I am not sure about you, but I feel like I am constantly waiting for the time in life when things will slow down. Between juggling full-time work, co-running a household, volunteer commitments, raising young children, maintaining friendships, personal exercise and wanting to support all the emotional needs of the family, it’s no wonder ‘busy’ is the standard state of being.
The immediate response that comes to mind when asked the question ‘how are you?’ is ‘busy!’. There is always a long list of tasks to be completed and jobs to do and with that comes feelings of stress and overwhelm.
For me, respite from the busyness comes in some form when holidays arrive, though with a young family I am perhaps not less busy, just busy in a different form. My husband and I want to provide stimulating and memorable holiday experiences for our children that are also chances to connect and strengthen family relationships. The desire to provide this type of holiday requires time and effort to both plan and deliver and therefore means that even on holidays (and even more so in the lead-up to them) we continue to be busy just with a different focus.
I know I am not alone in this constant state of busyness or in the desire to slow down and experience a slower pace of living. I have had conversations with fellow parents, colleagues, friends and community members lamenting their similar experiences and similar desire for a slower pace of life.
So the burning question is, how can this be achieved?
How do we actually slow down?
I have personally discovered that perhaps the biggest challenge to achieving a slower pace of life, is the re-setting of expectations and goals that align with the decision to slow down. This re-set does not necessarily have to involve a dramatic change, such as resigning from a job or moving to live in a quieter location, just consistently applying some simple steps can bring about the desired outcome.
Such simple steps could include:
- Daily prayer or meditation
- Focusing on a single task at a time – stop multi-tasking
- Reduce time spent on social media
- Reduce time spent on the phone
- Pausing throughout the day to take some deep breaths
- Writing in a gratitude journal
- Decluttering – around the home or workspace
- Regular exercise, such as a brisk walk
Daydreaming – a joy of slowing down
There can be many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits gained from slowing down, but perhaps one of the things I delight in the most when I have slowed down my life for a period, is the joy of day dreaming. The human mind can only wander and daydream when it is given the freedom to do so as a result of the absence of constant demands. The first step is always to quiet the mental noise in the mind. Just the thought of having time to daydream brings such uplifting feelings that excite and reenergise me.
Slowing down sounds simple, yet it takes self-discipline to be able to achieve. If this article has inspired or reminded you about the joy you feel when life is slightly slower, I pray that you are able to take the steps in your life to slow down and that you find peace and joy in doing so.
Merewyn Foran is married, a mother to two teenage step-daughters and two younger children. She is a senior executive in a Melbourne not for profit organisation.
Merewyn Foran previous articles may be viewed www.pressserviceinternational.org/merewyn-foran.html