Leap day on February 29th can be spent like any other day, or it can be different. Colombian think tank Despacio recommends spending it more slowly and more consciously.

What if, instead of racing against the clock, people focused on the pleasure of the journey? “Slow living” is a philosophy that seeks to shift society’s focus from speed to contentment. More peace and community should guide our everyday life rather than stress and individualism. This conscious mode of living should benefit our health, relationships, work, communities, and the environment.

In order to bring slow living into modern life, non-profit quality-of-life think tank Despacio has taken that call to a global scale: they proclaimed February 29th global #DespacioDay: a day for more awareness and sustainability.

#DespacioDay- a new kind of holiday

For most of us, this means spending the day differently than all other days. Despacio recommends starting with small changes that are fun like replacing your digital devices with a good book, cooking your meals instead of eating at a restaurant, or making a list of everything you’re grateful for instead of the next annoying to-do list.

For those who like to think bigger, Despacio also offers ideas for urban development and climate change initiatives. The other days of the year, the Bogotà-based team researches local and global urban systems in order to improve upon them.

slow living barcelona bamboo bikes
Start with small changes that are fun.
Photo: Lars Borges

To date, they’ve organized a flash mob on a public bus to cheer up commuters, authored books on motorcycling’s relationship to urban mobility, hosted seminars on bikeable cities, and developed strategies to help communities mitigate climate change.

Through it all, Despacio maintains a progressive and urban approach: Rather than advocating a “return to preindustrial forms of living,” they imagine solutions that include “technology and speed, just at the right time and place.”

Small changes, big effects

We think that while one fleeting day during a rare leap year may seem insignificant, #DespacioDay is a great starting point to questioning our ways of living and contributing to changing our world step by step. If many individuals make their own small changes, the result will certainly make a difference.

If you would like to take part in Despacio’s research survey (available in English and Spanish) you can share your ideas for a more conscious, more happy February 29th here.

slow living despacio day inliner skater lisbon
#DespacioDay on February 29th is all about stepping out of your everyday routine.
Photo: broken bloke Production

For more information on Despacio, please visit their website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Header image: broken bloke Production / art: Yok & Sheryo