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.