Indian Youngsters Are Giving Up The Hustle Culture And Adopting This Instead

ED Times
4 min readMay 22, 2024


Katyayani Joshi -

The idea of abandoning the ‘9 to 5 life’ for leisurely activities like gardening, pottery, and running a quaint cafe, or a bookstore is becoming increasingly appealing. Rather than overhauling your entire life for peace of mind, you might consider adopting the concept of ‘slow living’ — a lifestyle choice embraced by celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Deepika Padukone.

At its core, slow living involves pausing the relentless pace of modern life to recalibrate and rejuvenate.

The Appeal of Slow Living

Slow living encourages people to engage in activities like gardening, crocheting, and other mindful hobbies, which offer mental health benefits by reducing stress. This concept, while seemingly modern, is reminiscent of the simpler lifestyles of previous generations.

Many grandparents, for instance, have naturally practised slow living without realising it. Today, however, it’s gaining traction among younger people who are increasingly burnt out by the demands of fast-paced living.

Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, who enjoy sculpting, and Bollywood stars like Deepika Padukone and Kajol, who indulge in knitting and crocheting, are bringing attention to this trend.

Slow living isn’t about leisure; it’s about intentionality. It involves making conscious choices to prioritise well-being over productivity. This shift is particularly significant as society often expects younger people to constantly hustle. The trend among celebrities has shown that it’s okay to slow down and enjoy life more mindfully, inspiring many to adopt a more balanced approach to living.

How Do Slow Hobbies Help?

Slow hobbies like crocheting, painting, or drawing mandalas are not just pastimes; they have tangible cognitive and emotional benefits.

According to Shirin Chimthanawala, an art therapist based in Mumbai, “Mindfully working with your hands does have cognitive and emotional benefits. It is stimulating to the brain”. Activities that involve repetition and pattern-building, such as crocheting, can have a calming effect, reducing anxiety and promoting mental well-being.

For many, these hobbies offer a much-needed respite from the stresses of daily life. Aarti, a 26-year-old consultant from Bangalore, shared her experience: “My friend gifted me a guided crochet set. Initially, I wasn’t interested in doing it at all. It sounded boring to me. But when I started doing it, I really enjoyed it. I do it whenever I get free time and it really helps me with anxiety“.

This sentiment is echoed by others who find that engaging in slow hobbies helps them feel more centred and relaxed, providing a healthy counterbalance to their busy work lives.

Scientific Evidence and Expert Opinions

There is scientific evidence supporting the mental health benefits of engaging in relaxing hobbies. A significant study published in 2016 found a correlation between visual art-making and lower cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress.

Other studies have linked leisure activities of one’s choice with lower heart rates, reduced stress, and improved sleep patterns. Shirin Chimthanawala explains, “When one is feeling overstimulated with everything that’s happening around them, these activities can help you feel centred or grounded“.

Engaging in a hobby can also bring a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, releasing dopamine, the feel-good hormone. This boosts self-esteem and provides pleasure, contributing to overall mental health.

Priyasha, a 28-year-old doctor, shared how guided painting helps her unwind: “I find it really relaxing. I put on some soft music, turn off my notifications, and focus completely on it for about half an hour. It feels like meditation“.

Burnout, Hustle Culture, and Healing

Burnout is a significant issue in today’s fast-paced world, particularly among young professionals. Overworking is a leading cause of stress and exhaustion, often resulting in severe mental and physical health problems.

Dr Raj Kumar Srivastava from Max Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi highlighted, “Overworking can lead to many problems like depression, anxiety, heart problems, sleep disorder, interpersonal disputes, and so on. Cardiac problems and stress are strongly correlated in recent times to the point of stress being considered the most common factor for fatal heart attacks“.

For those experiencing burnout, slow hobbies can be a crucial part of the healing process. However, it’s important to recognize when professional help is needed. Dr Kamna Chhibber emphasises that the impact of burnout can be profound, and recovery may require more than just a hobby.

While slow hobbies can provide grounding and a sense of accomplishment, they should be part of a broader strategy that might include professional counselling to effectively manage and recover from burnout.

Slow living offers a valuable antidote to the pressures of modern hustle culture. By engaging in mindful, hands-on activities, individuals can find a sense of peace and fulfilment that counteracts the stress of daily life.

Inspired by celebrities and supported by scientific evidence, the slow living movement is gaining momentum among younger generations seeking balance and mental well-being. Whether it’s through gardening, crocheting, or painting, incorporating slow hobbies into daily routines can help mitigate burnout and enhance overall quality of life.

Originally published at on May 22, 2024.