With all that happened in 2020, some people have managed to take on new hobbies, learn new things and thrive thanks to newfound quarantine-based free time.

As a result, people like myself have felt pressure to follow suit and do more, more, more. And some have concluded that it’s a sort of personal failing to not use their time to the fullest.

Thankfully, the principles of the slow movement have taught me that how I spend my free time is more important than how much I accomplish during that time. This advocating for quality over quantity is known as the slow movement.

The slow movement started as the slow food movement in the late 1980s as a means to counter the rise of fast food. Participants deliberately sought out the benefits of supporting local cuisine, enjoying the pleasure of eating and embracing a slower pace of life.

Choosing to slow down in today’s world especially, seems counter cultural. It’s so far from the norm, that it’s easy to believe it’s just not possible.

I’ve learned some quick tips through reading about the slow movement and how incorporating other lifestyles, such as hygge, can help. It can make us happier and get more done at the same time.

First and foremost, it’s easier to slow down and invest in your time, when you’re comfortable. Making your space cozy and calm can make you happier and bring you one step closer to being able to slow down.

This is where hygge, the Danish principle that coziness can engender contentment, comes into play.

Using the principles of hygge and applying them to the American way of life, “American Cozy” by Stephanie Pedersen, demonstrates how to easily transform your home to increase your quality of life. Letting go of physical clutter can help you get rid of mental and emotional clutter.

Incidentally, this increase can also lead to being more productive without the usual stress and anxiety.

Slowing down and being more intentional with your time also helps people let go of stress and tension while boosting clarity and contentment.

Slow living is not about physically moving slowly, rather it’s about finding the right pace instead of always rushing. “Slow: Simple Living For a Frantic World,” by Brooke McAlary, breaks down what it means to live slowly and with less.

Slowing down to become less busy and less distracted, McAlary explains, helps people gain time by focusing on doing the things that are most important to them. The book is a fantastic guide to how to define what is most important to you, identify the nonessentials that can be easily pruned from a too busy life, find balance, become more mindful of the choices you make and make your time more meaningful by focusing on the present.

If you want to get a boost on your journey to cozy, slow living, you might try the Winter Library Challenge. Running until Jan. 31 and open to all ages, you can enter for a chance to win gift cards to local businesses and restaurants.

Enjoy a warm drink and a book, build a snow person and play a board game are just a few of the challenges participants can complete while embracing the spirit of coziness, well-being, and quality time.

Emma Cobb is the head of reference services at the Verona Public Library.

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