Remember when Sundays were spent enjoying time with family, and dinner time was spent gathered around the table going over the highlights of your day? Sadly, this isn’t the norm anymore. While some people may still have this kind of time, many of us are struggling to make time to go to the bathroom, let alone cook an entire meal.
All of this rushing is no good for anyone and is only making the world stressed out, full of anxiety, and booming with irritation and anger.
That is why it is vital for everyone to learn how to slow life down, live in the present moment, take some time to breathe, relax, and recoup without feeling like you’re doing something wrong.
Why Slow Down
Slowing down is essential for a balanced life. Lately, we are all so swept up with just keeping up with everyday life; we lose focus of the things that matter most, things such as our families, our health, our faith.
We spend so much time working hard for better days; we can’t even enjoy them when they get here. It is time for the world to take on a slower pace and just breathe.
8 Rules for Slowing Down and Enjoying Life
Slowing things down and learning to enjoy daily life are crucial these days. Without a little relaxation or stress relief every so often, you will find yourself living a monotonous life that is unproductive and lacking in excitement.
Being overworked, over-stressed, anxious, and busy all of the time is not good for anyone’s mental or physical health. That is why we prepared a list of 8 rules you should follow to take a slower approach to life and enjoy it to its fullest. Remember, you only get one.
1. Connect With Nature
Have you ever come across anything more calm and peaceful than being out in nature? Breathing in the fresh air, taking in the beautiful scenery, and hearing the sounds of the planet is a simple way to slow down your mind and your busy life.
While it would be nice to have the availability to stay outside all day every day, it isn’t likely going to fit into your busy routine. Thankfully, enjoying nature can be a small thing! Try taking your lunch break outside and heading to the park for a picnic. This small change can shift the way you focus and feel during the second half of your day.
You can even try packing your bags, a tent, and the family dog, and going on a camping adventure for a weekend. Hopefully, spending time outside will have you returning to your life a little less stressed out and a little more relaxed.
2. Just Breathe
If you have never tried meditation before, now is the time to do it. The pace and depth of each breath you take effects your mental and physical health more than you would think.
Deep breathing daily increases the amount of oxygen going to your brain, stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system and inducing a calming effect over your entire body. When you are in a calm state, your heartbeat slows down, your muscles relax, and your blood pressure decreases. All of these things are crucial to a healthy body and mind.
When you learn to add slowness to your breathing and inhale deeply, you are giving your mind the sense of calmness, letting it know it is okay to take a break, to relax.
So the next time someone says, “take a deep breath,” don’t be offended or frustrated! Pay attention to your breath, and just do it.
3. Wake Up Earlier
One thing people benefit from when attempting to slow down life is waking up earlier than before. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic change, and we are not asking you to switch your 6 am alarm to 5. Even just giving yourself an extra 15 min each day in your morning routine to take your time helps! Use this time to move a bit slower, sip your coffee on the porch for a little bit longer, or walk your dog an extra block.
Some people take that extra time to do 10 minutes of exercising; this boosts your heart rate, helps you wake up quicker, and prepares you for your day.
You might even want to consider trying out a mantra. Having a mantra (or a few) that you can say to yourself every single morning before your feet ever hit the floor is going to aid in boosting your confidence. With the right mindset, you can work through all the busyness of modern life.
4. Volunteer Your Time
Volunteering your time may seem like you’re just adding another duty or obligation to your schedule. However, many people find that by volunteering their time and practicing gratitude, they start to cherish the things they have in life.
Volunteering in places like homeless shelters or food banks helps you learn to appreciate life and the things you have and worked hard for. It will give you time to take a moment and reflect on how important the people you love are and how important it is to spend all the time you have with them.
5. Clean Up
A cluttered home leaves you with a cluttered mind. Keeping your home clear of chaos, clutter, piles, and stacks is going to help you slow things down physically and mentally.
Taking the time to organize each room and find a place for everything you own will save time, whether it’s time cleaning up a mess every day or searching for that missing item even though you know you just had it.
