Slower living sounds like an idyllic concept, right? Who wouldn’t love to be less busy, less tired or less overworked? But I also know a lot of people read the term “slow living” and think easier said than done. But slow living can work for everyone. It’s a lot like last month’s theme of self-care; it looks different for every individual, you just have to find a way to make it work for you. Today, I want to share a few ways you can start slowing down today and adopting this lifestyle as a permanent mindset in a way that works for you.
Add buffer time into your day
In the decade that I’ve know him, my husband has never left for work on time a day in his life. I feel like I should note this is a luxury he can afford since he works for himself, but still. Every morning, I watch him scramble out the door in an attempt to make sure he arrives at work on time. It’s a stressful tornado that I’ve come to accept. I, myself, am a firm believer in bookending your schedule with buffer time. Even if it’s just five minutes, schedule yourself to leave that much earlier each day. No one should start or end their day on a stressful note. Five minutes might not sound like a lot, but it could be the key to helping you decrease stress and slow down. It takes some discipline, especially if you’re habitually late or not great at time management, but stick with it. I promise it will make all the difference.
Connect with nature daily
Even if it is sitting in your garden for 10 minutes. Many of us are shut in our homes and offices most of the time, and rarely do we get the chance to go outside. And often even when people are outside, they’re usually buried in their cell phones. Getting outside can lower your blood pressure, reduce feelings of stress or anxiety, increase creativity and memory, boost immunity and more. But another great benefit of getting outside in nature is the way it helps you slow down and let go of some of the busyness of life. Take the time to go outside and really observe nature, take a deep breath of fresh air, and enjoy the serenity of water and greenery. Exercise outdoors when you can, or find other outdoor activities to enjoy such as nature walks, hiking, swimming, etc. Feel the sensations of water and wind and earth against your skin. Try to do this daily — by yourself or with loved ones. It’ll do wonders for your body and your mind.
Slow down the spoon
In other words, eat slowly. Instead of cramming food down our throats as quickly as possible — leading to overeating and a lack of enjoyment of our food — learn to eat slowly. Be mindful of each bite. Appreciate the flavors and textures. Take your lunch out of the Tupperware and put it on a proper plate. Instead of checking your phone or eating while doing something else, try to be present for the experience of your meal or even just drinking your coffee in the morning.
Check-in with yourself
Stop at random moments throughout the day and ask yourself if you’re going too fast. If you are, return to the task or the moment more slowly. If you find yourself automatically reaching for your phone at a red light or in the middle of a conversation, pause, notice the impulse and imagine it’s an ocean wave you’re surfing, using your breath to maintain balance as the wave rises and eventually subsides.
Schedule unstructured time
If you don’t schedule your downtime, it’s often the first thing that gets stepped on when busyness creeps in. Instead of giving in, pick consistent times of the day when you switch off all technology. Maybe it’s at dinnertime or in the hour before going to bed. Use this time to incorporate a slow ritual into your day. Whether it be yoga, gardening, reading, puzzles or embroidery, choose an activity that allows you to hit pause intentionally and enjoyably.
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