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In today’s fast-paced world it’s become the norm to rush from one task to another, often on auto-pilot and not really giving our full attention to anything. Often our obligations at work, commitments at home and an idealised version of what life ‘should’ look like have us locked in a constant state of overwhelmed and exhausted. But, what if it was possible to slow down and enjoy life more without getting less done?
If you’re rolling your eyes, then believe me I used to feel the same way but stick with me because even with my workaholic tendencies (Starsign: Capricorn through and through) I’ve learnt that slowing down is possible. It’s even a healthier and more enjoyable way to live.
Of course, we all have our own version of what this looks like but I believe that we can discover a natural and slightly slower pace that suits the season of life that we’re in right now.
It takes a little effort but doesn’t everything worth doing. Taking small consistent steps is the key and having a desire to live from a place of calm rather than overwhelm.
With that in mind, I’ve shared a few simple tips to get you started. Please use them as the start of your own journey and research into leading a slower and more enjoyable life - without getting less done!
LEARN TO MONOTASK
Did you know that multi-tasking is a myth? For years I thought that I was getting more done by juggling multiple tasks when in reality our brains simply task switch. I know that this might feel like we’re getting more done but in fact each time we switch tasks we’re creating a distraction that makes it harder - and takes longer - to return to the original task. So mono-tasking, also known as single tasking is the key to restoring focus, slowing down and getting more done. I’ll admit that it can take some time to retrain your mind and learn to complete one task at a time but it makes a world of difference.
Try taking a look at your 'things to do' and prioritise the top three, allocate a time frame for each task and work solely on it during that time. It helps to turn off all notifications and pop your phone in a drawer while you work to eliminate additional distractions.
CREATE WHITE SPACE
It’s natural to feel resistance to doing this but creating a little white space in your day helps to relieve stress by giving you a few minutes to pause and gather your thoughts. It’s helpful to make it a daily habit. Try scheduling 5 minutes for yourself at lunchtime or before you do the school run. Take these few minutes for yourself; to breathe deeply and reconnect to your heart and soul.
How many times a day do you feel overwhelmed or anxious? For most of us, it’s too many. But we’ve been armed with a tool that helps us reduce these moments - anywhere they happen. It is, of course 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 as many times as you need to feel calmer. I’ve found this practice especially helpful for those situations where you can’t leave for a moment 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. 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.
REFRESH YOUR MORNING ROUTINE
Start your day the night before by getting a good night’s rest; turn off all blue light (Screens, TV and Phone) at least an hour before bed and eat a little lighter. It can help to reduce alcohol and caffeine too. Refresh your morning routine by removing anything unnecessary - or that could be done the night before. Try adding a couple of minutes into your morning for yourself. This can be as simple as enjoying an extra minute in the shower or slowly drinking your tea while you think of three things that you’re grateful for. Here are a few more tips to help you reclaim your mornings.
BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU CONSUME
We consume more information daily than our ancestors did in a lifetime, isn’t that crazy! And while technology has moved forward, our brains haven’t quite got used to the data overload. So, not only is it important to give ourselves a break but it’s essential that we consider what we’re feeding our minds with. Is what you consume supporting your mental health and helping you move forward or is it potentially doing the opposite?
For the next 7 days observe what you consume, note whether it’s positive or negative information and see how it makes you feel. Then try to reduce the amount of information you consume - do this slowly but consistently and see if you feel any different - it’s a great experiment to try.
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.