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Life is busy. I don’t know about you guys but sometimes it feels like the days keep rushing from one to the next and you don’t really get to enjoy anything! When I lived in the Caribbean, things felt different – time moved a little slower, people didn’t seem to work such long hours, and there was a little more time to relax and enjoy each other. Who knows, things may have changed there too – perhaps it’s just a sign of the times everywhere. I decided I needed to do an intervention for myself when I realized that I seem to be barreling through the day on most days, in an effort to balance work, my social life, and starting up my own business. I eat my meals really quickly – sometimes not even taking the time to savor what I’m eating, I would be so tired in the morning that I would get out of bed at the last moment and then rush to work – things that probably kept my body in a steady ‘adrenaline rush’ : not good!

So, to start of, I decided to make a few simple changes. Firstly, I made myself eat more mindfully. No matter what I was eating – a sit down dinner or a peanut butter sandwich – I made it more about slowing down and enjoying each bite, rather than shoveling food in my mouth before I ran off to do something else!

Second, I started getting ready a little earlier in the morning so that my days don’t start off as a mad rush! Hopefully this will also eventually make me more tired at night so I would go to bed earlier too! My job sometimes has erratic hours at night so I’ve become a major night owl – which doesn’t help since I still have to get up fairly early the next morning.

And lastly, I took up a slow hobby – weaving. I’m the type of person who NEEDS to complete things I’m passionate about as quickly as possible! This applies to my art projects as well as the latest Netflix series that I’m binge-watching! Lucky for me, I work in watercolors and so I CAN stay up late to finish what I’m doing in one night!

But with weaving, I can’t finish a piece in one night – so I have to be patient and slow down. I make it my goal to complete maybe one or two rows a day – nothing more. At first this was a little frustrating but now I’ve come to appreciate having a long-term project in my life. Something I can take my time with, savor, and see build up in front of me every day. It’s a moment to breathe, bond with my very-interested cat, Sophie (hey, where there’s yarn… ), and just appreciate doing something merely for the sake of doing it.

No deadlines, no rushing, no pressure.

Here are some other ways to help you slow down and enjoy your life more:

1. Breathe

Simply taking the time to pay attention to your breathing helps you slow things down. Slowly breathe in. Slowly breathe out. Repeat.

2. Be less busy.

Pick three to five things to accomplish each day, get them done, and enjoy your sense of completion. Busyness does not equal productivity.

3. Spend time with the people you love

Filling your life with the people you care about is good for you – mentally, physically, and spiritually. Remember, we ARE social creatures after all!

4. Do nothing.

Sometimes the best way to increase productivity is to take some time off to do nothing. This time off doesn’t need to be a long vacation or even a full day – an hour here or there will work just fine!

5. Disconnect

Yes, that’s right, as soon as you finish reading this – turn off your phone or computer for a while! We are slaves to our emails and texts- being hyperconnected all the time is horrible for us!

Good luck with the Slowing Down! It’s going to feel strange and maybe even uncomfortable at first but you’re soon going to be very grateful to yourself for making this effort!

Setbacks happen to everyone. Whether you’re building your own business, trying to lose weight, or fostering better relationships with family members. Things can’t go smoothly all the time, that’s just a fact of life, but don’t get so caught up on the ‘downs’ that you forget the many ‘ups’ that got you to where you are at this point.

However, just because setbacks happen doesn’t mean it’s the end of your dream. The key is to stop thinking of setbacks as failures and see them, instead, as a natural part of the process and a real opportunity for growth.

Here are some ways to deal with setbacks:

1. GIVE YOURSELF A SET TIME TO FEEL BAD

You just faced a setback! This means that something happened to derail plans that you’ve been working really, really hard on. That’s harsh and deserves a suitable period of mourning. Give yourself that time to feel bad for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. But, and this is key to achieving anything, make that time finite. Set yourself a limit and then start the rebuilding process.

2. REMOVE THE EMOTIONS

When things don’t go well, our emotions go into overdrive and it’s difficult to see things as they really are. However, although it’s really painful to see things that we have worked really hard for not go according to plan, now, more than ever, it’s important to stop for a while. Do nothing on impulse, don’t succumb to the pressure to ‘fix things now’ , and step back from the situation. When you’ve cleared your head and can see the facts without emotional bias, that’s when you can truly start figuring out your next moves. Ask yourself what went wrong. How did you and other factors contribute to this? What could you have done differently? What can you do to help things now -objectively, not emotionally. Write these things down so you can see them concretely in front of you.

3. TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME

It’s important, when we have goals, to look at the big picture. The better health a year from now, the publishing of your first book, or a happier home life. These things can keep us going. However, sometimes it helps just to think of getting through things a day at a time. Don’t think of how hard a year of waking up early to write your book, or a year of changing your diet will be – just tell yourself you just need to make it to tomorrow. If you’ve just been thrown a huge setback, ask yourself what you can do to make things better tomorrow. And then, the next tomorrow. And the one after that.  Soon, you’ll be back in the swing of things again!

And above all, remember this : only people who take risks, work hard to follow their dreams, or even just HAVE dreams to begin with, face setbacks in the first place! It means you’re out there working towards something. And THAT is a good and brave thing.