Slow living: the TikTok trend promoting personal and environmental wellbeing

March 12, 2023

Impakter, March 12, 2023, Olivia Fowler

Never has the phrase “time is money” been more true than it is today. It’s a known fact that the world of work can be overwhelming and competitive, but when hustle culture encourages us to work all the hours given to us, is it any wonder that Gen Z – the youngest members of the workforce – are already claiming to be burnt out?

Users on TikTok say they have found the antidote. It’s called “slow living,” and it’s wildly popular with over 500 million views under the hashtag #slowliving. It promotes “living intentionally,” creating better work-life balances, and the idea that we should make more time in our lives for reflection.

On TikTok, this can include spending time on creative pursuits, going for long walks in nature or journaling. There are even several users, such as @wai.iti.ridge, who live completely self-sufficiently by growing their own food and generating their own energy.

According to Slow Living LDN, a group that helps people get into a more laid-back lifestyle, slow living also encourages downtime from technology. This makes its popularity on TikTok rather ironic because many of the platform’s users find a video longer than one minute “stressful.”

The videos on TikTok are also carefully created to look a certain way, saturated with greenery and natural earthy tones, with one user saying she uses the image-based social network, Pinterest, to curate the image she’s aspiring to.

The movement is homogenous too, with the majority of content creators being young, white, and middle-class women.

Is slow living sustainable living?

Perhaps TikTok has removed some of the integrity from the movement, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a useful counteragent to the real issues of burnout and stress facing the modern workforce. 

The movement has its roots in the 80s, when Carlo Petrini, aiming to protect regional food traditions in response to a McDonald’s opening in the centre of Rome, founded the movement he named Slow Food,” a play on “fast-food” which is typically served in restaurants like McDonald’s.

Slow living is an extension of the Slow Food movement. As Slow Living LDN says, it’s about promoting a “meaningful and conscious” lifestyle, cutting back on consumption, and not spending as much time on things that don’t make us happy.

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