Most people, including me, forget what it is like to just slow down. The fact is there are always going to be things to do, tasks to conquer, appointments to juggle and an inbox that rarely stays empty because, hey, it’s an inbox. Yet, if we can occasionally step away from the ever-growing to-do lists, the million errands to run, the work deadlines, the kids’ sports (dear goodness, the kids sports!), the “go, go, go” mentality, ALL of it, we can be better off mentally, physically and emotionally. It is ok to step away from it all time to time because let’s face it, you’re totally worth it, hot stuff!
So it is crazy, almost sheer madness to think the holidays are just around the corner, right? Yet, they are a’coming, and we know how hectic our lives can become then…eek!! So what better time to start if you are someone who struggles to slow down; break the perception that taking “you” time to enjoy hobbies or the little things in life or taking a power nap hampers or derails your productivity. Productivity is undeniably awesome, but so is living a life with balance and reduced stress. Try to expel the notion you always have to be doing something, and instead, just be.
Kids need this mentality instilled in them, too. How many times do we hear them say, “I’m bored!” Well, tough luck little cutie cream puffs, because kids need to learn how to occupy and entertain themselves at times, as well as learn they can’t always–or shouldn’t always–be on the go or doing something every second. I’m guilty of this; I have created this sweet little “I’m bored” child who has been insanely spoiled and taken to anywhere and everywhere, and so much of what has been ingrained in him is to “go, go, go.” So, we are both a work in progress; I have made it one of my goals to do better in this department because it is so important.
Here are some tips to help slow down and embrace the time to do “nothing”; from within that nothing (whether that is journaling or exercising more or volunteering more), you might just find you are nurturing your mind, body, and soul in the best ways.
– Read. Every. Day. It doesn’t matter what you read, just read. Books, articles, blogs; keep your mind sharp.
– Journal at least once a week. Reflection is critical to self-growth, yet also provides a sense of peace. Write down your thoughts. Process your feelings about work, goals, health, fitness, relationships, etc. Journal about why you are happy, or what makes you sad or disappointed. What changes would you like to see in your life, and how will you incorporate them? What struggles do you face, and how can you manage the stress associated with those? What are you proud or excited about…revel in that! Are you angry with someone? Are you feeling particularly bothered by something? Write down your thoughts and witness how much better you feel…
– Take time to unplug; put away that phone. Everyone needs to recharge at some point, apart from devices. This is particularly important for parents and kids; spend quality time together without what I call “device distraction.” Be present in every way, not just physically with a phone in your hand! Think about how many times your child has seen you on your phone…
– Try to turn off the TV as well as stay off of devices at least a half-hour before bedtime, as these often activate our brain and keep us awake. Unplugging will help your mind relax and prepare for bedtime.
– Speaking of bedtime, get a good night of sleep! Aim for a minimum of 7 hours, but extra credit if you put yourself in a position to sleep for 8 hours (or more). Sleep is SO important; just watch and enjoy how your mood, appetite, and energy levels improve because you banked more zzzzz’s!
– Take walks, preferably without your phone. Enjoy nature. Think. Reflect. Repeat.
– Do yoga, meditation and/or stretching at least once a week (ideally 2-3 times a week). Not only does yoga help with your mobility and flexibility, but it helps relax your mind and get your body in sync. Focus on your breath, and enjoy releasing stress.
– Meal prep, especially breakfast and lunch; have healthy options available daily, so you are not tempted to reach for junk or grab fast food, which usually does not make people feel their best.
Overall, ensure you are making yourself a priority, and enjoy the ride as you implement some of these changes. After all, sometimes doing nothing can mean everything on your journey in this crazy life!