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In our fast-paced culture, it can be hard to slow down and enjoy life. We are always rushing from one thing to the next, and we never seem to have enough time in our schedules or space in our homes. But is that really what life is all about? Is a faster pace really better?
While being on the go constantly might make us feel productive and important, it can also make us incredibly stressed out too. Wouldn’t it be nice to accept a slower pace of life so you can stop and smell the roses?
Here are a few good reasons to slow things down and 25 practical ideas on how to get started living slower; you might also enjoy this list of the 20 greatest slowing down quotes of all time.
Why is it good to slow down?
Before we get into the practical tips, let’s talk about the benefits of taking your foot off the gas pedal a bit.
There are so many ways a slow pace can help you enjoy life more. Here are a few examples of why slowing down can boost your happiness and life satisfaction.
Slowing life down can help improve your mental and physical health. When we’re always rushing around, our bodies produce more cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
This can lead to a variety of health problems such as anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and even weight gain. But when we slow down, our bodies have a chance to relax, heal, and reset.
If you want to find out more about cortisol and what it can do to you, check out this post that dives deeper into this topic.
stronger & Better Relationships
Slowing down can also help improve your relationships. When we’re always on the go, we don’t have time to really connect with the people in our lives. We’re so focused on getting to the next thing that we don’t take the time to truly listen and be present with the people we care about.
Slowing down gives us a chance to connect with the people we care about on a deeper level, and as a result, we can build stronger, more meaningful relationships.
It may seem counterintuitive, but slowing down can actually help you be more productive.
Haste makes waste, and when you rush through things you’re more likely to make mistakes. Also, overloading your schedule and having too much on your plate makes you feel like you are always behind, leading to increased feelings of stress and frustration.
But when we take the non-essential activities off our to-do lists and focus on tackling one meaningful task at a time, almost anything can be done more efficiently.
Allows You to Enjoy Life More
Last but certainly not least, slowing down allows you to enjoy life more.
Want to know a secret? You don’t have to live fast to live a fulfilled life. Avoid the overwhelm, save yourself from burnout, and slow down!
When we’re always on the go, we miss out on all the little things that make life special. We don’t take time to savor our food, appreciate the beauty around us, laugh along with our kids, or just slow down and relax.
These are the little moments that make life worth living, and they are worth taking it slow!
25 Ways to Slow Down
So now that you know why slowing down is important, let’s talk about how you can slow down in your day-to-day life.
1. Don’t Overschedule
We want to have it all! And to accomplish this, we need to do it all, right? I know it is super tempting to take every opportunity that comes your way and fill up every minute of your schedule. But, in order to slow down, you can’t spread yourself so thin.
You don’t need to spend every moment of your day being productive. Be sure to keep blank space in your schedule so that you have time to spend on yourself and just enjoy life.
2. Learn to Say No
Setting boundaries can be difficult. Saying no to plans or favors doesn’t come easily to many of us. I know that personally if I’m capable, I want to show up and help.
However, saying yes to everything will burn you out and render you of no help to yourself or others. Only say yes when you’re confident you have the time and mental capacity.
Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. Instead, it means you’re taking care of yourself and filling your own cup so that you have the energy to give to others later on.
You might be worried that you will offend people or lose friends if you do this, but just remember:
3. Keep a Journal
Journaling is a wonderful habit to practice. Introspection is an important aspect of slowing down and taking time for ourselves.
Set aside time every morning or evening to add to your journal. You can write about your day, how you’ve been feeling, make a gratitude list, or anything else that comes to mind. This is a small, meditative moment that can make a big impact on your day.
Meditation may seem simple, but it isn’t necessarily easy. It takes focus, practice, and some serious control over your mind. That being said, the benefits are so worth it!
Meditation helps keep you mindful and grounded and gives you a chance just to tune it all out, no matter where you are.
Try practicing meditation for just a few minutes a day and reap the rewards! If you enjoy it, you can slowly increase the time you spend meditating; some people do up to an hour a day.
5. Practice Mindfulness
I try to incorporate mindfulness into every aspect of my life, from shopping to eating. One of my favorite ways to be mindful and reset is by practicing a body scan.
To do this, you just need a couple of minutes. I prefer to do it lying down, but you can also sit in a comfortable position.
Focus on the different parts of your body, one by one, starting at your feet. How do they feel? Do you notice any other feelings or emotions incorporated within that section or body part? Visualize a golden light traveling slowly up from your feet to scan the rest of your body, from feet to head, considering the sensations in each as you go.
When you notice anxiety or stress in your body, take a minute to think about why this may be. Acknowledge the sensations and feelings and then let them go, like clouds passing overhead.
This simple task can help you slow down and stay grounded.
6. Incorporate Self-Care
Self-care should be prioritized, period! While it may seem like a luxury we don’t have time for, self-care can make a world of difference in helping you slow down and take care of yourself.
