How to Live a Slow Life when you are Busy
"There are some things we cannot change, but we can certainly change our perspective".
2023….probably the busiest our lives have ever been. After 2 slow years in 2020 and 2021, people seem more keen that ever to get back to ‘normality’. Or perhaps people aren’t choosing this busy life, perhaps everything around them has gone back to full speed and they are expected to keep up. Birthday parties, office parties, kids sports, school commitments, work, home duties, social commitments, the list seems endless. So as winter approaches in the southern hemisphere and we intuitively feel the desire to slow down and lay low, how can we possibly do this when we have so many commitments?
Below are 4 tips to live a slow life despite being busy!
1. Embrace the ‘no’. No is such a powerful word. We are conditioned to see ‘yes’ as positive and ‘no’ as negative. But ‘no’ can be the most positive word you say! Saying no can free you from over commitment, it can give you more time, it can save you money and most importantly it can save your sanity! Just because we (or our kids) get invited to something, it doesn’t mean we have to say yes. We need to teach our kids that it’s OK to say no. That they need to learn no too. It’s important that they understand that life is not all yes. So next time something comes up on a day that you are already busy, try saying no! It’s incredibly liberating!
2. Lists. Create a list of the 5 most important things you need to get done for the day, but the key is to write it the night before. By planning your day before it even starts gives you a head start. Instead of wasting your morning thinking about what you need to do, you can get straight into it. And writing a list helps to keep you focussed and on task so you spend less time floundering. It also helps you to feel less busy as instead of feeling overwhelmed by the thought of all you have to do, you’ve now got it out of your head and put it on paper, which makes it seem much more achievable. 5 is an achievable number (of course depending on the tasks) but whatever number you choose, make sure it is achievable. Whatever doesn’t get done can be moved to the next day.
3. Breathe. Intentional deep breathing has proven to have so many benefits. It turns off our fight or flight state, calms our nervous system, improves our immunity and helps to keep us in the present moment. The best thing about this technique is it literally takes 60 seconds. So set 3 alarms on your phone. One for the morning, one for the afternoon and one for the evening BEFORE the dinner/bedtime routine. When your alarm goes off stop, sit down or stay standing, close your eyes and start breathing! You will be AMAZED at how this simple technique can impact your entire being. For simple instructions on exactly what to do, read here.
4. Turn off notifications. This may sound obvious but it is so powerful. Turn off ALL notifications and set times to check your phone. If you spent the day observing your notifications you will soon see that they dictate your life. It also makes you feel super busy when your phone keeps pinging. You might be in the middle of doing house work when you hear your phone, so you stop to check it. Or you might be in the middle of an email when your phone goes off, so you check it. Or worst of all, you might be having a coffee or meal with a friend and your phone goes off, so you check it. We want to be in control of our phones, not our phones in control of us. When we get distracted we can lose focus and become super unproductive. It can also damage relationships. Set aside times during your day where you do nothing but check your notifications. Then once you have checked them all, carry on with your day until the next scheduled time.
I am super passionate about living slowly and intentionally no matter how fast paced our lives might be. There are some things we cannot change, but we can certainly change our perspective. And as the primary teacher's for our children, it's our job to model healthy habits and boundaries so that they can grow up well adjusted and resilient.
If this was helpful please let me know. I have many more ideas and tips to share with you so if this was useful, let me know and I will share more.