Every so often we need a little reminder to pause.
For me it has come in the form of a full to do list. Nothing ground breaking – just the daily grind, an accumulation of tasks, and a few extra and exciting tasks that I signed myself up for. It’s nothing I can’t cope with, haven’t done before and it won’t be forever. However, when it starts encroaching into those little moments of calm that I’ve carved out for myself in the week, I really do notice it. It’s a good reminder for me to slow down.
I know self care can get a bit of a bad rap these days but creating space and stillness in between the chaos of everyday life is what grounds me and fuels my creative inspiration. Moreover, when I do take this time it has such a positive impact on my other tasks. I’m not talking about elaborate rituals – but small moments; exercising, getting enough sleep, getting some fresh air and space to think. This is where I get all of my creative ideas and “aha” moments.
For me “slow living” is about a practice of creating space in a fast pace world. The perfectionist part of me feels as though I should keep pushing through ticking off tasks. But I’ve learned that this is when I need space and stillness the most and that by being gentle on myself, and taking a step back, I can look at things with a new perspective and often get through my tasks more efficiently. “Gentle is the new perfect” is a phrase coined by Robyn Conley Downs of the Feel Good Effect podcast which resonated with me and which has become my mantra of late.
So, over the last week, I’ve been trying to incorporate these five simple ways to slow down into my schedule, even when I don’t have a lot of time. Slowly, things are starting to flow again.
Stillness and breath
As a child, whenever I fell and grazed my knees my mother would gather me up in her arms and say, “ok, now. Deep breaths.” until I calmed down. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, it was my first introduction into mindfulness and the importance of breath. I don’t have a mediation practice, but focusing on my breath when I’m overwhelmed always helps me feel more clear headed and calm.
A walk in nature
Going for a walk is one of my favourite ways to slow down. Whether I’m listening to a podcast, chatting to a friend on the phone or just taking in the sights, sounds, smells and scenery it never fails to inspire me and it leaves with more energy to take on my to do list.
A cup of tea
As I mention here, a cup of tea is my morning routine and sitting with my hands clasped around a ceramic vessel of warmth is one of my favourite ways to relax.
Listening to a song or podcast
There are few things more uplifting than putting on your favourite song and podcasts never fail inspire me, inform or entertain me. They are also the perfect length for a commute to help you make the most of those little pockets of time which can sometimes be overlooked.
As a self-confessed over thinker, journalling really does help me get all my jumbled thoughts out of my head and onto the page. I’ve found it to be such a helpful way to help me process these thoughts and emotions, solve creative stumbling block, gain new insights about myself, and give me a new perspective.