There has been a rise in something called the slow movement, where people are beginning to realize the benefits of slowing down and the positive impact it can have on your life.
I know firsthand how easy it is to get caught up in life’s daily demands, pulling you in different directions. I grew up in the busy hustle and bustle of New York, where life always felt like a race I could never win.
“Busy” felt expected and something that I needed to always be, if I wasn’t busy then I wasn’t being productive enough.
More often than not, this has become our new normal in society. Do we need to feel busy, just for the sake of being busy?
We associate busy with success and wealth, among other things. So what happens when we decide to slow down? What happens when being busy all the time isn’t really what we want?
Do we lose all that success and wealth? What can we gain by living slow?
Why Is It Hard To Slow Down?
The problem is, we can’t just flip a switch and be slow. It takes time to adjust our mindsets and the ways we live our lives. We live in a world that has conditioned us to always be moving, regardless of whether it’s toward something positive or negative.
We are constantly flooded with messages telling us that we can achieve everything now and if we don’t do it right away then what is the point?
As a society, it’s time to reevaluate what the most important aspects of our lives really are and take the time to slow down and spend some quality time with ourselves, our families, and friends.
We need to become more aware of how we are spending our days. Are you filling your life up with things that actually make you happy or do you feel like there is always something missing?
Many people describe their lives as feeling incomplete, only they don’t know what’s missing or how to describe that emptiness.
If you feel stuck in a busy lifestyle and are unsure of how and when to slow down- or even if you should- here are 15 ways to start that may spark your own interest in slowing down and start living life at a slower pace.
15 Simple Ways to Slow Down in Life
1. Wake Up a Bit Earlier
Waking up earlier can be the more difficult option on this list, but may just be one of the most rewarding.
Why? Because how we start our days affects our days, and if we start them right- then we might be onto something right.
Most Mornings we tend to feel rushed and don’t pay much attention to the details or our own self-care.
By allowing yourself to take advantage of more time, and the option to have a peaceful, relaxing morning you will begin to feel more positive throughout the day.
You can take this time to have a fulfilling breakfast, morning coffee, or just take a moment to yourself.
2. Start Journaling
One activity that you can plan your early morning around is journaling.
This can be anything from a gratitude journal to a self-reflection journal.
The act of simply taking some time to think and write down your thoughts about life, the people in it, your feelings, and where you think your life is headed will allow you to think more clearly and focus on internal factors, not external ones. This allows you to slow down and reflect.
3. Set Some Time Aside to Read
Reading has the power to spark a world of thought that may be different from our own, sort of like a mini-escape from reality.
Personally, I like to listen to audiobooks over a cup of coffee. At night before bed, I like to cuddle up with a good book as it helps me to relax my mind and slow down.
Next time you feel you need to slow down, take 20-30 minutes and spend that time reading to see how you feel.
4. Listen with Intent
You can hear what another person is saying, but are you really listening? Or are you distracted by your own thoughts?
Intentional listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone.
It’s the act of truly giving all your attention to this one person, without adding your own judgment or thoughts. When we take time to really listen, we can take a break from our thoughts which allows the mind to bring focus away from ourselves and onto others.
5. Learn How to Say No
Have you ever committed to something only to regret it later on? Have you ever wondered “why did I say yes?” Is it because you may have a hard time saying no?
It’s completely natural for us to want to accommodate or please our loved ones, but when does it come to a point where it makes us unhappy or where we regret some of the commitments we’ve made to others?
Try to find a balance and practice saying no.
You can start with some small things and lead up to the bigger things. Work on becoming comfortable with saying no.
You can do this by telling the other person you want to take a moment to think about it before committing, and ask yourself “Does this serve me purpose, and will I regret saying yes later on?”
Then make a decision based on your answers to yourself. If the person respects you and your time, they will be understanding.
6. Find a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Work can be one of the biggest reasons we may find it hard to slow down.
It’s easy to become consumed with work demands and focus all our attention on this area in our lives when we really should be enjoying life.
How can we begin to find a work/life balance when at times it just seems impossible?
