Do you often find yourself rushing from one task to another, usually on auto-pilot and never really giving anything your full attention? You’re not alone. In our fast-paced world, it’s become the norm. Between our work obligations, commitments at home and an idealised version of what life ‘should’ look like, we can become locked in a permanent state of overwhelm and exhaustion.
But, what if a few small changes made it possible to slow down and enjoy life more, all without getting less done?
It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it…and, believe me, I used to think the same but stick with me because even with my workaholic tendencies (I’m a true Capricorn through and through) I’ve learnt that slowing down is possible and it’s even a healthier way to live.
Of course, we all have our own version of what slowing down looks like but I believe that we can all create a more natural and slower pace that suits the season of life that we’re in.
It’s simple but it can take some effort to change routine habits. Committing to small consistent steps is the key to success - the result is a day with less overwhelm and more peace, so it’s worth it.
So, with that in mind, I’ve shared a few simple tips to help get you started. Please use them to begin your own journey - and research - into enjoying a slower and more enjoyable life, all without getting less done!
DROP MULTI TASKING
Did you know that multi-tasking doesn’t help us get more done? For years I prided myself on how well I multi-tasked thinking that it was increasing my productivity but it turns out it’s a myth! Experts now refer to it as task-switching and research has shown that it’s in fact distracting and less productive.
So, for the most part, it’s better to focus on one thing at a time. Mono-tasking, also known as single-tasking takes some getting used to but it increases your ability to focus, reduces anxiety and I actually find that I get more done - so it’s a win-win.
To get started, take a look at your 'to-do' list and prioritise the top three tasks. Allocate a time frame for each task and work solely on it during that time. Be sure to eliminate outside distractions by turning off notifications and putting your phone in a drawer until you’ve finished.
How many times a day do you feel overwhelmed or anxious? For most of us, it’s too many. Thankfully, we’re blessed with something to help; our breath. Next time you feel your emotions overwhelm you, pause and take a slow breath through your nose and deep down into your belly - hold it for a second and then exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat several times and you’ll begin to feel calmer. I’ve found this practice especially helpful for those times when you can’t leave a situation or room, but need to gather yourself and feel calmer.
Most of us spend a lot of time driving. Slowing down behind the wheel can help to reduce stress and helps us arrive at our destination feeling much calmer. Try changing your music for something that cultivates peace or listen to an inspiring podcast. Clear any clutter in your car. Diffuse an essential oil that evokes bright, calm feelings for you - my faves are sweet orange and lavender. And, use your time at traffic lights to take three deep breaths - helping you to focus on the present moment rather than letting your attention wander.
CREATE WHITE SPACE
It’s natural to feel resistance to doing this but creating a little white space in your day gives you an opportunity to pause and gather your thoughts which helps to relieve stress and anxiety. Build the habit into your day. Take five minutes for yourself at lunchtime or before the school run…simply pause, take a few deep breaths and reconnect to your mind and body.
REFRESH YOUR MORNING ROUTINE
Start your day the night before by getting a good night’s rest; turn off all blue lights (screens, TV and phone) at least an hour before bed and try eating a little lighter. It also helps to reduce alcohol and caffeine. Refresh your morning routine by removing anything unnecessary - or that could be done the night before. Try taking a few minutes each morning for yourself. That could be as simple as enjoying an extra couple of minutes in the shower or slowly drinking your morning tea in the garden. Here are a few more tips to help you reclaim your mornings.
BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU CONSUME
Did you know that we consume more information daily than our ancestors did in a lifetime, that’s insane! While technology helps to deliver this amount of information, the human brain hasn’t quite caught up and doesn’t appreciate the data overload. That’s why it’s important to give ourselves a break and remain mindful of what we’re feeding our minds.
Ask yourself if what you consume is supporting your mental health and helping you move forward or if it leaves you feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
For the next 7 days, be mindful of what you consume, consider whether the information is positive or negative and how it makes you feel. Then try to reduce the amount of information you consume - do this slowly but consistently and you’ll be amazed how much better you feel and how much extra time you have!
So, could you try something to help you slow down and enjoy life more? If you already have a few habits that help you do this then please share them in the comments below to support others…
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.