10 Tips for Slowing Down in a World that Moves Fast
Jess recently shared her thoughts on the importance and sometimes challenge of slowing down. You can read about how her time away from instagram has helped encourage her to slow down but also how hard it can be. Summer always seems to go so fast and sometimes it can feel like there’s so much pressure to try to fit every little thing in making the most of it. There’s nothing wrong with seizing the longer days and enjoy summer to the fullest. But it’s also more than ok to slow down too. Maybe we will find we can enjoy the present moment more without constantly looking to the next activity or task. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. So I wanted to share some ideas for how to slow down, and create some time that feels rejuvenating and joyful.
10 Tips for Slowing Down in a World that Moves Fast
Let Go of the Little Things
This is a tricky one. As someone who grew up in a household where a clean, tidy house was a priority it can be hard to let go of this sometimes. If you feel like you have been moving a million miles per hour all day long and now have a long list of chores to do at home replace something small that can wait with something quiet and peaceful. If that laundry doesn’t get folded today will the world end? Could vacuuming up the dog hair wait until tomorrow or the next day? Prioritize the quiet time and you will feel so much better.
Appreciate the Little Things
Okay so I know this sounds contradictory, since I just told you to let go of the little things, but what I mean here is to try to practice mindfulness by tuning into the present moment. We all find ourselves in a daze throughout our day. Thoughts and lists running through our head. Practice bringing yourself back to the present moment. For example, in the shower instead of planning out your day ahead and all that you need to do, tune into your senses, feel the pressure of the warm water and steam on your face and body, give yourself a little extra massage and love when you rinse your body with soap.
Or while you’re driving to work or to drop your kids off at school, notice the trees, sky and houses you pass. Notice people walking their dogs or couples holding hands or hugging on the street. Capture those precious little moments and take them with you throughout your day. You will be amazed by how much you miss each day in your dazed “mundane” daily routines that may not seem so mundane anymore once you really tune into your surroundings.
Take Care of You First
When you have a long list of people and things to take care of it can be hard to prioritize yourself. If you know you have a busy day ahead wake up 30 minutes earlier to prioritize time for yourself. Maybe that means reading quietly on the porch by yourself before the rest of your family wakes up. Enjoy a cup of coffee on a quiet walk outdoors without music or a podcast. Prioritizing that quiet, peaceful time to yourself at the start of your day will set you up to feel more ready to take on everything else.
Take a Dopamine Detox
The hashtag, #dopeaminedetox has become incredibly popular recently for good reason. We are all so connected to our phones, social media, podcasts, music and television we often literally have little to no actual quiet time in our day. Even when we think we are “slowing down” and taking a walk with a podcast playing in the background, we are still getting that hit of dopamine. Check out this article about how a Dopamine Detox Can Boost Your Productivity.
If I could stress one thing, just get outside. You don’t even need to pair it with an activity like walking or biking. Literally just step outside, let your feet meet the earth. Look up into the bright beautiful sky and breath in the fresh outdoor air. Even if it’s only for a few minutes it can truly work wonders for your mood and mental health. Human beings are meant to be connected with the earth and we have become so distanced. Prioritize time to make that connection and just be. Notice the miracles of nature all around you and you will notice your perspective suddenly shifts. There is a big world around us and we so often get caught up in our own small worlds.
A friend recently shared this simple yet completely transformative practice with me when I was struggling during a particularly anxious period of time. Morning Pages was developed by Julia Cameron a writer and artist who created this simple practice as a bedrock tool of creative recovery. Basically Morning Pages is a practice where you wake up first thing in the morning and before doing anything else you write 3 pages of whatever thoughts or ideas come to your mind. There is no right or wrong way to do morning pages. And it is important to write down whatever pops into your head. I found it to be such a helpful practice to clear the clutter from my brain. And also bring to light some important themes that were arising underneath all that clutter. Watch this video and read more about Morning Pages here.
Put Your Cell Phone Down
I know we say this all the time, but seriously, take some time away from your phone. Be purposeful. Plug it in at night across the room, so you aren’t tempted to scroll late at night or first thing in the morning. Designate times to check it throughout the day. So you aren’t impulsively checking it throughout the day and getting sucked into social media or other addicting apps. By the way, I need to work on all of these things myself… So don’t worry, you are not alone!
Do a Quiet Activity
Read, do a puzzle, paint, do yoga, meditate, journal or go for a walk. Try something that doesn’t involve technology and allow yourself to be fully immersed in that activity without distractions or multi-tasking.
One of the most difficult things about taking the time to slow down and relax is the guilt and feeling of impending doom that can come with it. Accessibility through email, social media and our phones makes it hard to feel justified in clocking out from work and other responsibilities. Set boundaries around when you will start and stop checking and responding to emails and checking apps and text messages in both the morning and evenings.
Multitasking has become such a norm in our culture and is often required in so many professions and lifestyles. Think about all the things a stay at home mom does in one day, it is near impossible to get through the day without multi-tasking! BUT, if you can, try to give yourself one task at a time to deal with. For example, put your phone away while working so you can be efficient and focused with your tasks. You will find you complete them so much more efficiently and most likely with improved quality.
What ways are you slowing down in your life? How do you make time to prioritize slowing down?
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I love these tips, thank you Kelley and Jess! I’ve been reading a lot more and opting for puzzles instead of “searching for something to watch.” It’s amazing what a few days of this has done to my overall mood… I didn’t realize I’d feel a change this fast! But I just feel more at ease throughout the whole day.
Wow. That’s great to hear, Courtney. Amazing what a little quiet time can do for our mind, body and soul! Thank you for sharing!
I have a firm rule of no phones in the bedroom. This has totally transformed my mornings. Even if I head straight to the phone once I leave my room, I just find I don’t sit and scroll in bed. Nothing needs to be done on a phone the second you wake up. Need to try a few more of these out for sure!
an indigo day
Amen to that!
After a beautiful trip to Alaska where we spent 90% of our time outdoors & away from technology I couldn’t believe how beneficial it was for my family! We all felt SO much better and happier. Definitely going to read up more of these ideas that you’ve shared here to help prolong that sense of well-being.
What a wonderful trip and so special you were able to share that with your family! I’m so happy this helped you feel happy and healthier. Now how to bring that into everyday life… Thanks for sharing.
Great Post Jess!
I’m basically slowed down most of the time since I’m a caretaker to my husband with Dementia . It’s very hard seeing your loved one slip away . But, I was finding myself sad a lot and not doing anything happy for myself . No one wears a mask here in Florida and we have a high COVID rate still. We both have been boosteted by I’m still afraid not being in my 40’s any longer of getting sick. I got the energy to call up to see if I could get my hair done at my salon and my stylist had an appointment. She’s fun to chat with and she was nice enough to wear a cute mask from the package I brought her. It felt great to get out . I had a stem broken on my fave glasses and I went to lensrafters and it was empty , but they cannot be fixed. I found an exact pair I had and they popped my lenses in those and now I had like new glasses . I went to the book store and I got 2 books Grace loved and an iced Coffee . It really was amazing how I felt so much better getting out by myself . My home life won’t change much daily , but I still can do a little to get out and change my day . Thanks for the article ❤️
I’m so sorry to hear about your husband, Lynn. It must be so incredibly hard to care for him and also heartbreaking to see him sick. I’m so happy to hear you are taking the time to do things for you. You need that more than ever now! Keep it up!