Six-am spin class, a breakfast smoothie, Weeties for the kids, the morning school run, the 10am ‘brain drain’ (aka the daily work meeting), your third coffee, the lunchtime meeting (forced overtime), a visit from Jan in accounts, school pick-up, your fourth coffee, cooking dinner, putting the kids to bed, plonking your head on your deflated pillow…
Sound familiar? We’ve all got busy lives with jam-packed schedules that never seem to end, so-much-so that slowing down seems near-impossible. However, just like finding a moment, slowing down is all about mindfulness – making a mindful step towards a slower, more present way of life.
So how does one slow down when screaming kids are demanding the now boiling-over spag bol and your in-laws are calling on the phone? Here are some tips on how to slow down – even if it’s for a nanosecond – during your average chock-a-block day of tasks, jobs and family melt downs.
Enjoy the moments between sips
Can’t get through the day without a coffee (or two)? Taking five to drink your favourite brew is one of the easiest ways to slow down your day. Grab that heart warmer with two hands, lift it up to your nose and inhale. What do you smell? As you take a sip, picture the warm liquid as it rolls over your taste buds, before running down your throat. Enjoy the process; the smells, the warmth and the taste. Smell, sip and repeat.
Savour each bite
Food, glorious food! When was the last time you really enjoyed a meal? Taken in the scents, aromas, colours, taste and general deliciousness of the dish? If it’s been a while, let’s reacquaint you with the joy that is eating. Maybe you’re eating something a little bit naughty (hello Vinofood Rocky Road!). In the ideal world, you’ve got your feet up, glass of red in one hand, generous piece – or the whole thing, we’re not here to judge – of Rocky Road in the other. But hey, if you’ve just shoved a chunk in your mouth between washing the dishes and plonking the kids in the shower, that works too! All we ask is that you stop whatever you’re doing and actually taste that morsel of sweet, chocolatey goodness. It’s one small opportunity to slow down and embrace a taste of the good life, and a guaranteed way to help you appreciate those small everyday wins we often zoom straight past.
Go digital-free and have a proper conversation
We’d like to present you with a challenge. Next time you’re having a conversation with someone – perhaps you’re having a brekkie catchup with the girls, or a dinner date with your partner – leave your phone in your bag (or, better yet, in the car or at home) and encourage them to do the same. It’s time to remember what having a real conversation looks and feels like. Listen to your friends/family/acquaintance without the distraction of Instagram, that pressing work email or random phone call. You’ll find you’ll be less distracted, more engaged and feel better connected. Can’t handle the half-hour digital detox? Just remember Insta, emails and missed calls will still be there when you return to your screen.
Do one thing, and do it well
Are you reading this on your phone, while watching TV, while eating dinner? It’s time to enjoy the present, people! You don’t need multitask every second of the day. In fact, focusing on one thing at a time allows you to be more present, mindful and engaged. Be focused and mindful on what you’re doing, and try not to fit everything into one moment.
Learn to relax
Having trouble switching off? Dedicate a space in your week for a little ‘me time’. It doesn’t have to be long, but it does need to be regular! Start with something that will intentionally slow you down. A hot bath. A yoga or meditation class. Reading a book. Gardening. Cooking. Once you’ve found your thing, do it once a week. Making a present and mindful step towards slowing down takes practise, but practise makes perfect, and before long you’ll find that slowing down becomes a normal part of your everyday routine.
Looking for simplicity in this digital, fast-paced world?
Welcome to Lessons from The Lake– a series of blog posts focussed on mindfulness, reflection and wellbeing.