The title of this post reflects my perpetual quest to slow things down a little. Admittedly, I don’t want to slow down all the time. There are periods though where I really need a slower times but feel the odds are against me. I like, and want, balance. I enjoy being busy and having things to do but also relish the easier times when I can totally chill out and do exactly what I want. Sometimes it seems the demands of a busy life take over, leaving hardly any time for me.
Along the way of trying to achieve some sort of equilibrium between these positions, I’ve found some things that work for me. Some take a bit of planning, but hey, if it means having stress-free times where I can sip a glass of wine, put my feet up, or amble around town, then I’m happy. I thought I’d write a post on how I carve out time for me, especially when I feel like my head’s going to explode (I’m sure I can’t be the only one). The benefit of all these slow living and mindful tips is they really do alleviate the stress and pressure associated with everyday life. They slow me down, which isn’t a bad thing.
Make Time To Slow Down
Ok, I hear you, there’s loads to do right? And there’s not enough time for everything. I usually find that. With free time at an all time low and an infinite to-do list, I structure my days when possible and give myself a time scale to get stuff done. And that’s it. After that, it’s time to stop (if I want to). Bullet journaling is great for this. I can see the week ahead and structure my days depending on how busy I am, and what else I need to do. I also distribute these demands over several days. As an exercise, things feel more manageable and psychologically, it takes the pressure off. Plus, I’m working through the list day by day and still finding my down time.
You can find a helpful YouTube video about bullet journals from Lily Pebbles here.
Mindful and In The Moment
When I’m working my way through my list of jobs, I only focus on what I’m doing at the time, not the other jobs ahead of me. It’s one thing at a time because that’s all I can do. Believe me, I’m the worst for getting distracted and doing something else half way through. It’s a bad habit and things take twice as long. The solution is to pay attention, in the here and now, on what I’m doing. The rest can wait. Lets face it, nothing disastrous is going to happen if I don’t get through all that’s needed. At least I’m doing something. Besides, I think it’s important to listen to how we’re feeling. Some days if I really can’t face ticking things off my list, I don’t. There’s always another day – life’s too short.
Phones and technology are a distraction from being productive and truly connecting with others who are with us. The need to document our lives on social media seems higher than ever before. It pays to put the phone away or turn it off altogether and engage in those who are present and around us. Social interaction is a main player when it comes to positive mental health, and making the time to engage in reciprocal relationships makes us feel valued and worthwhile. It’s good for the soul, and social media will still be there when the conversation ends and friends have gone home.
Embrace the Mornings
This is easy for me, I’m a morning girl. I rarely sleep late and totally embrace the few hours peace at the weekend. I use this time to do as I please as much as possible. I may just lie in bed, go for an early run, potter around my house, or do something productive. If you’re not an early riser I guess this may be hard. I’m most productive in the morning so it works well for me. I tend to slide around the 2pm mark. I try and work with this, factoring in my slower times in the afternoon. Pay attention to when your peak times are, and work around these.
Turn It Down A Gear
When I’m busy and rushed, I find I do everything else faster. This includes talking, eating, and generally flitting around. As a state to be in, I can’t stand it. I try and turn things down a notch and intentionally do everything a bit slower. This seems to ease the pressure too and inevitably changes the pace of whatever I’m doing.
The Best Advice Of All
These tips for slowing down all work for me. The best feeling though comes from occasionally blowing caution to the wind, and leaving some things for another day. It feels good to do something spontaneous. It doesn’t matter what it is. What I’m trying to say is, life is better when we cut ourselves some slack and go with the flow. Sometimes I need this liberated feeling. It means I’m able to come back revived and am more likely to pick up what I need to do.
How do you slow down when time feels tight? Or are you someone who likes to be continually busy? I think I’m a bit of both, but have intentionally made more time for me.