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Six Productive Ways to Slow Down: #MondayMusings #MondayBlogs #TheMindfulBreak

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.

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Sunday Doodling, my First #Inktober entry

 

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!

Revel in just being, and not doing. Click To Tweet

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.

 

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On my Walking Path, On an Early Morning Walk

 

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.

 

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At the Beatles Ashram or Mahesh Yogi Ashram, Rishikesh: The Subtle Art of Letting it Be

 

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

 

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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. 

 

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23 thoughts on “Six Productive Ways to Slow Down: #MondayMusings #MondayBlogs #TheMindfulBreak

  1. Parul Thakur says:

    I love all the thoughts here, Natasha. I don’t have notifications on and I close mobile data at night. I know I can switch off early but it is also hard to remain disconnected.
    It appears to me that you are quite organized. Are you? 🙂

    • Natasha says:

      Yes, Parul, I strive to remain as organised as possible, but I tend to deviate too at times. But in my head I aim to stay organised most of the time, working with schedules, organising my home etc. What about you? I personally feel you are super organised because despite a busy job, you manage to blog so very consistently. I’m always in awe with how you juggle both.

      Even I don’t have notifications on my phone and when I’m writing in the morning I totally ditch my phone, putting it on silent mode. The days I don’t I end up regretting not having done so.

      Thank you so much for swinging by and reading, and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

    • Natasha says:

      I know exactly what you are saying, Shirley. I feel what works is finding an alternative exercise/thing to do, the minute we wake up. Though it’s always good to revel in nothingness, but over the years we have become creatures who constantly strive to be “doing” something. Not the best of options all I would say.

      But to reduce our dependancy for the phone in the morning a few things that one could do could be: use that little time to drink a glass of warm water, do a few breathing exercises, meditate, or step outdoor for a walk and inhale the the fresh, crispy morning air, look at the nature around you and inhale the autumn fragrances. Once you are done doing these few things or maybe just one of them, then give yourself the leeway to reach out for the phone.

      For me what is working is the time post 6:30 A.M as phone-peak time.I wake up at 5 A.M. and leave for my walk by 5:30 am, I’m back by 6:30 and that’s when I lounge on the sofa or the terrace and peak into my phone. Though these days I have been wanting to do less, and less of that too, as that is also the time when we as a family have our morning cuppa together, and the little one her breakfast. So I feel urge to rather connect with la’ familia, then to while my time away reading WhatsApp messages. But on a few days I fail miserably too.

      Thank you for leaving your thoughts and imprints. 🙂

  2. Anamika Agnihotri says:

    Slowing down has not been a problem for me because I am much slower than I intend myself to be. The bane of my life is actually my phone. I take your point to keep it away at a certain time every evening and not to dig into it first thing upon waking up in the morning. I seriously need to do this.

    • Natasha says:

      Anamika, in today’s times, you are doing great, I must say. The “slowing down” bit. Not many of us are blessed with that attribute. So kudos!

      Yes, try zeroing down a time in the evening/night when you will go off the phone and then log back again at a said time the next day. Works wonders, believe you me. Good luck.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and swinging by.

  3. Vinitha says:

    Wonderful list, Natasha. I so need to follow this. In fact, I’m trying to slow down but failing miserably. My head is buzzing with too many to dos and I can’t seem to find a switch to off it. I believe it is because when I sit to do one task, I am never able to finish it due to the constant interruptions from my kids. Yep, blame it on the kids and take the easy way out. Reading this makes me want to try and slow down. Will let you know if I ever succeed. 🙂

    • Natasha says:

      Dear Vinitha,

      I’m sure you will succeed, we all do. You write such exquisite blog posts, fascinating in so many ways.

      I know that bit about kids interrupting. I struggle with that on so many levels; innumerable times of the day.

      I am looking forward to hearing about your new journey of slowing down. 🙂

    • Natasha says:

      I’m so happy to hear that Bhavna. Yes, I think I need to re-read this post myself, as a constant reminder. It’s very easy to slip and slide, and get caught in the web of tech addiction. Thank you for leaving your thoughts and imprints. 🙂

  4. Ramya Abhinand says:

    Phew. much as I really have to slow down, and I know its means. I just dont. Here is a post that serves as a reminder to me to breath, relax and enjoy my moment of play, or just take things easier.

    • Natasha says:

      Dear Ramya,

      Whenever I see your book posts or reviews, I feel you are one person who to a great extent knows how to take it easy and breathe into the goodness of life.

      But I know we all tend to get caught up with the break neck scramble of life and don’t know where to stop most of the time.
      I believe we lead busier lives here in the city versus the ones I led when I lived in smaller towns or for that matter even in Manila and Singapore. Wonder why, really? Maybe to keep up with the Jonesses, or maybe not. In my case I never try and keep up with the Jonesses, I do what makes me happy. But off late I am having this tearing need to declutter my life, in more ways than one.

      Happy week ahead for you Ramya. Thank you for swinging by and sharing your side of the story.

  5. BellyBytes says:

    Great ideas these Natsha. I love the Let It Be the most. So often we are caught up in the why, where and how did I go wrong which ties us up in complete knots. But then on the other hand isn’t it always prudent to reflect and find out where we went wrong to avoid making the same mistakes?

    • Natasha says:

      Ofcourse, it is Sunita; prudent to reflect on our mistakes. But not to beat ourselves silly, especially when we have made them. Possibly a good idea to , “Let it be” at that point of time and then return back to them in some time and chew over what we could have done better. What say you?

  6. Vasantha Vivek says:

    Great post, Natasha. Thanks for mentioning me. This makes me committed to my digital detox diet for the past one and a half months. And let us be the slow down buddies who can encourage each other, who can watch each other and who can nag each other. Let us disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the real beautiful world. We will do it together!

    • Natasha says:

      Yes, sounds like a perfect plan Vasantha. Let’s goad each other into following this to the T. And not to slacken, slip and slide away from our commitment.
      Today I have barely looked at my phone once since morning; it is 3:30 PM right now. And believe you me I have accomplished so much more, and feel the real connect with the real world, not the make-believe online world.

      Thank you for sharing the golden tip, that I have used in my post.
      Let’s get started, let’s stay accountable to each other. How is it going with you?

    • Natasha says:

      I’m so happy we had that conversation this morning and that these tips came handy to you, at the right time.

      Hope the novella is shaping up brilliant? All the very best, Aps.<3

  7. Anshu Bhojnagarwala says:

    That’s a nice list Natasha and définitely one I shoukd be following. Today was one of the days when in spite of my to do list, I felt like doing nothing and so did nothing. Felt better. I need to follow social media detox more often. Will do that in the Diwali vacation when I will be with my family.

    • Natasha says:

      Oh yes, Anshu you said it. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing, to revel in just being. A friend shared this very lovely quote with me the other day, and I think this will resonate with you. She said ““We are human “beings”, not human doings. So, it’s okay to just be.”

      Have a wonderful festive season ahead. Cheerio! And thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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