What Is Downshifting and Why More and More People Chose It.

Becky Storey.


April 4th, 2020


Modern life is getting busier and louder by the day. Pressure mounts and stress becomes the norm, and we just accept it. Some refuse to embrace the chaotic nature, though. Downshifters, those who practice downshifting, are saying no to the typical overwhelming nature of our day to day lives.
Downshifting is a method by which people achieve a simple, often stress-free lifestyle. It prioritizes quality of life over quantity. As life gets more and more full-on, more people than ever are taking on this less than a typical lifestyle.
Most careers are demanding on our time. We wait all year for our scheduled holidays just to waste our time unraveling our stress, instead of spending it with the people we love, doing what we love.
If this isn’t the kind of life you want to lead, and would rather take a lower salary than waste any more time, there is an option – Downshifting.

What Is Downshifting?

Downshifting is a way of life. It is, ultimately, the process of downgrading your life in order to improve its quality. It is mostly related to career; leaving a financially beneficial job for a lower-paid and less stressful one in order to have a more fulfilling life. Downshifting is not limited to just career changes though. It can be applied to any kind of return to the simplistic living.
Downshifting aims to improve your mental wellbeing by rejecting the idea that stress is just a part of life. It is more interested in happiness than success.
There are a few different versions of downshifting, and a single person could take on all of them, or just one. Whatever helps them reach a higher quality of life.
You could achieve simplicity by reducing your consumption. Spend less money on unnecessary things and escape from materialism. Downshifting could be based around slowing down your days. Taking on fewer work hours and spending more of your time with family and friends. It’s all about enjoying life and taking in the moments.
When you decide to downshift, you might move outside of societal norms. It’s expected that an adult takes on a stable, full-time job. It doesn’t matter that you’re miserable, it’s just what we have to do. Downshifting goes against this indoctrinated message.
Downshifters often choose the kind of jobs you expect students to have because these give them more time to enjoy life. Just enough money to survive, and plenty of time to nurture their souls.
Downshifting and going “green” go hand in hand. Downshifting aims to reduce the world’s impact on you, while the eco-friendly lifestyle aims to reduce your impact on the world. Downshifters buy less and waste less.

Why Is Downshifting Lifestyle Becoming More and More Popular?

At its core, downshifting encourages us to do things for ourselves, not for society. It’s much healthier to exist in a way that suits us, not what society wants from us. As modern life becomes more intense, more of us are seeking ways to step away.
The rat race is stressful and unhealthy. Cities are toxic environments for our health, and stress is just as harmful. As a society, we’re becoming more aware of the downfalls of a luxurious lifestyle and we aren’t standing for it anymore. People are turning to downshifting to help them to escape.
Downshifting is an escape from the constant competition of normal modern life. We are constantly wanting to be the best of the bunch, and social media only intensifies it.
We have to show off our holidays, our parties and even our day to day lives in the hopes of being impressive. Some people are starting to see that competing is truly dangerous for our mental health and are using downshifting as a way to leave it behind for good.
Being constantly stimulated is damaging too. A whole generation of us have forgotten how to be at peace, without distractions, especially technology. A big part of downshifting is stepping away from distractions and stimuli and enjoying yourself naturally. When you’re away from the mundane routine of checking your social media sites, you’ll realize how much more time you have to improve the quality of your life.
People with a deep concern for the environment take on the downshifting lifestyle. It offers an escape from eco-damaging activities such as flying, long car journeys, and needless shopping. Reducing your impact on the Earth is a strong draw for some to the non-traditional downshifting lifestyle.

How to Start Downshifting?

The downshifting lifestyle can be quite a change for some. To go from your typical day-to-day life to a downshifted one can be a big transition.

Start with what truly matters for you

Experts recommend that you start by thinking about what you value most and what makes your soul happiest. These are the things you want to make more time for, and what you aren’t willing to get rid of. If you’re lucky, one of these things might make for a great new career.

Assess your debt with honesty

It would be a terrible idea to jump ship on your full-time job if it’s only going to leave you with incredible debts. Start by reducing as many regular payments you don’t need and put that extra money towards paying off your debts. The ultimate downshifting goal is to live totally debt free and always within your means.

Start small

Start with small changes such as spending less money and shopping less. You could also work on doing things yourself at home, such as doing DIY instead of buying new items and learning to cook your favorite meals yourself. Weigh up what in your life is a want and what is a need.


An easy way to dip your toes into the world of downshifting is to de-clutter. You deep clean your home or sort your “stuff” and donate your unnecessary items to charities. You can also de-clutter your phone and tech. Get rid of apps you don’t use or use too much and are unhealthy.

Reduce your reliance on technology

You could print photos and keep them safe in an album rather than relying on your technology for memories. This will reduce your attraction to competition through social media.
There’s no need to go without tech completely, downshifting doesn’t require you to go off-grid. It’s all about reducing your attachment to “stuff” and money, in exchange for more time to enjoy yourself.

Final Words

In a world as full-on as ours is these days, downshifting is becoming more popular. High-powered businesspeople are giving up their well-paid jobs for roles as baristas, or farmers, or starting their own passion project businesses. Police officers are choosing to be librarians. Lawyers are becoming gardeners.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your cluttered and stressful life, perhaps downshifting is the escape you’re looking for.

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org


Becky Storey



About the Author: Becky Storey

Becky Storey is a professional writer who has been passionate about the way we think and the human mind since she developed chronic anxiety many years ago. Now she loves to write and educate people on mental health and wellbeing. When Becky is not writing, you’ll find her outside with her Labrador, sitting behind a jigsaw puzzle, or baking something with too much sugar.
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