How to slow down

October 21, 2020

Get things done, keep pushing yourself harder, hustle more, work faster. Sounds familiar? You’re not alone. Our modern lifestyle thrives on haste and busyness. We are hardwired to feel the need to be productive 24/7 and this drives many of us to live in a perpetual state of hurry. We’re always in a rush to beat our deadlines, head from one meeting to another, and hit our next milestones. 

This need for speed is not only exhausting, it’s also very counterproductive. When we constantly feel depleted and worn out, how can we expect creativity and productivity to flow smoothly? 

It almost feels like an act of rebellion to slow down and do things with intent, but what good is there to speeding up when you’re too busy to enjoy your achievements or too worn out to celebrate?

When you balance the busy grind with slowness, you create tranquility, find focus and feel joy with the life you’re living.

Incorporating slowing down in your routine is key to building a balanced life. Here are small habits you can introduce in your everyday life to invite mindfulness, attention and respect for your health and your wellbeing:

Allow yourself to enjoy at least one self-care ritual each day

Self-care looks different for everybody. Whether your self-care ritual is a morning coffee, an afterwork run or evening read, find an activity that brings calm to your chaos and give yourself the permission to enjoy it. There is nothing wrong with taking a few minutes of your day to enjoy only for yourself.

Practice single tasking

We are often so exhausted and overwhelmed because we try to do so many things at once. Try doing one thing at a time and give it your 100% focus. Not only will this help you slow down, your productivity also improves because you aren’t distracted and jumping back and forth between multiple tasks. When you feel the urge to switch to other tasks, pause, breathe and pull yourself back.

Schedule a weekly meeting to check in with yourself

Modern society thrives on catchups and status meetings, but we don’t do that enough with ourselves. Book a meeting in your agenda every week to reflect:

  • What challenges and opportunities are in front of me?
  • What’s working and what’s not working?
  • What is giving me and draining my energy?
  • Where can I focus my energy next week?

By creating this regular habit of introspection, you gain clarity and perspective.

Cook a meal even if you’re bad at it

Not everyone can sit still and breathe. Yet, the idea of meditation is to simply take time out of your day and immerse yourself into the present. Cooking can be a mindful and meditative experience if you really take your time to do it. The other upside to it is that we work with our hands when we’re cooking, so that’s pretty powerful in itself.

Spend time in nature

Being in nature is proven to offer a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. It lowers your blood pressure, reduces stress and anxiety, and increases your creativity and memory. This information is not new to us, but we just don’t do it enough. Even when we spend time outside, we tend to be on our cell phones instead of enjoying the peace and the greenery. The next time you head outside, take a breath of fresh air, observe what’s going on around you, and relish the peace & quiet!

Slowing down doesn’t mean escaping from your responsibilities or tempering your ambitions. Nor does it require you to cultivate a regular practice of spirituality or meditation. Slowing down is simply an invite to be more mindful: to take your time and energy to do things with care, attention and focus. 

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