Being forced into lockdown has many of us feeling frustrated, down or bored! However, there is another way to look at it. Many of us speed through life, working, looking after our kids, keeping the house in order, seeing friends and family. It can be go, go, go! What lockdown has done is force us to slow down and perhaps we should all be embracing that! When listening to the soundtrack or the musical Come From Away earlier in the week I was struck by these lyrics:
“Somewhere in between the pace of life and work and where you’re going
Something makes you stop and notice and you’re finally in the moment!”
The news at the moment is scary and many of us are feeling anxious but we have the chance to be in the moment, slow down a bit and be grateful for the fact that you are safe indoors.
Here are 8 ways to enjoy slowing down over the coming weeks:
- Have a bath instead of a shower
Replace your 5-minute shower with a 30-minute bath in the morning. Take a moment to enjoy the time out, relax and let your mind unwind!
- Keep a journal
Writing in a journal daily helps you process your thoughts and intentions. Putting it down on paper slows your mind and keeps your thoughts organised. It also can help you “brain-dump” your anxieties which reduces stress. Try writing in a stream of consciousness style first thing in the morning to get all your thoughts on paper. Don’t worry if they don’t make sense! It’s just about getting it out of your head and onto paper. It frees up tension and can make you feel happier. Journaling also helps us to stop, take a step back and reflect on ourselves.
- Allocate phone free time!
Your phone is a constant source of distraction. Whether its following the news updates, seeing how many likes you got on that post on Instagram, or playing games, we become addicted to looking at our phones all day! One study said that just being in the same room as our phones (even when they’re turned off!) reduces your memory and problem solving skills. One summary of the report said that you “grow dependant on your smartphone, it becomes a magical device that silently shouts your name at your brain at all times”. Scary!
When you go for a walk, try to leave your phone at home. Alternatively, put it in a different room for the one you are in for an hour each night. It gives your mind some space without distraction and be in the moment whether on your own or with others.
- Practice gratitude
Sometimes life gets hurried and we get overwhelmed. Taking time to focus on the things we are thankful for in our lives is important to make sure you dont lose track of what really matters. You could do this as part of your journaling and list down everything you are grateful for. Another way is to sit down with those in your household and all think of one thing you were grateful for that day. Even it it’s just the good weather on your daily walk, being healthy or a really good dinner!
- Eat slowly
Often we sit and eat in front of the tv and just gobble down our meals without even really thinking about it. Being mindful about what you eat is a great exercise in slowing down. Don’t just eat off your lap, sit at the table and slowly eat your meal, taking time to think about and enjoy each bite.
- Enjoy the moment without recording it
At the moment, we’re seeing more and more people put their whole days on Instagram! We end up thinking more about recording or taking pictures to share that we do enjoying the moment. Using our phones takes us out of the moment. Remember, you don’t need to share everything that happens. Next time you find yourself reaching for your phone to record, take a moment to just enjoy the moment instead.
- Watch the sunrise or sunset
According to research, seeing nature like this awakens something in us. Seeing a sunset or sunrise, or even just taking some time looking up at the stars, is awe inspiring. A recent study showed that these awe inspiring moments are great for our wellbeing, and actually slow down our experience of time. They bring us into the present moment, and makes our lives feel more satisfying. That’s really something!
- Single task, don’t multi task.
We’re all guilty of doing about a million things at once. We always think it means we’re getting more done, but really all we are doing is setting ourselves up for mistakes which will need to be corrected. In reality, it’s more stressful and less productive. It’s time to embrace the art of single tasking! Focusing on one task at a time promotes self discipline, strengthens our mind against distraction, improves our attention span and productivity, helps our communication and even makes us happier!
As Ferris Bueller said:
“Life moves pretty fast. If you dont stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”