While September sees many others lamenting the end of summer, the transition signals the start of my favorite time of year. The colder weather and darker days invite us indoors, beckoning a spiritual call inwards. We swap happy hours for nightly BookTok binges and slowly stir soups on the stovetop as if there’s little else on our to-do lists. Because to live a quiet life means to value these small, simple joys amidst the hustle and hurried pace of our days.
I’m at my best when my calendar is wide open and I have time to pour into my hobbies, cooking meals at home, and getting plenty of sleep. Unfortunately, with the buzz and activity of the summertime, up until recently, this felt impossible. And frankly, I’ve been feeling drained. Solution? Re-orienting myself to living a “quiet life.”
Ahead, we’re diving into the lifestyle trend that’s helping people on TikTok and beyond prioritize their peace. And with the holidays coming up, there’s never been a more important time to take things a little. slower.
What is a quiet life?
With over 180 million views on TikTok, the term has inspired videos of creators in pastoral settings, candlelit evenings at home, and time spent solo. Like much of what takes off on the platform, it’s aspirational. But there’s a quality of simplicity that feels accessible as well.
It’s ironic that much of what it means to live a quiet life depends on our ability to disconnect. Though the lifestyle has gained traction on social media, it also promotes a step away from our devices. It’s further proof that not everything needs to be documented, and that there’s truth to what’s now a cliché: a peaceful life is more meaningful than your follower count.
If you’ve come across the #quietlife trend, you’re likely familiar with soft and slow living as well. The concepts are largely the same: made popular by the Nigerian creator community, the soft life prioritizes self-care and pleasure, seeking to minimize stress wherever possible. It’s an effort to separate ourselves from who we are at work—the overbooked, over-scheduled individuals whose 9-5’s are owned by someone else.
Why is #quietlife trending?
With quiet quitting and The Great Resignation entering the zeitgeist, the pursuit of a quiet life is a natural extension of larger cultural shifts. And with many of us turning to sourdough and knitting during the pandemic, there’s an effort to maintain these slow, humble rhythms and rituals in our lives today.
8 Ways to Live a Quiet Life Today
Thankfully, what all of this should express is that to live a quiet life doesn’t require a complete overhaul. (Nor does it mean you have to quit the city and renovate a country farmhouse—though that would be ideal.) Ahead, discover your guide to all things quiet living, complete with ideas and inspiration to help you slow down a little as well.
1. Carve Out Space for Rest
As a response to hustle culture, it should come as no surprise that a key tenet of quiet living is making time for rest. And trust me: I know how hard this can be. But during the busiest seasons of my life, I’ve learned that my work and personal self thrive when I create intentional space for rest.
It’s more than simply stepping away from your computer for five minutes. In our always-on world, truly restorative rest requires a shift in mindset. Know this: there will always be something more to do—and rest isn’t conditional on a completely crossed-off to-do list. Instead, be proactive about it. Factor in morning walks without your phone and dedicate a little of your lunch break to reading. By embracing rest at every turn in our day, and consistently weaving into our routines, we can proactively get on top of burnout before it strikes.
Some ways of changing your relationship with rest include:
- Embrace an open calendar.
- Make time for small, but frequent breaks.
- Be mindful and realistic with your to-do list.
- Know that you can’t pour from an empty cup. What makes you happy and fulfilled is just as important as your efforts to help others.
2. Be Intentional With Your Routines
The entire Camille Styles team knows that our daily routines are what keep us grounded, centered, and able to show up as our best selves. Establishing routines take the guesswork out of our days—we know what comes next and can align our energy with the activities that feel most natural and intuitive.
To be clear, living a quiet life doesn’t mean you never use social media or that your working hours are shorter than anyone else’s. Rather, you incorporate routines into your day that keep stress at a minimum and help you manage obligations with grace.
For inspiration, tap into these resources on designing your own supportive routines:
3. Embrace the Joy of Small Rituals
Like routines, our rituals are activities practiced on a repeated basis. The difference, however, is a quality of attention we bring to these small moments of our day. They can last a few minutes or even several seconds, but they impart joy, wisdom, and a sense of calm that we come to anticipate.
Rituals help us tie emotions to our actions, cementing us deeper in the present moment as it unfolds.
For me, that looks like taking note of the changing leaves on my morning walk. It’s the feeling of fulness that comes with jotting down my gratitudes. I even experience it as I light the candles before my partner and I sit down to dinner. Rituals help us tie emotions to our actions, cementing us deeper in the present moment as it unfolds.
To begin practicing your own rituals, read this thoughtful guide on how to weave them into your daily life. Like many elements of living a quiet life, it’s so simple, but so transformative.
4. Create and Protect Your Boundaries
As posts depicting a quiet life on social media will show you, much of what it means to adopt this lifestyle is about pouring into yourself—addressing your needs, prioritizing your wants, and going after your passions. Of course, we can only do this when we’ve established strong boundaries. This ranges from the people in your life, to your work, to the media and content you consume. The more energy you expend outwards, the less bandwidth you have to pour into yourself.
While setting boundaries is an important skill to practice all throughout the year, the holidays in particular can provoke a lot overstepping. Be proactive now and begin communicating with your friends, family, and colleagues more clearly about what you need to feel and and show up as your best self. This can look like:
- Staying off Slack after 6 p.m. and setting an out of office message for after-work hours.
- Letting your family know in advance that your budget only allows you to visit for either Thanksgiving or Christmas.
- Expressing to your friends that you need a weekend to recharge, but that you can’t wait to spend time together next week.
If you find boundaries difficult, embrace this truth: they teach others how to treat us. Boundaries are guidelines that help those around us understand what we need.
5. Clean the Clutter
Quiet living isn’t an outright rejection of capitalism, but it does imply a more mindful approach. Here, the adage clear space, clear mind absolutely rings true. It can be hard (re: impossible) to focus on the tasks of your day when you’re surrounded by visual clutter. Give yourself a weekend to reset. Marie Kondo your space if you have to, clearing out the clothes, décor, books, and furniture that don’t bring you joy. After that comes the most important part: being more intentional about the things you introduce into your home. By being more discerning about the objects, organizational tools, and the like that I purchase, I’ve found that I’ve not only saved money, but I can appreciate what’s in front of me right here, right now.
But clutter isn’t solely physical. Consider mental clutter in your clean-up as well. What are the worries, fears, and anxieties that swirl around in your brain? Oftentimes, these thoughts are repeated and circulate again and again without solution. This is where journaling can be helpful. Take the time to free-write about what’s on your mind. Getting everything out on the page can be an effective way to work through your challenges and uncover routes forward you might have not otherwise seen.
6. Romanticize Your Life
Alongside quiet living, I’ve long loved the lasting trend of romanticizing your life. It helps infuse even the most mundane elements of our days with a little magic. Romanticizing the small, quiet moments help us see the beauty in life and take note of all there is to celebrate. Get inspired with these 50 ideas to help you set a strong foundation for this practice. I can’t wait for you to begin.
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