Embracing Island Time: The Art of Slowing Down and Enjoying Life in Hawaii
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Embracing Island Time: The Art of Slowing Down and Enjoying Life in Hawaii

April 3, 2024

“Island time” describes the way that locals tend to take a slowed-down approach toward life and have a more relaxed attitude toward punctuality compared to the hustle and bustle of the rest of the country. Those that visit the area or relocate from the mainland United States, may struggle to adjust to the island time pace of things.

Being one of the top personal injury law firms in Hawaii, we can’t always operate on island time. When representing our clients, we must meet strict deadlines in order to ensure we can secure compensation for our clients. Still, the concept of island time is an important part of our culture here in Hawaii, and when possible, it’s nice to slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

This term “island time” accumulated colloquial traction during the United States military’s post-World War II invasion of the Pacific. Soldiers conditioned to endure freezing winters and an uncompromising clock idealized the notion of an island paradise, where time seemed to measure itself out steadily in the lapping of waves against the shore and every golden sunset.

This notional system of time still exists here today. If you truly want to understand the islands and make the most out of your move or vacation, there are some steps you can take to adapt to this slower, low-stress way of living.

How Does Island Time Work?

Island time is all about taking life at a slower pace and enjoying each moment as it comes rather than plowing through it to get to the next one. When you give yourself the chance to breathe, you become open to more opportunities for depth, connection, peace, and joy. Depending on the individual, this can manifest in multiple ways. For some people, island time just means taking eaceh day as it comes without worrying about the pressures of time or life. It can also involve taking up a new hobby such as painting, gardening, or baking or just focusing on spending quality time with friends and family.

No matter what form it takes for you, island time is about developing an enjoyable and sustainable way of life. Virtues like simplicity and minimalism are usually associated with island time since they accentuate making do with less and focusing on what is really important. Simplicity is about making things less complicated and easier, whereas minimalism focuses on doing away with excess and decluttering your physical and emotional space.

Tips for Living on Island Time

If you plan on vacationing here, or even moving to Hawaii, or you just want to adopt a more casual pace of life wherever in the world you may be, there are some practices you can implement.

Find a Spot in Nature

A big part of embracing island time is having a favorite outdoor spot where you can take a deep breath, slow down, and leave the stresses of a rigorous daily routine behind you. Examples of ideal nature spots to check out on your travels to Hawaii include:

Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden

Hawaii is the ideal location for those who want to slow down and decompress by exploring the natural world. From a garden oasis dedicated to tropical plants to a rescue and rehabilitation animal sanctuary, these and many other locations across the islands offer a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine and allow you to experience island time.

Begin Your Day Slowly

If you have ever found yourself starting your morning in a bit of a rush, and then felt like you were in a rush for the rest of the day, you understand the importance of starting your day slowly and intentionally.

The way you treat your morning can set the tone for the entire day. When you are hurried from the moment you wake up, you can spend the whole day feeling stressed and impatient. It becomes very easy to miss the unique and beautiful moments along the way.

When you are able to take your time in the morning, it can change your entire outlook and your entire day. Get up earlier so you can enjoy your coffee while it’s still hot, take your time eating breakfast, and even meditate. Many people who operate on island time have said that they find themselves accomplishing more during the day because they aren’t frustrated and constantly stressed.

Unplug and Enjoy the Silence

A lot of people struggle when it comes to appreciating and enjoying silence. It makes some people uncomfortable, and others feel lonely. Those who enjoy the benefits of island time have cultivated a taste for the beauty of not being surrounded by noise all the time.

By becoming comfortable with silence, you can enjoy the little sounds that are usually drowned out by the ambient noise of life on the mainland. This can include your own breathing, birdsong, the crunch of leaves underfoot, nocturnal insects and animals, and even the occasional shriek of a tourist who just encountered a lizard.

By removing yourself from constant noise, you will be able to better experience and connect with the world around you, and you can truly appreciate this aspect of island time.


For most of us, every day is full of commitments, chores, duties, and obligations that keep us busy from morning to night. Our brains are always working, planning, forming ideas, trying to remember, and creating distractions. The best way to counteract this level of activity is to meditate. Most people, whether they realize it or not, meditate on some small scale. Those deep breaths you took before the scary thing you had to do? That was a type of meditation.

When you add meditation to your slow morning routine, you begin each day with a sense of focus, purpose, and calm. This lets you approach the day with a clear and ordered mind rather than rushing out into the world already stressed and anxious. When practiced in the evenings, meditation can refocus your mind and make it easier for you to fall asleep. Studies have shown that people who meditate on a regular basis regularly feel confident, grounded, and positive and respond more positively to unexpected situations.

By making little bits of time throughout each day to quiet and calm your mind, you are putting yourself in a better position to appreciate life’s little pleasures, feel ready for whatever the day brings, and enjoy the benefits of living life on island time.

Minimize Your Belongings

One thing that can help you slow down your life is minimizing how much stuff you own. Removing unnecessary clutter from your home, and having a minimalist mindset when packing for a vacation cuts down on the number of things competing for your attention. In addition to providing you with a calming, clutter-free space to live and think, it can make certain decisions easier and help you be fully present for whatever activity or adventure you are facing.

By clearing out unnecessary possessions, you will also be able to simplify your life and reduce stress. For example, not spending an excess of time packing 12 outfits for a four-day trip will save you time deciding what to wear and keeping up with laundry, plus its less luggage to lug around. This practice will undoubtedly leave you with more time and energy to participate in the activities you truly want to experience, instead of being bogged down with unnecessary tasks you’ve inadvertently assigned yourself by not simplifying your possessions.

In the end, by freeing yourself of things that serve no true purpose other than taking up physical or mental space, you create more room and more time for yourself to enjoy all of life’s moments at a slower, more deliberate pace.

Create More

Another great way to embrace the relaxed pace of life on the island is to create. This can mean building things from scratch, creating art, or even preparing a meal. For those vacationing in Hawaii, this could include a pottery or painting class. If you are planning to become a resident, simple activities such as building a birdhouse or baking bread can give you a deep sense of accomplishment. Your creation does not have to be extravagant or Pinterest-worthy. The only thing that matters is that you made it yourself and that you slowed down enough to take the time to enjoy creating something. Creating something new and learning a new skill are their own reward and can serve as a great reminder that even calm, quiet activities can fill you with joy.

Need Help? Give Leavitt, Yamane & Solder a Call

We hope you will never need our services as personal injury lawyers in Hawaii, but If you or a family member were injured while on vacation in Hawaii, we are standing by to help. You should speak with a reputable Hawaii personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you have been in a car wreck, a recreational accident, or some other kind of incident that resulted in a personal injury.

Contact the personal injury law firm of Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner by calling (808) 537-2525 or filling out the contact form on our website to schedule your free consultation.

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