Maybe it is time to toss out some of your old things or donate the items you keep out of guilt or obligation even though you hadn’t used them in years. Sometimes less is more, and when there is less stuff around to worry about, you have free time to relax and enjoy the objects in your life that have meaning or serve a purpose.
6. Open Your Schedule
So many people these days keep their schedules over-packed leaving little time for themselves or any type of downtime. There is no reason to over-book yourself, and it is crucial for everyone to learn what things are priorities and what can wait.
If your job keeps you running from day to night, it could be time for you to take a moment to think about whether or not it is worth it. Are these 60+ hours a week only temporary? Is it a short detour to your intended path? Or, is it a never-ending cycle that fills up your days, nights, weekends?
If the answer is the latter, you may want to consider choosing another road that will take you to your desired life, with fewer speed bumps and roadblocks getting in your way.
If your schedule is full of obligations and appointments you can’t get away from, ask for help. These days people see asking for help as a sign of weakness; no one wants to admit they can’t do it all. The truth is, everyone needs help from time to time, and asking for it sooner than later will save you from digging yourself so deep the end seems too far out of reach.
Maybe your parents can take your child to soccer practice tonight, or your spouse can walk the dog. Ask a coworker to tackle one of your backlogged projects. There is always a way to free up time if you are willing to ask for assistance now and again. And hey, you deserve it.
7. Put Down The Devices
It would be an amazing feeling to say, chuck all of your devices out of the window. Smash your iPhone on the floor and take a baseball bat to your tablet, but in reality, this is no longer an option for any of us.
Due to advanced technology, a worldwide pandemic, and an increase in working hybrid or remote, devices are here to stay. However, they don’t have to be on or in your hands 24-7.
It is critical for all of us to “unplug” a little each day. Shutting off your cellphones, ignoring those emails, and closing social media sites will help remind you of the things you did before technology took over the world.
When you don’t have a screen in front of you, you will forget (for a moment) how rushed you are for time, when that deadline is up, and what time your next meeting is scheduled for. You simply have time for yourself.
What can you do with your time now that you are powered down?
- Go for a walk
- Go for a run
- Play with your dog (or kids) in the backyard
- Visit a beach
- Read a book
- Read two books
- Learn yoga
- Sit in silence
- Learn to dance
- Have a conversation
- Sign up for an art class
- Take a nap
- Teach your dog a new trick
- Take a long bike ride around your town
The world is full of wonders, just waiting for you to go out and start enjoying them again. Find time in your day to put down your electronics to just be you.
8. Make a To-Do List
Now, this may seem a little counter-intuitive but just hear us out. Make yourself a to-do list or an I-want-to-do list. We’re not talking about chores here! Write out an entire list of all the things you want to do, try, or experience, and make time to check those items off.
Visualizing the things you want to do that you just don’t have time for will help encourage you to slow down and make time for them. Make time to enjoy life. You can add big goals, small goals, goals that others may see as strange. Whatever you want to do in life that will make you happy once you experience it is essential and should be achievable.
Once you start checking off your to-do’s, you will begin noticing yourself adding more and more to the list, and you will start to find more time to do these things because of how good it makes you feel. You will begin to slow down and enjoy the things that mean the most, allowing you to live a full and enriched life.
Slowing it Down One Step at a Time
Now that you have so many different suggestions on how to slow things down and start to enjoy living, you probably want to jump right on in! It can be scary, though, moving from such a fast pace to life in the slow lane.
The truth is, we are all so stuck in our ways, it can be hard to slow things even the tiniest bit. The best way to start slowing down is baby steps. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or go too big too soon and get in over your head.
Ease into freeing up time by waking up 10 minutes earlier than usual or going to bed 10 minutes later. Instead of scrolling through Facebook in between meetings, take a walk outdoors.
As soon as you get the hang of it, you will be more likely to find ways to squeeze in some of your time a little more often and pass up that extra shift at work more times than not.
What is the point of living life when you are not allowing yourself any time to enjoy it? We were all put on this earth for a reason, and it wasn’t to let life pass us by. Follow the rules listed above to begin your slow living lifestyle, and live your one life to its very fullest.