I love this quote by Mahatma Gandhi — “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Slowing down in our life is good for us. We will tend to appreciate things around us more and also learn more about ourselves and our thoughts. However, it is not easy to do this if we have been always built to be a busy person. One way to start is by analysing why we are so busy. Then from there it would be easier to slow down. I realise that it is usually a cycle, slow time then busy time and then back again. However, I strongly believe that we can truly have slow time all the time if we try and that’s something I am working on every single day. I’m sharing some simple ways to slow down and these can often be a reminder if life suddenly gets hectic again.
There’s more to life than increasing its speedMahatma Gandhi
1. Do Less
Yes, I am a strong advocate to not fill our calendars with tonnes of to dos. Just because we have the space and time does not mean we have to fill it all the way whether it is for you or for others. So, it’s important to not do too much and exhaust yourself, sometimes it is ok to say no. By doing less, we will slowly peel away the busyness. Always ask yourself why a certain thing needs to be done and the importance and urgency of it. It will help with prioritisation by focusing on what’s important, and not overwhelming your calendar.
2. Be Present, Be Mindful
When you do less, I believe you will be focusing on things that matter to you most. So be present on those things without distractions, for example a hobby that you cannot do without, spending time with your children or your family. By being there for a hobby, you are fulfilling your creativity and in a way a type of self-care. By being there for your loved ones, you are giving your time and attention to your loved ones and of course your loved ones will love that. You will not only feel happy for yourself but also you delight your family members by being there for them. It can be just day to day activities like drawing with your children, chatting with your grandparents or parents. Simple activities but done mindfully make a bigger difference that done without being present.
One of the most crucial elements of our lives. I always love sleep and I’ve come to appreciate it even more after having my first born. We all know by now that sleep deprivation only creates negativity rather than any positivity. Getting enough sleep is so beneficial and I’m talking about getting 7-8 hours of sleep each day. Science has shown us that sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout our life. Getting enough quality sleep can help protect our mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Enough sleep can also improve our immune system and fight the common cold. So, it is not only in children and teens that sleep is important as sleep also helps support growth and development. We adults need it too, as sleep is the simplest way to slow down be it mentally or physically.
4. Do Nothing
I spoke about white space here and how important it is to help reduce busyness. White space is to help us recover instead of having to do something. It is ok to have some time to just do nothing and daydream. Just enjoy the silence, trust me it really helps you get some calmness into your day. You’d be surprised what comes out of your thoughts just by doing this, even if it is for 15 minutes a day.
Technology is fantastic. I love my phone. It is so advanced that the phone is a go to for so many of us. We use it to help remember things or even as a portal to socialize. But how about trying to disconnect every now and then, this relates back to being present. For example, it’s a big no-no to have our phone at the dining table for our family. Setting a good example for our children is so important and we have been sticking by that. It really helps because we can be present and enjoy our meals. It is hard to slow down if we keep wanting to check our messages and notifications on our phones. So, let’s shut it off or leave it in another room.
6. Pen and Paper Time
Journaling has been proven to provide many benefits and I love the freedom to write anything I want without judgement. The flow of thoughts onto paper and hand gesture of writing helps to clear our thoughts and declutter the busyness in our mind. I recently started writing morning pages and every time after finishing, I feel like I have cleared some space in my head. If you’re not into journaling, perhaps a slow hobby that can provide calmness will help you better. Think painting, yoga, Pilates, listening to slow classical music, meditation etc.
7. Go for Walks
Going for walks closer to nature can help you slow down and clear your mind from being busy. Take it slow and breathe the fresh air, listen to the birds chirping away, observe mother nature (believe me you will find so many wonders), enjoy the greenery or calming sense of water. Besides walking, you can also plan other outdoor activities like hiking, exercising at the park, a simple picnic, or just sit at the park and do nothing. If possible, try to go outdoors daily, as sunlight tends to elevate peoples’ mood, and there’s usually more light available outside than in.
I think meditation is another great way to clear our mind by giving ourselves some headspace. I really enjoy meditating with Headspace as it helps tame my crazy thoughts and dealing with anxieties. Only 10 minutes a day can do wonders, you can download the app and try the basic option which is free. There are 10 sessions in the basic with 5 mins and 10 mins options. Simply re-do it if you don’t want to purchase any in-app meditation guides. If you are not into meditation, I suggest journaling or a slow hobby that can provide calmness to your mind.
9. Eat Slower
It’s amazes me how it would take me an hour (sometimes more) to prepare dinner and then just under 20 minutes to gobble everything down. I learned from reading Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life, one of the secrets for longevity for the centenarians in Okinawa Japan is to stop eating when they are 80% full. It is because they enjoy their food slowly and they practice slow living. They have proper cooked meal even for breakfast. No cereals. So, instead of gobbling our food down so quickly that can lead to overeating and not enjoying our food as much, slow down and take our bites slowly. Being mindful and enjoying each bite, taste the flavours, smell the food, and appreciate the textures. Eating slowly surely is beneficial as it makes you fuller with less food and you appreciate the food and the person who prepares it. Also, it is important to eat healthy food and not fast food or food high in fat and salt.
10. Single Task (Don’t Multitask)
Focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking requires you to go back and forth on various tasks only adds to the stress and busyness. I spoke about single tasking and its benefits and it certainly is a great way to slow down. Single tasking helps my days flow better and seeing as I love slow living so much it definitely is something I highly recommend.
Wow, there we have it! Some simple ways to slow down and get rid of busyness. What do you think of my 10 ways? Are you already consciously doing this in your day to day? Let me know in the comments below. I hope you find this post beneficial to you and that you will enjoy slowing down and enjoy the everyday moments. Happy slowing down! x
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