Sometimes you know you need to rest, but you don’t know how to slow down.
I feel that. Hard.
Today is labor day and I just got back from a much needed vacation. It gave me time to evaluate several things about life.
One of the things that’s been on my mind is how to slow down. I’ve been thinking about this a LOT in the last few weeks. Before I went on vacation I got a mild stomach bug and had a healing session. One of the messages that came through after the sesson? You are so tired.
And I was. I had been doing so much – in so many different ways. That day (also the day of the eclipse) I took a day to rest. I slept plus drank a lot of water and herbal tea.
Leading up to that moment, I had been getting messages to slow things down (it’s all through THE PROSPEROUS COACH book I talked about here). About a year ago I got a message from my guides at the time to practice stillness… but I couldn’t figure out how to slow down when I was functioning from an ever-expanding to-do-list.
Things needed to slow down.
I was just too busy.
We’re all too busy.
Life is so cluttered these days with shiny objects, new fashions, trendy activities, and expectations. I’ve heard it said that these days success is measured by how busy we are – that when we’re asked, “How are you?” the “correct” answer is “Busy.”
But what does busy get us? When I think of busyness, I think of doing too much, most of it meaningless or pointless. At the very least, a lot of busyness is thoughtless. It feels like the whole point is to keep you from sitting down with the things that matter – of making real progress in life.
For this reason, the mark of success is not busyness – but rather, inspired stillness.The mark of success is not busyness – but rather, inspired stillness. #intentionalliving Click To Tweet
One can ALWAYS be busy. There are always more things that COULD be done. Anywhere we look, there is something that could be improved, something that could be streamlined, something that could be more wonderful. There’s always something.
But inspired stillness? That takes art.
What is Inspired Stillness?
This means being more deliberate in how you spend your time.
For example, it would be easy to get caught up in the expectations of others and think you needed to take the kids to a hundred different activities after school, volunteer at church AND school AND the local charity, PLUS trying to squeeze in workouts, friends, and all the regular house things that need to be done.
Wow. That sounds… awful!
After all that, there’s no time for partner relationships, and there’s REALLY no time for the self!
Instead, you could cut out the extra activities for the kids and let them pick the one they really love. You could volunteer at 1 organization (and alternate years serving at different organizations). Those small tweaks uncluttered that schedule and slowed everything down so much! Just doing that FEELS better, and this is just a hypothetical!
Create Some Stillness in Life (A.K.A. How to Slow Down)
While the above example might help you get a general idea of how to create some stillness by decluttering your schedule, there are other more concrete ways and practices you can use to create stillness and slow down life.
Garden or Spend Time in Nature
Plants move, but it’s barely noticeable to us. Every movement with a plant is intentional. Connecting with plants can really help you slow down because they are the perfect role model!
To connect with plants, I like to just take a walk through my neighborhood, go to a park, or sit outside. I pay attention to all the plants around and that is enough to help me be really mindful of where I am and what is going on around me. It’s like an instant slow down!
If the idea of sitting still for a while is just too much for you, or you prefer to have some physical task, gardening may be a good route. Gardening allows you to slow down and pay attention to the plants in a very physical way. To be extra intentional, spend some time learning about permaculture and wild gardening to maximize the highest good of the task!
Take a Bath
What could be more slowing than a bath over a shower? While baths might not be feasible much of the time, planning for one at least once a week (or in a pinch, every other week) can make a real difference in how you feel about life.
Now, you can get into a bath and it can just be you floating in water, or you can turn it into an AMAZING self-care ritual. There are lots of ways for you to do this:
- Play some peaceful music. These days I’ve been enjoying this kalimba track to relax!
- Get yourself a bath caddy – the perfect place to put your wine, herbal tea, book, or Kindle! While I don’t have one, I’ve been eying them and fantasizing!
- Add some epsom salts or magnesium chloride to your bath to soothe skin and joints.
- For a more luxurious experience, grab a bath tea, bomb, milk, or oil. I’m a big fan of lavendar and rose scents!
- A bath pillow will make lounging in the tub for a along time extra awesome (I don’t have one yet but I’ve been eying and fantasizing!).
Get a Planner or Bullet Journal
It sounds a little counter-intuitive, but hear me out! When you’re paying attention to your schedule, you’re less likely to overbook yourself. Also, there’s something about using the daily pages in my bullet journal that keeps my task list not only manageable, but enjoyable.
This is because it feels good to be able to cross off EVERYTHING from my list. If I make my list of tasks too long, I won’t be able to cross them all off.
Beyond this, keeping my bullet journal open next to me during the day (like right now!) keeps me on task and prevents me from doing extra and unnecessary tasks. I’m not busy for the sake of busy – I’m productive.
If you prefer someone to structure your notebook for you, get an already set up planner. On the other hand, if you like control and being able to add and remove things as you go, then a bullet journal is more your speed.
Want to get started? For tips about how to use a bullet journal to live intentionally, check out this guide post here.
Read a Book
In our fast paced world, to slow down it’s important to get away from videos. Reading an article or even a blog post (although I do love you reading this – it’s just not going to cut it!) is not going to slow you down enough. Instead, you need to read a book.
It could be any book and it could be on an ereader or it could be a physical book. But an audio book isn’t going to slow you down. No. You need to actually read the book.
While I know many people like ereaders, and they are perfectly fine and helpful for a lot of people, I prefer a physical book. This is the MOST slow you can go (heh)!
This is because it forces you to physically open the book, sit, and turn the pages as you move through the book. I LOVE the way it feels to read a physical book (it’s why I only discuss physical books on this blog).
For this reason, I really recommend adding a book to your daily routine (bonus: this is a habit a lot of very successful people have!). Visit the library, the second hand shop, or your local bookstore and grab something fascinating. Set the intention to read at least 30 minutes a day and see how your life starts to slow down!Set the intention to read at least 30 minutes a day and see how your life starts to slow down! Click To Tweet
No post about slowing down would be complete WITHOUT referencing meditation! I know I talk about meditation ALL the time – but it’s a great way to slow you down and focus on what really matters. Because I’ve talked so much about meditation, I’ll direct you to my other posts to help you with different areas of meditation:
- Get started with meditation here.
- Use the techniques in this post to manage stress and anxiety.
- Have a transcendent experience with the meditation in this post.
- Find more balance with the mindfulness practice here.
Because I’ve talked a LOT about this in other posts, I’m not going to get in TOO deep BUT I will say this: be patient with yourself if you’re just starting out. Take a look at the posts above and find a practice that works for you. Sometimes as you get more into a practice you may want to splurge on tools:
- Some people really like a mala or prayer beads to help them focus their meditation. This can be especially helpful if you want to focus on things you appreciate, are visualizing, or using a mantra.
- Personally, I have found sitting up to meditate really uncomfortable without good support. For this reason you may want to invest in a good meditation pillow or meditation bench.
- Sometimes it will be nice to have additional aids to create a sacred space and get you in the mood. Some crystals or a singing bowl can be really wonderful to focus your meditation or a Himalayan salt lamp to give your space a soft glow.
Let me be clear – you don’t need any of these things to begin your practice. As you develop and explore your practice however, you may find you want additional aids to enhance your meditation.
Slow Down and Enjoy
These are just a few ways you can learn to slow down and enjoy your life – but there are plenty of others! Whatever you choose to do, make sure it feels good for you and enhances your life rather than feeling like another chore. Slowing down should feel amazing. So be gentle with yourself and go with your gut. You’ll be amazed at how these little things will make a big difference!