Self-care doesn’t need to be a full-fledged spa day or expensive getaway (though it totally can be!). It can be as simple as applying a face mask or giving yourself a scalp massage in the shower.
Just take a little moment in the day to remind yourself that you’re amazing and deserving of self-love.
7. Set a Slow-Down Mantra
When the world is moving so fast around us, it is no wonder we forget to slow down. Try incorporating a slow-down mantra into your life. It can be something you repeat in the mornings, before you go to bed, when you’re meditating, or just when you’re feeling a little high-strung.
A classic mantra for people who want to slow down is: “Life is not a race.”
There always seems to be some sort of deadline looming over our heads. Whether it is promoting your career or having children by a specific age, we all have timelines for when we think it is appropriate to accomplish goals.
The truth is, there is no real deadline. No one is really keeping track. Everyone accomplishes things at their own pace, and that is okay! So just focus on yourself and keep moving forward.
8. Vow to Stop Making Comparisons
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I love this saying! In fact, I consider it one of the best mottos to live by. We can be perfectly satisfied with our own lives until we start making comparisons to others.
Vow to stop comparing your life to anyone else’s.
A growth mindset and the commitment to bettering ourselves are important, but it’s also important to find satisfaction in your present. Avoid these materialistic comparisons and focus on what matters to you, not to everyone else.
9. Live in the Moment
Being present is harder than it looks. When you have a to-do list a mile long and a jam-packed schedule, it can be difficult to see what is right in front of you.
Practice living authentically by reminding yourself to stay present and in the moment. Put down the smartphone. Forget about the to-do list for a minute. Seize the moment and take it easy.
10. Find a Calming Hobby
It is not a difficult job to fill our free time. There’s always another task, a chore, or an email you could send. These all contribute to a fast-paced life.
Instead, try filling your free time with a meaningful and calming hobby. While sitting in front of the TV can be easy and calming for some, there are plenty of other activities that can bring even more enjoyment.
You can try methodical craft projects such as crocheting, painting, ceramics, or even coloring. Creating something with our hands is super fulfilling, and the procedural aspect allows us to turn off outside worry and be present in the moment.
Others find relaxation and solace when moving their bodies. Incorporate a daily walk through the neighborhood or a peaceful bike ride into your routine. Take all the time you need and enjoy the outdoors!
11. Do Things Purposefully
When completing a task, stay focused and remember the function and purpose behind it. Cooking is more enjoyable when we remind ourselves we are making food to nourish ourselves and the ones we love.
Even tasks you might find unpleasant, like cleaning the bathroom, become easier when we remember our “why”.
Most of us don’t clear our toilets because we enjoy it. We do make our homes a healthy and pleasant place to live. Hey, toilets are a fact of life and a necessity (and no one likes using a nasty toilet).
I find that slowing down and doing things with purpose keeps me mindful and dedicated to my tasks.
12. Find More Ways to Be Thankful
A good way to slow down is to find more ways to stop and appreciate your life. Though life is certainly filled with obstacles, we all have a lot to be thankful for.
Reminding yourself of these reasons helps to keep you mindful and focus on the bigger picture rather than the daily ups and downs.
13. Lean on Others for Support
We can’t do it all, and we don’t have to!
It can be hard to ask for help; it’s sometimes scary to open up and show what we fear might be perceived as weakness or vulnerability. Being able to admit when you can’t handle something on your own, however, isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of intelligence and strength!
Lean on your circle for support when life gets a little too hard to manage. And be there for others when they need the same.
How often do you think about your breathing? Probably not too often, right? Intentional breathing is a good way to take a moment of rest in your day. Also, deep breathing enhances our lung capacity over time!
If you find yourself moving at hyper-speed, take a moment to stop and take a few deep breaths. This can help center your thinking and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
15. Spend More Time Outdoors
Time spent outdoors is a great way to slow down and being out in nature can rejuvenate you after a stressful day or week. It’s integral for our mental and physical health to prioritize this outdoor time.
16. Take Care of Your Relationships
We are all so busy. Sometimes we have so much to do that we only seem to focus on one thing– ourselves.
But, harboring healthy, loving relationships is so important for our mental health. Connections are a big part of what makes life so great; that’s why it’s a pretty hard pill to swallow that we may be neglecting some of them.
Remember to check in with your friends, family, and other important connections. I encourage you to slow down and take care of your relationships – the ones that matter the most, at least! If you have toxic people in your life, you might need to reduce contact with them so you can focus on the people that bring joy to your life.
You should spend more time with the good eggs and less time and effort on people who drain you of your time, money, and energy.
17. Enjoy a Digital detox
Technology has made amazing advancements, but the constant consumption of media can do major damage to our psyches.
Our smart devices allow people to communicate with us instantly at any time of the day. Worst of all, some people expect an immediate response.
It can be super tempting to answer a quick email off the clock or respond to your notifications while enjoying some downtime. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it can quickly eat up your time and contribute to the instant gratification culture we are trying to steer away from.
