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I’m writing this post not only for all of you, but also for me.  So I hope I’m listening. ;)

Sometimes, we move too fast.  We do too much.  We try to cram just a little bit more into an already packed day.  We stress ourselves out trying do, be, and have everything.

For what?  We can’t enjoy any of it.  If we’re so stressed out trying to do everything, then in some ways, we’re not really doing anything.  Nothing that matters, anyway.

Slow It On Down

I’ve been convicted recently that I need to move more slowly.  Not every moment of every day needs to be occupied with something.  I don’t have to fold laundry while I watch a movie just so I didn’t “waste” that time.  It’s not a waste — I’m resting and spending time with my family, and that’s important.

If we’re constantly doing chores, exercising, cooking, working — we’re missing some important parts of life.  Every time a child asks you to read a book and you say “No, I have to finish this,” that’s one missed opportunity.  Some day there will be no more opportunities, and you may wish you had them again.  (I feel this way every time they ask me to play, read, etc. and I feel guilty if I say no even if I have just spent an hour playing with them.)

Everyday is one opportunity in your life.  What’s most important to you right now?  What are your long-term goals?  There has to be some balance there.  The dishes do need to get done.  Your kids need some love and attention.  And that book you’re writing for the future needs some work too.

But…it doesn’t all have to be done now.

Plan less in a day.  Enjoy more.

The Health Benefits of “Slow”

Slowing down can help to reduce our stress.  It can help us to be less likely to suffer from an ulcer, heart disease, or other complications.  Stress depletes magnesium, and low magnesium can lead to being at risk for obesity, diabetes, and so much more!

Truly, our health benefits when we slow down.

We also benefit from being able to think more clearly.  Stress puts us in a fight-or-flight state where our higher-level thinking doesn’t work so well.  When we move more slowly, we actually do a better job on the tasks we choose!  Quality is more important than quantity, in this case.

Improved relationships are another side effect.  When you’re rushing around, you’re not taking the time to stop and connect with others.  When you’re moving more slowly, you have a chance to really focus and that can improve relationships!

How to Slow Down

It sounds great, but…how does it work?  How do you really make sure you slow down?

Write a To-Do List

Sounds silly when you’re trying to do less, but you’ll always have things that need done.  Write them down and then prioritize so you know what is a “must” and what is a “maybe.”  Cross more of those “maybes” off your list than you used to.

Get a Slow Start

If we get up at 7, I don’t plan to be anywhere before 10 most of the time.  Occasionally we’re up earlier or we just get things done faster so we do get out early, but I try not to plan anything.  We like to have slow mornings to talk, do our chores, eat our breakfast, etc. without rushing around.

Say ‘No’ More

Not everything is important.  Sometimes you have to just say no!  Lately, I think about what my goals in life are.  We only get one shot at it!  If the activity I’m looking at is not necessary and does not further my goals, I say no.

Take Days Off

Pick some days where your only goal is to have fun, rest, enjoy your family.  No work (besides the absolute musts, like preparing meals, changing diapers, etc.).  This is not wasted time; it’s necessary.  Repeat that if you are like me and want to constantly be “doing something.”

Change Your Mindset

Really the biggest thing is…change your mindset.  If you think you always need to rush around and be “doing something” in order to be happy or good or something, you will.  If you see rest and relaxation and connection with others as just as important as all that “work” then you will move slower.

Do you need to slow down?  What do you do to relax?


This is the writings of:

Kate is wife to Ben and mommy to Bekah (5), Daniel (4), Jacob (2), and Nathan (born March 2013). She is passionate about God, health, and food. She has written 7 cookbooks and a book entitled A Practical Guide to Children's Health. When she's not blogging, she's in the kitchen, sewing, or homeschooling her children. You can also find her as a contributor at Keeper of the Home.

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2 Comments

  1. God taught me this in a BIG way, when He slowed me down, permanently! I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1992 and more recently have confirmed that I have total adrenal exhaustion. I’m single so I have to work to support myself, as much as I can. As it is, I can only work so much and depend on my parents for the difference.

    When I first started to get sick (back in 1990), I was the typical Christian single “yuppie”: working full-bore, doing all the planned and extra activities related to the singles fellowship at church, serving in every way I could fit in. It wasn’t unusual for me to work all night at the hospital, immediately go into a full day’s activities with the singles group or at church, and go directly from there back to another shift at the hospital. What fools we all were. :) What I learned (and continue to learn whenever I am tempted by comparisons) is that there can be so much pride in “filling up my day”. There was that sense of personal accomplishment and ‘Hey! look what I can do!” by overfilling our lives. We actually would almost brag to each other about how much we had packed into each day – and if you weren’t performing up to the par, you really felt like there was something wrong (and/or sinful) about the way you were conducting your life.

    Even now, I have to check the pride that makes it easy for me to start to compare my “accomplishments” (or lack thereof) with what other people report on about their days. I watch the young families around me, and even my siblings and their families and see that they are constantly rushing from one thing to another, rarely home (even when homeschooling), filling every possible space with activities and events and “doing.” And I wonder why they choose to live this way?

    I LOVE the idea of the slow mornings you wrote about for your own family. What a blessing for everyone! :)

    So, yes! slow down while you have the choice to do so – and can enjoy it, before you *have* to do so. :)

    Reply

  2. I can’t slow down… if I do, then I get lazy and NOTHING gets accomplished and I get behind, including the cooking. Getting behind totally stresses me out. I perform best with time constraints and thrive with multiple things on my plate. I rarely have a day when I don’t have to be somewhere at a certain time (basic stuff like work, class, meetings, picking up kiddo at preschool, making sure I beat the bus home so the older kids don’t come home to an empty house, etc.). We do limit the kids’ extracurricular activities to prevent total craziness and give them time to just play or do whatever they want. Only 2 non-school activities per kiddo are allowed at a time, but multiply that by 3 kids and it can get hairy… especially when sports are involved. I understand what you mean, but it is so MUCH easier to have “slow days” with younger kids than with older ones!

    Reply

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