Friday 6 September 2019

5 Simple Steps To Slow Down

slow down, mindfulness, relaxation, mental health, self care

relax, slow down, take time, time out, self care

Slowing Down. It's been on my mind a lot lately. The business of Summer; Balancing work, blogging and social life; Struggling with anxiety; Getting ready to start the new study year. Your list might be similar or completely different to mine, either way, we all have stuff to juggle (even if they aren't bad or big things). In an attempt to slow down, clear my head and just breathe, I've been thinking a lot about what I can do to make it a little easier. I don't mean cutting things out of your diary or not seeing people, simply ways that will slow things down, minimise stress and optimise your enjoyment of life. Here's how you can slow down in five simple steps...

1. Mindfulness & Meditation

Okay, hear me out on this one...I'm not suggesting you become a monk. Lately, I've dabbled a little in the world of meditation and mindfulness. I was always a little sceptical. I'd be saying things like "oh no no, I can't concentrate for long enough" or "I couldn't sit still...I'd just fall alseep" and so on. However, since finding a few short and straightforward mediation practices I've completely changed my mind. The purpose of meditation isn't to be able to completely switch off every thought in your head. It's about allowing your thoughts to wonder, acknowledging them then bringing your focus back to your breath. That's it! It's so easy yet so effective and has completely slowed my mind right down and helped me focus on the present moment so much more. A good website to check out is Mindful, which has a whole range of meditations from 3 minutes to 47 minutes. Also, if you're interested in the topic, read How to be Human (With a Neuroscientist and a Monk) by Ruby Wax - it's fascinating!

2. Wake Up 30 minutes Earlier

Mornings suck, I know! However, slowing down your morning and making it a little more relaxing is such a good way to start your day. Stop the rush and panic of snoozing your alarm clock three times then jumping in the shower and slapping on some makeup. By waking up just half an hour earlier, it's the perfect time to do a short mediation and a few energising stretches, while not having to rush the rest of your morning routine. A slower morning will have a positive effect on your creativity and motivation. You'll feel so much calmer when you don't have to leap out of bed. There's a really good chat about this on The Slice Podcast in their very first episode called 'Morning Motivation' which you should have a listen to!

3. Take Up A Relaxing Hobby

This is one that I've been focusing on a lot lately. I realised that I didn't actually have many hobbies that I could easily do in my spare time. Something I've always wanted to try is calligraphy and lettering. I gave it a go a few weeks back and I love it! It'll take a good bit of practice to master it but it's so relaxing and I can put all of my concentration into it. So, think of something that you enjoy that isn't stressful or too taxing while still maintaining your focus. Using your mind to really focus on a single task (especially one you enjoy) can really help to slow down. Why not try a jigsaw puzzle or bake some brownies?!

4. Pay Attention

This might sound a little silly but I don't think we do it enough. On your daily commute notice one thing on the journey, each day, that you didn't notice before. Appreciate and acknowledge your surroundings. When someone is talking to you, really listen to them and try not to let your mind wander. Remember and understand what they've said. We can so busy thinking about other things or getting distracted that we often don't really pay attention. Being fully invested in a moment can have a huge impact on calming the mind.

5. Have A Plan

By this I mean write to do lists or set reminders. This way you can get things out of your mind and you're less likely to be running around like a headless chicken when it comes to completing tasks. If things aren't buzzing around your head, it's easier to have a clear idea of what needs done and slowing it right down. Avoid multitasking. This will help get individual tasks get done well, puts less pressure on you and avoids distraction. Plan time effectively so you don't have to rush and leave plenty of time for what needs done to reduce stress levels.


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