Here are several things you can do to create a better work/life balance:
●Take Your Lunch Break
● Try to leave work on time
● Take small mental breaks throughout the day
● Practice a hobby when you get off work
● Exercise Regularly
7. Practice Digital Minimalism
What exactly is digital minimalism, you may be wondering?
It’s the idea of using our digital devices, social media, and online activities with intention- in other words- not allowing it to consume our lives.
You can slow down by simply setting daily or weekly time limits or taking a break from social media completely.
By allowing your mind to stop processing so much information that is available online and focus your time elsewhere, you can begin to slow down.
8. Remove the Excess
Excess doesn’t always come in just digital form, excess can be in every part of your life.
For example, perhaps you have an excess of stuff- taking up too much space in your home.
Or perhaps you have an excess of baggage, that you need to let go of.
Try to cut out the clutter and focus on things that are worth it and bring positivity to your life.
Maybe make a list of everything that is significant to you, and simply eliminate the rest.
This will free up your space and your time, allowing you to eventually slow down.
9. Develop a Good Night Routine
Remember how I mentioned having a healthy morning routine before by waking up earlier?
A good night routine is just as important.
What do you look forward to when you are getting off of work? Do you like to write or read? Practice yoga or meditation?
I like ending the day with some reflection journals and listening to my favorite relaxing Spotify playlist. I make sure to try to spend 20-30 minutes nightly focused on this task.
What are some things you can add to your night routine that will help you to relax and prepare for a good night’s rest?
10. Eat slowly
This is one of the best ways to help your mind slow down. When you eat slower, you are allowing your brain to catch up with your stomach.
By eating slowly, you are allowing yourself to fully enjoy the experience of what you are eating and digest properly. Try not to multitask when you’re eating- watch
11. Appreciate the small moments
As cheesy as this may sound, the little things really do make a big difference.
Little moments can be anything from enjoying your morning coffee on your porch, to taking the dog for a walk. Maybe it’s something as simple as making yourself a nice cup of tea before bed or lighting some candles when you get in from work.
Take these small moments and appreciate them- because in a blink of an eye they may be gone.
12. Set Boundaries
As we all know, the world can be a busy place. People like to make sure they are getting things done in their lives- whether it’s working long hours, running errands, or staying on top of their social media accounts.
Find healthy boundaries in your life that allow you to slow down when needed without feeling guilty.
13. Don’t try to do a million things at once
It’s good to try to cross things off your list, but don’t feel obligated to do everything all at one time.
Take a moment and breathe in between tasks. This will give you the chance to appreciate what you have accomplished and refocus on the next part of your day.
14. Take in the present moment
There is so much to do in our lives that it can be challenging to slow down.
This is where meditation comes in handy- taking time at the beginning or end of your day for yourself to reflect and take in the present moment. Set some time aside every day for meditation, whether it’s five minutes or twenty-five.
15. Focus on your mental well-being
It’s hard to slow down when your mind is racing and filled with anxiety and stress.
Taking some time out of your day and setting some time aside for some self-reflection can help manage those feelings, as well as ensure that you are eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep at night.
The Importance of Slowing Down
We don’t want to say that slowing down is easy. This isn’t the case at all; most of us are constantly on the go and trying to gain more control over our lives.
When we can take time out for ourselves, though, it helps reduce stress, improves our mental health, and allows us to appreciate the small moments in life -which makes you feel all-around better.
At the end of the day, it comes down to making prioritizing your mental health a priority. Do what you can to slow down and take care of yourself in any way possible.
The Benefits of Slowing Down
Below are just some of the benefits one can experience by slowing down.
- Connect with your loved ones
- Create a healthy lifestyle for yourself
- Allows your mind to process everything better
- Creates Better Relationships and Bonding Opportunities
- Builds Self Awareness and Reflection on Life
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety
- Increases Happiness and Positive Mindset
- Improves Sleep Quality
- Maximize Productivity Levels
By applying these practical ways to slow down listed above, you will be able to relax and focus on what truly matters. You will also make better decisions when it comes to how you want to live your life.
These are all things that can help us find some balance in our lives and begin to feel less overwhelmed about the fast-paced world we’re living in.
Are you ready to start reaping the benefits of a slow life? How will you decide to start slowing down? Share in the comments below!