I move at the speed of light. Seriously- nothing can ever be done fast enough, I am constantly in a rush and everyone else walks too slow. While this is great for productivity, I’m not sure the benefits outweigh the cons. Accompanied with this speed is a constant feeling of stress and anxiety. Oftentimes, I will be rushing through my laundry only to realize I had an entire night ahead of me and there was absolutely no reason for such pressure.
I have been this way for as long as I can remember, and as much as I can use this personality trait to my benefit, I also need to slow down. Sometimes progress comes to a halt because of means out of our control, and sometimes you don’t need to step on the heels of the person in front of you just to reach your destination one minute faster.
The following are some ways I try to slow down and take in my surroundings. You will be surprised on what you missed out on while zipping through life.
Exercise outside, immediately after work
I find that taking time to be in nature instantly calms me down. I discovered a park in my town that runs parallel to the water on one side and through trees on the other. I pack my workout clothes the night before and head directly to this park after work at least once a week. I leave my phone in the car and take time to breath in the fresh air. Walk, run, do yoga, whatever works for you. Sometimes even stepping away from the gym can slow your mind and make you realize life is not a race.
Take yourself shopping every once in awhile
I constantly feel like I don’t have time or money to shop. However, on the rare occasions I do let myself browse, I find the hours passing without a care in the world. I get drawn in by the candles burning in Anthropology and the Christian music filling the air in Altar’d State. Sometimes treating yourself is the reminder you need to relax every once in awhile.
I recently purchased a few cacti and a succulent (in hopes that I can’t kill them) and enjoy having my “children” to look after. It forces me to slow down to water them and research how to best care for them. They also instantly calm me down when I step through the doors. They bring life into my apartment in a way that makes me stop to… smell the cacti? 🙂
Go to therapy
I am a big believer in the power of counseling and realized it slows me down- in a good way. Sometimes I’ll think, ‘I just don’t have time to go to counseling this week,’ but I always walk out feeling a million times better. You don’t have to go every week, go every other week and recognize it is only an hour of your time and an investment in your health. They can also help you pinpoint why your stressors and find other ways to slow down.
This one may seem obvious, but it is something I often forget to do. When my mind is going a million miles an hour as I’m trying to relax at night, drinking some chamomile or peppermint tea forces me to slow down-. One, so I don’t burn myself and two, because it is comforting. I often fall asleep much faster if I have tea after dinner.
Ultimately, it takes realizing that life will go on if you don’t finish cleaning your bedroom by 8 p.m., or even until Friday. This is something I struggle with every day, but work mindfully to combat. While progress is great, running yourself to the ground is not.
What do you do to relax and take in the moment?