How to Slow Down
A hallmark of current life is busyness. A frequent reply to "How are you?" is "so busy." We try to pack a lot into our days. When we add in special celebrations, such as Christmas and Hanukkah, the busy factor ramps up to what can become frenzy. Sometimes I think we wear busyness as a badge of honour.
I'm no exception - there's always far more that I'd like to do than there is time or energy. And I'm learning the value of slowing down. I'm not a "fix-it" kind of person, but here are some things that help me.
1. Wake up slowly. Our alarm clock goes off at 6:30. I try to make my first conscious thought one of gratitude to God for the day ahead. Then I lie in bed for 5-10 minutes, sometimes talking with my husband, sometimes semi-conscious. Leaping out of bed in the morning has never been my usual style.
2. Eat slowly. I tend to be a fast eater. Consciously putting my fork down between bites and taking more time is beneficial both for enjoying the moment and for eating less.
3. Walk more slowly. I'm a fast walker, whether in the shopping mall, through the halls at school, or out getting exercise. When I feel like I've got too much on my plate, and there's just too much to do, instead of going more quickly, I deliberately slow my pace. This has the effect of calming my mind.
4. Get outside. Fresh air, even when it's cold and wet, both invigorates and calms me. I saw a brief clip on television recently about a doctor giving a prescription for "eco-therapy" to someone who suffered from stress and depression. The prescription included listening, observing, and breathing.
5. Check out for a few minutes, when possible. Reading is the way I escape. In a rather backwards logic, I discovered years ago that when I was hurried and didn't feel like I'd ever catch up, taking 30-60 minutes to read a novel caused a mental retreat and regrouping that was always beneficial. When my children were small, I rested and read during their naps and quiet times. Invaluable!
I don't pretend to have all the answers. Do you have ways to cope with busyness? Do share.