if I could go back to visit a younger me, the number one tip I would give her would be to slow down.
how much more fulfilling wouldn’t my life be today if I knew how to enjoy the moment back then ? how much easier wouldn’t it have been if I would let my instincts lead me ?
then again, I know life is a learning curve + that what I’ve been through needed to happen. all those years I spent stressing around pursuing a career goal that ended up being a dead-end was somehow part of a bigger plan. only time will tell if this was a way for me to gain much-needed life experience, or perhaps it was just me acting out patterns from my previous life. probably a mix of both.
after all those years living in survival mode, the most important lesson I learned is how much more life you get when you learn to slow down. experiencing stress gives you a tunnel vision where you become very task-oriented. you live in your head thinking about what you think needs to get done rather than listening to your heart + your body to better take care of yourself in the process. life becomes very single-minded, resulting in you feeling drained + exhausted both physically + emotionally. the body ends up needing recharging; it’s craving balance.
when we slow down, we learn to take our time. we become more relaxed + enjoy the moment more, which makes us enjoy life more. we become more aware + feel more grateful. not only does this lift us higher, but we become an inspiration to others. through slowing down, we give ourselves the power to take charge of our own lives + positively affect the world.
by slowing down, you, too, can take back this power + make positive changes to your own life.
here are 12 helpful tips to guide you on your way.
1. TAKE TIME TO BREATHE
it sounds so simple, but when we rush around, we tend to breathe in a shallow way — from our chest rather than our diaphragm, which can lead to stress + affect our health long-term. taking time to practise deep breathing allows our breathing to slow down + we find ourselves slowing down. here’s a simple exercise :
lie on your back with one hand on your stomach + the other on your chest.
breathe in deeply through your nose, feeling your belly expanding while the hand on your chest is lying still. push your stomach as far as you can.
exhale through pursed lips as if you were whistling, notice your belly contracting.
repeat 3-10 times.
2. COOK A MEAL FROM SCRATCH
cooking meals from scratch won’t only teach you to slow down, but it will also fuel you differently than takeaway or ready meals. fresh food provides more energy than processed food. in addition, the entire cooking process puts you in charge of what you put into your body. this power can also encourage your decision making in other areas of life — maybe it makes you rethink what commitments you say yes to.
3. SIMPLIFY YOUR SCHEDULE
the fewer obligations we have on our schedule, the more time we have for what’s left, and the easier it is to slow down. to find balance in your life + reach greater wellbeing, focus on keeping activities that lift your spirit + (re)move some of the commitments that drain you. having activities to look forward to will boost your mood + energy level, and make you feel more at ease, which will also help you slow down + relax.
4. DO WHAT YOU LOVE
when you spend time doing something you enjoy, you let your guards down + you relax. you automatically slow down. making yourself feel this good, you want the moment to last forever, so you come back for more. every time you do, you relax + slow down even more.
5. MINDFUL WALKING
walking in itself can help us slow down. if you want to become extra aware + allow yourself to find an even slower pace in life, try mindful walking. mindfulness is all about becoming aware of what is going on right now + to accept this in a non-judgemental way. when you set out on your slow walk, take in what is going on around you + within you. accept this rather than judging it. what can you see ? what do you hear ? can you smell anything ? how does it feel to be in your body right now ?
it’s easy to grab your phone or sit in front of a computer for hours a day. when journaling, we want to write by hand to allow ourselves time to reflect on things. in the process, we slow down.
7. READ A BOOK
when we’re busy we might down prioritise indulging in a good book. if reading is one of the things you enjoy, making it part of your self-care routine can be a great way to slow down your pace in life. sink into your favourite chair / your bed / a hot bath, and dig in.
pick up a hobby where you can use your hands (but doesn’t involve phones + computers). whether it’s cooking / painting / knitting / carpentry / pottery or maybe massaging, allow yourself to feel your way into it + take your time. enjoying the process will help you slow down.
10. REDUCE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
often we stay busy cause we have too many or set too high expectations for ourselves. or we think other people expect certain things from us. maybe they do, but we also need to think about our own needs. we can’t pour from an empty cup. in order to slow down + prioritise our own wellbeing, we need to be able to say no. by doing so, we also encourage other people to look within to find the will + resources to take care of themselves.
11. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
rather than blindly following your to-do list, stop to ask yourself, “what do I feel like doing right now ?” or “what do I need right now to feel good ?“. especially when you feel exhausted / moody / stuck / bored, make an effort to get in touch with your needs by asking these questions. taking breaks to do something that makes you feel good will help you feel calmer; it will benefit both your productivity + wellbeing.
12. GET ORGANISED
with a clear overview, it’s easier to stay on top of things. spend some time on the weekend scheduling your week + remember to include time for self-care + elements from this list. when there are activities you look forward to, and you understand the importance of putting yourself first, it’s easier to say no to extra obligations.
learning to slow down is a great way to reconnect with life + bring more joy into your life.
all you have to do is take the first step.
what is that first step going to be ?
let me know in the comment section below.