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The philosophy of slowmaxxing

By Amanda Wilson, August 25 2022

In today’s fast paced world the cogs of capitalism keep the wheels of society constantly rotating — and at a speed never seen before. It seems like there is never time to slow down, in fact it can be even frowned upon as every single moment must be productive. It is as if to use your time idly is a form of anarchism — I am all here for the laze revolution. 

There is a new philosophy on the rise called “slowmaxxing.” I would describe the movement to be the antithesis of hustle culture. It values finding the utmost satisfaction in indulging in mundane tasks to relax, as opposed to finding pride in cramming as much productivity as you can into your day. Now that we have defined slowmaxxing, what are the origins and causes for this philosophy? 

The exact term and an outline of the practice was first coined in early 2022 by Twitter user @robyns_quill.

She had stated, “You need to be slowmaxxing. You need to be reading, long, fat books. You need to be making 48-hour chocolate chip cookies. You need to spend hours watching wildlife, you need to spend 15+ min making your coffee.” And she had said in great emphasis, “You need to breathe in and breathe out. You need to be slowwwwwwwwww.” 

Since the industrial revolution time has become a commodity to ensure the efficiency of human life. The utilisation of time has become the norm, and with the influence of ”hustle culture” over-working has become glorified and an object of success. But like all working machines, humans also grow tired and break. It is estimated that 62% of Canadian workers feel that their main source of stress stems from their work. It has also been seen that work-related stress has consistently been on the rise year after year.

One of the most jarring implications of the COVID pandemic during most of 2020 was that a lot of society was forced to be put on hold, while others such as healthcare workers were put into overdrive. For a time, some were startled with what to do with so much time, or they basked in the freedom of working at home without their helicopter boss. We had the luxury of leisure time. Now that much of the workforce is operating similarly to pre-pandemic structures, there are calls to reform the labour-life to allow for more personal time. One of the most popular recommended reforms is to continue the flexibility of working remotely. Some European nations have even begun introducing shorter work days, and have adapted a four-day work week — all while maintaining the same pay for employees.

Now, the broader concept of slowmaxxing is nothing new. Buddhist practice has always emphasised a slow perspective through mindfulness and acceptance. Author and Buddhist monk, Haemin Sunim has written self-help books centred around slow living, and has opened two healing centres where those who are struggling can receive practical help from teachers and psychologists. The 2004 book, In Praise of Slow by Carl Honoré explains how slow living is a philosophical shift, rather than a turtle-paced practice. There must be a change in attitude that embraces time as an opportunity to live fully, and not a competition to be completed.

Time is a luxury, but there are small practices and rituals that everyone can do to begin a slowmaxxed life. Finding pleasure in your daily lives involves taking pride in your deliciously slow-cooked dinner, being proud of completing your months-long personal project, and completing tasks one-by-one instead of multi-tasking. Most crucial, prioritize your time with activities and people that are important to you. Take the advice of a sloth and live slow, die whenever.

This article is part of our Opinions section.

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