We need to spend more time in nature to be able to change our mindset."

Watch Elizabeth Plokker co-founder of the Conscious Club in the documentary Take It Slow.


Disconnect from the digital world with a digital detox, to recharge your mind. Doom-scrolling is an easy way to get lost in the apps and algorithms, which makes us compare ourselves to the highlight reels of others and can be detrimental to our mental health. Turning off our devices and directing our energies inward can have profound effects on our ability to focus, decompress, and connect with the people around us. Take up a hobby or activity that keeps you away from your devices like reading, cooking or sports

3.Get Outside

Studies have shown that as little as 15 minutes outdoors can have powerful positive effects on mood, cognition, creativity, and physical health. Being in nature is also an easy way to practice mindfulness. During the pandemic it has become even more essential that we take the time to go outside from some fresh air and reconnect with nature. Explore your city or nearby areas with your buddy or by yourself and discover green spaces close to home. The NS have great walking path routes in the Netherlands which will make you fall in love with your country all over again.

4. Practice ‘Gezelligheid’

Gezelligheid, a word that cannot be defined in English but can be described as it means cozy, familiar, a nice atmosphere or a fun time. An important part of Dutch culture, it can be very helpful when trying to practice slow living. Light candles, linger over dinner, curl up with a book in front of a crackling fire, savor a cup of coffee or tea, or plan a movie or game night. Ultimate ‘gezelligheid’!


Clearing clutter can free up valuable space from our homes and our minds. We love to start with our wardrobe, especially during a pandemic, as we can honestly evaluate the clothes we no longer wear/need. Start with taking out all your clothes and dividing them into KEEP, TOSS and DONATE piles. Join Sara and Marieke’s ‘No Buy Challenge’ to shop mindfully and reduce overconsumption.

If you’re easily overwhelmed, start with a space where you can clear a lot of clutter without getting too emotionally involved. You’ll feel a rush of accomplishment and have a lot more room.

Clearing clutter can free up valuable space from our homes and our minds.

6.Practice Daily Gratitude

Our brain loves routine! Everyday, write down 3 things that everyday you’re grateful for and focus on the positive things that happened that day. It could be something as small as ‘today my coffee was delicious!’ and it counts. If you’re thankful for someone in your life, call or text them to inform them of this fact. This will help you share your gratitude with a loved one which will increase its effect. Journaling is also a great way to note down your thoughts and positive reinforcements. The simple act of focusing on the positive attributes can shift thoughts away from the negative.

Mindfulness isn’t about being happy all the time. It’s about acceptance of the moment we’re in and feeling whatever we feel without trying to resist or control it. We hope these tips help in starting your own journey towards a shifting to a more mindful and conscious lifestyle. Watch our documentary with Take It Slow to hear more on this from the industry leaders.

Photo credits > Laura van der Spek