Nina shares how she slows down and enjoys life.
As a child, I grew up reading the fable "The Tortoise and the Hare" over and over again. Back then, I didn’t know that this short story contained wisdom that I would revisit 20 years later and would hope to instill into my daily life as an adult.
I realized that I always rush my way through life and try to get to the “Finish Line” as soon as I can, just like the hare. Do you ever feel like that sometimes? We all live such busy lives and have to manage so many things at once: our job, our health, our relationships, our children, our pets, our home, our finances, etc. The list can go on and on. No wonder journals are coming back in style as well as productivity apps on our phones to help us keep track of what we need to do every day.
Let’s challenge ourselves to channel our inner tortoise and try to slow down a little.
How many times in the past 24 hours have you put down your phone, your computer mouse, your TV remote control, your to-do list, and stood still in the present moment for even just 5 minutes? Have you actively stopped to take in your surroundings, your senses, your thoughts, and hear your own breath? If you’re like me, this is a rare (if it even happens at all) event. I realized that I don’t know how to relax and slow down.
If you struggle with slowing down in life like me, let’s challenge ourselves to channel our inner tortoise and try to slow down a little.
Here are four tips to help you take things slow to enjoy life.
1. Spend 5-10 minutes each day doing nothing
WHAT? How do I not do something? It’s hard because we are trained to constantly be on our feet (or mentally “on”), but this is a great way to remind yourself that you don’t need to be busy to feel happy or a sense of calm. You can even call this meditation if you want. It’s simply a time you can set to being still and giving your body and mind a break from the surrounding world.
I know we are all busy and rely on our phones to keep us on track in our lives, so why not set a reminder to do this every day on your phone? Even better, use this free Insight Timer phone app to set a time limit for yourself so that you don’t accidentally go beyond the amount of time you have in your busy day to do this. Do you need a meditation cushion or decked out room for this? Nah. You just need some place (preferably away from all the hustle and bustle) to withdraw from your senses. Go outside your home for 5 minutes, take a walk, go into an empty room, or throw on headphones with some calming music if you find that you can’t get away from noise. See additional calming apps below in #3 to use as a substitute for music.
Do you find yourself rushing to work or to get a task done? Or simply rushing through life, in general, to always get to that next step (whatever it is)?
2. Stop and notice your surroundings
This is a way to be mindful in your every day. Do you find yourself rushing to work or to get a task done? Or simply rushing through life, in general, to always get to that next step (whatever it is)? Take a few moments to stop and notice your surroundings. I have found this is a great grounding tool for when I start feeling anxious and/or overwhelmed with life.
Are you outside? Take a moment to describe what you see and hear, whether it’s a tree, the sound of birds, buildings, people, etc. Are you inside? Take a moment to notice the color of the walls, the color of the chair/couch you’re on, the texture of an object that is near you, or the food that you’re eating. Although it doesn’t seem like it, this is the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness doesn’t need to be done in a group meditation class, or while being guided by a teacher, it can be done at any moment. That’s the point, actually, is to be aware of the present moment. Not the past, nor the future, but the present moment.
3. Can’t get away from your phone? Use your phone to your advantage!
I totally understand that our phones are our connections to others and to the world. Sometimes we are “on call” to our children, our spouses, family members, etc, and turning it off simply isn’t an option. Luckily, there are a number of mindfulness phone apps out there (for free!) that give you a chance to take a mental break. Check them out here and here.
Don’t rush through life and miss out on opportunities for growth because you didn’t make self-care a priority.
4. Make time for self-care
I can’t stress this enough, but make self-care a priority. Often times, the result of rushing through life is neglecting your mind, goals, health, spirituality, passion, and your overall sense of self in general. Don’t rush through life and miss out on opportunities for growth because you didn’t make self-care a priority. Taking care of yourself (mind, body, spirit) will let you be able to take effectively care of others in your life and be more present with them.
Slow down and appreciate the day-to-day. Be present to yourself and to others. We don’t want to rush through life, look back, and realize we didn’t actually live. There’s something to be said about Slow and Steady, the tortoise, taking his time and winning the race. Not only that, but he probably got to take in the beautiful surroundings of the forest as he walked down the road. Let’s follow in his (webbed and clawed) footsteps and tread through life at a pace that lets us enjoy ourselves, our surroundings, our loved ones, and our life in general. See you at the finish line!
This article originally appeared on Nina is Inspired.