Are you caught up in the break-neck scramble of life? Is your life whizzing by in a jiffy, and your to-do list mounting, and cluttering your life further? Are there five different things you planned to do last week, but ended up doing just one or two, or none?
Can’t slow down?
Don’t worry, you ain’t alone in this. I’m in the same boat as you. And now as the month-long festive season is upon us, it’s going to be no mean task to accomplish all that we wanted to. This along with cherishing mindful moments during the course of your day. I write this post not just to inspire you, but also to nudge myself to break away from the whirl-wind of life, and take some time to just breathe, and slow down. That said, yes, I have stopped to smell the flowers more often than not, more recently. Yet, life continues to take over in more ways than one.
Recently while talking to a few friends and family, and putting my own thoughts together; I cracked the code on how to go about slowing down.
Here are six Productive Ways to Slow Down (and Smell the flowers more often):
1. Create a Schedule and Stick to it: When you create a schedule, it simplifies your life and helps you break down your day into work time, rest time, work-out time, chill-out time, reading time, meal time, TV time and so on, so forth. On some odd day, it’s alright to not follow the pattern to the T, but on most days strive to stick to this pattern. You will surprise yourself in extraordinary ways, and see how your life simplifies in the process of following a schedule.
2. The Cardinal To-Do List: Make one every night before bed-time, or every morning before you start your day. Maybe when you are savouring your morning cuppa; a good time to put your phone away, reflect and plan. Focus on the important tasks and then the secondary ones. If need be, break down the to-do list into more achievable segments. Instead of, “I shall declutter my entire wardrobe today.” Go with ” I shall declutter two or even one shelf of my wardrobe, and the other shelves, one or two at a time, in the coming days.” The latter works better.
In case you are not able to tick off the entire to-do list by the end of the day, don’t beat yourself silly. Acknowledge yourself and give yourself that much needed pat on the back, for accomplishing the ones you did. The rest can happen in the coming days. But, do make sure you stick to your timeline of finishing the ones that figure in the priority list.
3. Make Time for Play: All work and no play make Niharika/Rishi a dull humanoid.
Allot a chunk of your day, for your hobbies. It could be reading, making art, whipping a special meal, or baking, or simply listening to your favourite playlist, or a new one, stepping out for a relaxed walk, playing a game of scrabble. Whatever stokes your inner goddess or inner goodness, for that matter!
4. Revel in Nothingness: Give nothingness a go; even if for five or ten minutes a day to begin with. Revel in just being, and not doing. How about gathering your thoughts and being mindful and in the moment. Listening to the sounds around you, looking at wispy clouds above or gazing at your balcony of greens? Or just looking outside your window and watching people and vehicles go by.
I was observing our money plant just now. It has grown into a healthy creeper and spreads it’s tendrils across the tinted green Heineken bottle, on our dining table. Gazing at the hued leaves, the tender new ones, the flourishing roots in the bottle, the tendrils entwined in a circle of love; all this make for a very calming exercise. Do give this a go.
You could also spend this time mediating and focussing on your breath. Let the thoughts float around like a butterflies. Bring your attention to the moment and just be.
5. Become One with Nature: This exercise works like wonders. Walk barefoot on the dew kissed grass, hug a tree and experience the hug being returned two-fold. It’s Autumn in our part of the world, and the flourishing flora have put their best foot forward, leaving us enchanted each day. Step out of the confines of your home, switch off from technology, leave that phone behind, and watch nature unfurl its delightful gifts.
6. Technology Detox: Vow to put your phone away, or on airplane, or silent mode each evening around a certain time. I do so at 9 P.M. and then I spend time talking to my children, reading a book, before I turn in around 10/10:30 P.M. I was inspired by Vasantha, a talented blogger who practises mindfulness to the hilt.
Try not to peek into your phone, first thing in the morning when you open your peepers. Instead, splash some water on your face, sip on a glass of warm water, munch into some nuts, and then begin your day with few gentle breathing exercises. I wake up at 5 A.M. and have allowed myself the liberty to check my phone post my morning walk, at 6:30 A.M. I am hoping to push that a bit further to 8 A.M. Let’s see. 🙂
It’s also a good idea to delete social media from your phone. And if you can’t do so, as your work entails social media engagements, then appropriate certain hours of the day, to log on to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. I deleted Twitter and Facebook from my phone over a month back. So yes, I haven’t really kept up with what’s happening in people’s lives, or who trolled whom, or who pouted the best on their holiday to Galle!
To be honest, I am at peace. I check my Facebook or Twitter feed once or twice a day now, and post on Insta only when I can. I spend quality time with my family and my furry girls, and have more time to myself. Though I must admit again, I am still in the process of learning how to slow down and smell the flowers more often.
Do you have any other tips that help you slow down? Life is a learning curve, we get inspired, we learn, and we also gather valuable lessons for ourselves, when we try to inspire others. Would love to hear your thoughts on slowing down. Do share what measures you take to slow down and live a more mindful and meaningful life.
Can Slow Down, Only if You Want To
Linking up with the super talented Corinne Rodrigues for a round of #MondayMusings #MondayMotivation/#MondayBlogs
This post has also been inspired by Modern Gypsy/Shinjini’s #TheMindfulBreak forthright.