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Ways To Slow Down (plus how a new hobby helped me be more mindful)

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!

Life Can Be A Picnic – Slow Down!!

“To slow down is to be taken into the soul of things.” – Terry Tempest Williams.

This new year, I resolve to take time off and go on more picnics!! But seriously, as I look back on the past few months, I realize what a blur they have been. As social a job as I have, I am, at heart, an introvert – and love nothing more than being cozy and quiet at home, curled up with something good to read or working on a craft project. Perhaps even spending a few hours by the water, watching the waves break and the ducks play. I love the outgoing parts of my life too but this year I’m prioritizing more quiet time as well. It’s important, not just for introverts, to slow down, turn off the constant noise we are all exposed to today, and recharge.

We let our phones recharge. Our batteries recharge. Parents impose routines and limits on their children to ensure that the kids get rest and don’t get burned out on the demands of life. Shouldn’t we give ourselves the same care as well?

 

The Mindfulness of Corresponding

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I’ve been writing a lot of letters lately. The entire act has been a way to slow down and practice mindfulness in a world that I often feel is rushing past me entirely too frantically. For half an hour, I am lost in a process that is deeply rooted in history and get to indulge myself in all of the beautiful accoutrements- pretty paper, lovely stamps (the ones above are sweet little seashells) fountain pens, inks, washi tape. Things that I can never resist collecting, so why not put them to good use! The meditative steps to letter writing are mirrored by the act of receiving mail as well. You, the letter-writer slow down as you write, focused on every beautiful detail. They, your recipient, don’t feel the pressure of immediate response (as happens with emails) and so they get to slow down as well – savoring each word long after they are first read. In today’s age, when everything is urgent, short, immediate – lingering over something is a rare luxury. When was the last time you were able to have long, uninterrupted thoughts? Making dainty little packages, sending them off, knowing they will be eagerly received – a slow ritual in a hyper world, yes, but one that somehow feels more and more important as technology keeps progressing.