Winter makes us want to cocoon up and slow down. There is a very good reason this is the time many animals go into hibernation. Unfortunately we live in a society that fuels on productivity, we therefore muffle our needs to slow down and rest to work more and more. When it’s not work it’s running around to get everything checked off your to-do list, because it’s one of the only ways we know how to actually feel efficient. How do we slow down, enjoy the moment and maybe not burn ourselves out?
We’ve listed a few of the things we do in our lives to slow down below.
Setting your phone aside.
This is most likely one of the hardest things to do. While our smartphones are incredibly useful for many many things, they are also a deep source of distraction. I would be ashamed to share how many hours I spend watching the screen of my phone per day. Often, I’ll grab my phone to turn on a podcast to listen to while washing the dishes, then suddenly I’ve detoured to read an Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp notification and I’m gone for a while. Something that should’ve taken a few seconds, eats up 15 to 20 minutes just like that. We could also talk about how social media makes us want more things all the time and makes us compare each other constantly, but that’s a whole other subject ;) So anyhow, simply set aside your phone once in a while, detoxing will lighten anybody’s soul.
Keep your hands busy
Did you ever notice that when you work with your hands, your mind calms itself down? Manual work, gives our busy brains a well deserved rest. Whether it’s crafts, cooking, upholstering furniture or shoveling the snow in the driveway, these are all actions that ground us in the moment which helps in live in the moment and diminishes the anxiety that comes with worrying about the things to come.
Even if you don’t believe you are the manual type, try and find something that you enjoy and do it a few times to truly give it a chance. I didn’t think I was, but I enrolled in a pottery class a while back and I absolutely loved it! I wanted to broaden my horizons and I never felt more zen coming out of there! For three hours a week I felt extremely relaxed while I sat there at the potter wheel learning and truly disconnecting from all else. It’s no wonder that arts& crafts and Phys. Ed are student favourites! Anyhow, draw mandalas, paint with water colours, chop some wood etc. Find the activity that will keep you busy enough to not be on your phone.
Turn off the TV
Television does allow us to relax, but it also sets our brains into passive mode while stimulating our brains with the light and images it projects. It’s almost a vegetative state. There is no harm in watching it once in a while, but the problem is that a teenager spends an average of 3 hours a day in front of the television. It’s so many hours per year and if we’re all being honest, it’s rarely something that is teaching them anything great. Reality TV won’t nourish the soul like a book will, nor like so many other activities could. Let’s just leave it at that.
Ever since having a child, I’ve tried to limit my television hours and I’ve replaced it with podcasts. It’s quite interesting, there are many different subjects available and it’s the best way to not go to bed too late listening to a podcast rather than watching tv series after tv series (hello binge watching!)
Give in to nap time!
I used to whine about being so tired but I never changed anything about my routine. I would go to bed late and never napped, but ever since I’ve become a mother, I now give myself the time to nap during the day and I can’t believe I didn’t do it before! I was so scared of being labeled as the lazy one or someone who is not as productive with work or anything else for that matter. But it’s the norm for many in different countries! It’s the entire opposite if you ask me, you are hyper alert and productive after a little snooze. Everybody has different needs when it comes to sleep, so listen to your body and take the time to rest when needed. You’ll feel rested, maybe not be burnt out so entirely! There is nothing like the comfort of your own bed on a cloudy day!
Get a hobby!
In the same way that keeping your hands busy will soothe your worries by grounding you, having a hobby will also help you relax and take some time for yourself. I’ve always been an avid reader and I’ve recently discovered crochet. So I try to take a few minutes each day to do a bit of both. These few minutes make the whole difference for your daily vibes and help disconnect from the daily routine. We basically all live to work, so find something that makes your happy and do it…often! If you haven’t yet discovered what makes you tic, don’t fret, try all kinds of different things till you find something. You’ll have to pop out of your comfort zone and you’ll be surprised by your new findings.
Put together a relaxing atmosphere
There is no way that a busy and noisy environment will make you feel relaxed, so go ahead and give it all you’ve got: create a relaxing atmosphere in which you feel soothed and comfortable.
As mentioned in our book, Minimal, when the house is full, our head is full as well. Empty out your spaces (obviously we don’t mean literally but responsibly!) and set up a little nook where you are the most comfortable. Add your plants, cushions, candles, incent, anything that soothes you! Even better if your whole home feels this way. Our homes should always feel like a relaxing haven. Owning less means doing means doing more of what you love and less cleaning of all the things.
Reorganise your schedule and say no to invitations
If you are more of a visual person, set up a schedule for the week which gives you a clear view of what is going on during the week. Write out what you do hour on hour during a typical week, and then in retrospect it’s easier to see where you can carve out some time to do more of what you love. It’s a little time consuming to do so, but very well worth it in the end. You’ll see exactly where you spend all your time and energy. There is nothing better than a fresh batch of reality to refocus on what matters!
Once you’ve got more time, don’t go and say yes to all new invitations that come your way if they don’t truly resonate with you. Sometimes, doing nothing is the best thing to do. Don’t feel guilty, say no politely and enjoy the time to yourself entirely.
There are a few more activities that can help you slow down and refocus on yourself, somethings to slow down your daily routines, here are a few of our go-to’s:
- Eating at the table and not in the living room
- Spending time with our loved ones
- Practicing Cardia Coherence breathing a few times a day
- Writing a journal