One easy way to combat this is to set aside time that is totally tech-free. This can be one day a week or a certain time of each day that you are not going to look at any media or use any devices. This will help you detach from the digital world and keep you more present. Also, it’ll save you from a lot of endless scrolling.
If you struggle to hold yourself accountable with media consumption, there are several apps for phones and laptops that will do the work for you! You can schedule a limit on the time you spend on different apps a day. When that time is up, your phone or computer will send you a warning or even lock the app until the next day.
If nothing else, make sure to put it all away at least 30 minutes before bedtime; it will help you sleep better, which in turn makes you feel more rested, energetic, and healthy.
18. Find Comfort in Routine
Routine can transform a frantic lifestyle into one of ease. Following a routine optimizes our time and allots more moments of free time.
Routine also has the power to reduce stress and keep us on track, all without breaking a sweat.
One fun way to implement a routine is to set up some weekly family rituals. This allows you to spend much-needed time with loved ones too!
19. Set Your Day up for Success
A morning routine is a good way to set yourself up for success. Avoid checking your phone as soon as you wake up. This can put you in a work or social mode immediately.
Instead, start your day intentionally with a glass of water, some light body stretches, a balanced breakfast, a cup of coffee, or another slow, meditative moment. The first activities of the day set the standard. So, slow down and find enjoyment in your mornings.
20. Be a Planner
Planning is a skill many of us struggle with it. Still, the process is super worthwhile once you get the hang of it!
Save time and stress by making a to-do list that you can check off as you go throughout your day. This also clears up some mental space, so you’re not constantly running through all of your tasks in your mind; they are already on paper.
You can also slow down by learning to prioritize tasks. Try highlighting the most important tasks on your to-do lists. Then, find comfort in knowing that there’s no need to rush to complete the others; they can be easily completed another day.
Some also find that completing their hardest task first is a good way to avoid procrastination. Once your most daunting task is done, the others don’t seem so bad! (This is one of the key principles in the best-selling productivity book, Eat That Frog – read more about that here!)
Finally, you can practice batch-tasking. This is combing tasks based on location or type so that you can complete them more easily and efficiently. For example, rather than have your kids’ dentist appointments spread out over a week, schedule them all for the same day back to back. This is a definite stress-saver!
21. Practice Minimalism
Decluttering your space helps declutter your life in a big way. Ridding yourself of excess clutter, be it physical, digital, mental, or emotional, leaves room for only the most important aspects of your life.
When everything is minimal, organized, and has its own space, you save time searching for the things you need. They’ll always be where you need them to be!
Additionally, minimalism helps declutter your mind. It can be hard to focus when surrounded by clutter. Practice mindful buying and other minimalist techniques to help keep you on track. You can read more about the basic principles of minimalism and how to apply them in this blog post.
22. Take a Vacation
Vacations can seem like an impossible luxury. With so much to do and so little time, how does anyone take the plunge?
The truth is, we all need a break. Try making the time for a vacation. Your vacation doesn’t need to be extravagant, expensive, or tropical. You can quite literally spend your vacation on your living room couch if you so choose.
The important thing is that you give yourself a break. Set clear boundaries with work, and budget your tasks leading up to the vacation. That way, when it is vacation time, your only task is relaxation.
Giving yourself the opportunity to recharge like this can make a major difference in your mental health and overall quality of life.
23. Harness the Power of Budgeting
Not having money is stressful, because almost everything requires having money in some way. My husband and I have experienced debt, financial hardship, and even poverty, so we know how frustrating it can be when you don’t have enough money.
So, knowing how to budget the right way is important to reducing money-related stress.
When creating your budget, you’re able to determine how to actually live within your means. This way, you’re not scrambling to overwork yourself to maintain a lifestyle that you simply can’t afford or keep up with.
24. Give back
Finding a cause or a way to give back to society gets us away from a self-centered lifestyle. It could be something as small as picking up trash together once a month or finding a charity you are passionate about.
25. Take Care of Your Body
It is so important to show our body the love and care it deserves. Show it love by taking the time to properly nourish it.
Opt for ingredients that make your body feel its best. Whether home-cooked meals or healthy meal delivery services to save on time, feed your body quality, wholesome ingredients. I also encourage you to take the time to sit down and enjoy three meals a day away from your desk or couch.
And no multi-tasking! Focus on the food and the process of eating instead of looking at your phone or trying to catch up on work.
We’ve been working on this with our kids, who love to try and read books while eating. I mean, I’m happy that they love reading, but we always encourage them to remember to practice “mindful eating” and put the books away.
Finding enjoyable ways to move your body is also important in showing your body love. Choose ways to incorporate exercise into your routine. Remember, this exercise should have self-care in mind, not goals like weight loss or building muscle.
Final Thoughts on How to Slow Down
There are so many easy ways to slow down daily. Find the ways that best fit into your life, and the transition should be seamless! What are your favorite ways to slow down?
Let me know below!