Hello dear friends!
It seems like we’re all moving ahead at breakneck speed these days, doesn’t it? Everyone is busy, overworked, and overscheduled. Our bodies are crumbling under the pressure, and we can’t get our minds to slow the heck down enough to go to sleep at night. Everywhere you look there is the message to keep going, work harder, do more things. Our collective FOMO is causing us all too much stress, too much anxiety, and making us focus on the things that aren’t actually nourishing or valuable in life. But how do we get off the treadmill and actually slow the heck down?
When we’re constantly jumping from one task to the next, our nervous systems get overloaded and our adrenals get zapped. It’s not a sustainable way of living! No wonder so many of us need caffeine or other stimulants to function in the day, and then rely on meds to get sleep at night. No bueno, you guys. We have to learn how to purposely slow down our life, and get a little more white space in our schedules. And I’m not just talking about taking a vacation…
Vacations are important to get out of our ruts, expose us to new environments, and get some R&R, but what about the rest of the year? How on earth can we slow the pace when we are in the middle of our usual work, school, or family obligations? I hope that this blog comes at a good time for you too, and helps you find some peace. Here are my top seven ideas for slowing down, getting some zen, and moving forward with more mindful intention!
1. Meditate. Even just for ten minutes.
I don’t want to sound like a nag, but really, peeps, meditation works! I know I talk about it a lot, but that’s only because it’s been so effective in reducing my stress, improving my mood, and helping me keep a healthy perspective no matter what’s going on around me. And no, you don’t need to fold yourself into a pretzel or sit on the floor for an hour a day to reap the benefits. You can chill out in a comfy chair, or propped up in your bed, and follow a guided meditation for just ten minutes a day. Trust me, give it a few days, and you’ll be feeling goooooood. I personally love following along to guided tracks from apps like Insight Timer, Pacifica, Calm, or Headspace.
2. Set boundaries
To be honest, this should be number one on this list, because I think of this as a vital life skill, especially for any empath, HSP, or chronically ill person. Learning to say “no” is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and can help keep you from overscheduling, and thus, overextending your energy. You cannot serve from an empty vessel, remember? Don’t give your time and energy to just anyone who asks for it- learn to set boundaries and devote yourself to only the things that are truly important.
3. Put the phone down
Seriously, do it! I know that technology is an addiction (well, technically, the connection it brings us is the true addiction, which isn’t really a bad thing)- trust me, I get it. It took me a long while to break my long-standing habit of jumping on my iPhone right upon waking, but I know I still get on Instagram maybe more than I need to! The constant barrage of texts, notifications, emails, and updating social feeds only serves to keep your brain on high alert and your stress hormones pumping. Put your phone in a drawer for one hour every day, or take a whole day off from devices each week, and you might like the calm it brings.
4. Get some nature time
There’s nothing that can slow you down quite like nature can. When we step outside and wiggle our toes in the grass, our everyday stresses don’t seem quite as urgent anymore, and we can refocus our attention in a healthier and more sustainable way. Wander around your neighborhood park, take a picnic lunch to the trailhead, or just sit in your backyard for a little while. This is also an awesome chance to spend time with friends, make some vitamin D, or play fetch with your pup (I’m looking at you, River!).
5. Eat mindfully
One of the easiest ways to tell how fast or slow you’re moving is to observe your eating habits. Most of us wolf down our food, or take snacks on the go, because we just cannot be bothered to invest time or energy into eating! For your next meal, clear off the table (and yes, actually sit down at one), leave your phone elsewhere, and really bring your attention to your food. Use all five of your senses to explore and experience your meal, chew and swallow slowly, and rest for a moment before moving on to the rest of your day.
6. Close some browser tabs
We live in a multi-tasking culture, always being told to do ten things at once. But our brains actually don’t work this way, and trying to tackle multiple activities is only a recipe for stress. Be a rebel and give monotasking a try. Whatever you’re working on, only focus on that one thing. Close your other browser tabs, shut off the distractions, and be present to what you’re doing. This, of course, applies to work, but also to other things like driving (!), eating, socializing, and playtime.
7. Connect, don’t just coexist
How often do we really see and connect with other people that we spend time with? One of the easiest (and simultaneously hardest) ways we can slow down is to actually be present and engaged with our social interactions. Humans are endlessly fascinating, and when you can actually pay attention to their words, body language, mannerisms, and energetic vibrations, you’ll find a much deeper connection. Treat every person in front of you as the most important thing in that moment, and you may be surprised at how it shifts your perception!
I know we are all busy little bees these days, but this is your invitation to step back and ask yourself if your routine is actually a healthy and sustainable one. If you’re constantly feeling stressed or rushed, give these seven tips a try, and pay attention to how you feel after a few days. Remember, life isn’t going anywhere. It’s okay to give yourself permission to slow your roll sometimes!
Let me know how it goes, friends! And as always,
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~