Simple Ways to Slow Down When Life Speeds Up
When you were a kid, waiting for Christmas to arrive seemed like it took forever. As an adult, it’s quite a different story! The pace seems to pick up substantially the last two months of the year! On top of the usual work and life activities, there are extra goings-on to juggle too! It’s like being on a treadmill with a mind of its own that is going faster and faster. Unless you jump off the treadmill, you’ll end up crashing because you can’t keep up! That’s painful!
In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, the wisest thing you can do is SLOW DOWN!
I know that sounds crazy, but the more frantic your pace, the more likely you are to make mistakes, forget important things, spin out of control, and wear yourself out. That’s a bummer for everyone, especially you!
The holidays aren’t the only time of year when the pace picks up! I feel that same pressure to hurry when I’m facing deadlines, getting business related tasks squared away for a trip, or coordinating the next event for our continually growing family. When does the pace pick up for you?
When you are speeding through life, you are missing the moments. It’s tough to savor and appreciate life when you are doing it at break-neck speed. And you certainly can’t THRIVE!
Here are a few tips to help you to intentionally slow your pace down when life or work speeds up:
1. Pause & Breathe
The more you pick up the pace, the shallower you tend to breathe. Stress causes shallow breathing and shallow breathing creates stress. It’s a vicious cycle! Additionally, shallow breathing makes your body vulnerable to illness and can lead to panic attacks – both good reasons to slow down and breathe deep!
2. Take a Walk
Walking is good for your mind and body! And it doesn’t have to be a 10 mile walk to make a difference! A brisk 30-minute walk releases endorphins, improves cognitive function, combats mental and physical fatigue, improves your memory, increases your creativity, and more! All shifts that will allow you to perform at your best when you get back!
Hurrying is a sign that you think you have to make it all happen. And all the while you are missing out on enlisting the help of the One who loves you most and has the power to intervene on your behalf. Along with praying, reciting scripture, meditating using an app like ABIDE, or dwelling on who God is will not only help you to slow down, but also help you adjust your perspective.
4. Sip Tea
There’s something comforting about sipping something warm, especially in the cooler months of the year. It’s the perfect time to let your mind wander. Tea’s not your drink of choice? How about coffee, hot chocolate, or hot cider?
4. Encourage Someone
Taking your focus off of yourself and onto others is lovely way to slow down and remember that you aren’t the center of the universe. Write them a short note, a happy text, or give them a call! It will be a blessing to both of you!
The best thing about doodling is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. It’s an easy way to get creative if you only have a few minutes. Coloring in one of the many fun coloring books available for adults is another option.
As you are zipping through life you are missing all sorts of interesting aspects of life. Slow down and notice the people around you. What are they doing? What might they be feeling? When have you felt that way? Notice nature – it’s all around! Count your blessings – it’s all about being mindful!
Sorting out your thoughts, feelings or what needs to be done in writing is a fantastic way to process and clear your head.
9. Read a Book
What’s better than getting lost in a captivating story or tuning into some valuable insights? Taking a break to read a chapter in a book or the Bible is a productive way to slow down.
10. Master the Art of Margin
In order to slow down, you have to create more space between activities so that you don’t have to hustle to get to the next thing. A crowded schedule ensures that you will be perpetually speeding to the next thing.
11. Do What You Love!
Time to pursue a hobby, read a book, fish, or hike won’t take place unless you carve out time for them. Even 15 or 30 minutes of doing something that makes your heart happy will energize you so that you can face the demands of life with a clearer head. Putting off activities that are energizing so that you can continue to do what drains you is a prescription for burnout! Doing what you love is necessary, not a luxury, so slow down and stop shortchanging yourself.
12. Savor Your Food
Sit down, eat slowly, chew and chew some more – it’s great for your digestion, and notice what your food tastes like!
13. Speak Slowly
How does pressure and moving at full-throttle affect your communication? I know I can be more impatient, snippy, or not communicate at all which leads to issues that take up precious time. Engaging in meaningful conversation definitely slows you down, but in the long run, it also saves you time not to mention nurtures your relationships!
14. Appreciate Silence
As a society, we are growing more and more allergic to silence and being still. Just observe the people around you – odds are they are glued to their phones. In order to fully appreciate silence, you must unplug. Does the thought of that cause anxiety to bubble up?
While we all need varying levels of silence in our lives, silence is an invitation to be present, mindful, and to process! That never hurts anyone!
15. Calming Exercise
If you are a driven soul, that has probably influenced the way you exercise…or don’t exercise! Rather than running all out or going crazy with weights, Yoga, Tai Chi, stretching or Pilates all have a calming affect and offer the opportunity to practice slowing down!
When you do life at high speed organizing always slips to the bottom of the list while you piles keep on growing. Hunting for things is a huge time waster not to mention frustrating! Setting aside a small amount of time to get organized a few times a week makes a big difference and it’s very therapeutic!
17. Set Limits
The reality is that you can’t do it all! What kind of limits do you need to set in your life or work? Here are a few ideas:
- Go on an information diet – limit the amount of incoming information that you indulge in
- Take a social media sabbatical or confine your social media activity into one or two short sessions
- Allow yourself just one meeting a day
- Leave the office at a set time everyday no matter what
- Don’t take work home
18. Watch the Sun
The sun rises and sets every day and the display is remarkable! How often do you slow down long enough to delight in sunrises and sunsets? Everyday they are unique and inspiring!
19. Take Your Time
Challenge yourself to slow down by getting in the longest line or taking the long way home.
Mindfully do one task at a time.
You were made for relationship. You need to connect! Regularly slow down and enjoy the beautiful people God’s place in your life. Do lunch with a co-worker, meet a friend for coffee. Make it a consistent part of your life. It’s much more satisfying than social media!
The next time you find yourself speeding up, I dare you to slow down! Jump off that treadmill and slow down. It will not only force you to prioritize more, it will also lead to more peace and joy! Isn’t that what we all want during the holidays and throughout the year?
Slowing down IS an option! It’s a choice!
What causes you to speed up? How does speeding up impact you?