Slowing Down?

I subscribe to a newsletter written by Jonathan Fields which is all about living a good life. A couple of days ago I found an email in my inbox, and it started like this: (excerpt of Jonathan’s Newsletter):

Have you noticed, things tend to keep speeding up?

It’s a natural consequence of life. Compounded in a big way this year.

Our reaction, when that happens, is to speed up, ourselves, so we can keep up.

But, then keeping up becomes the new norm, and the firehose of pace keeps coming.

So, we cope by speeding up. Again. And, again. And, again.

At some point, we can’t handle it anymore.

Keeping up becomes blowing up.

We’re brought to our knees, forced to reckon.

A thought…

What if your reaction to the quickening cycle of life was not to speed up, but to slow down?

[…] Not in a “head in the sand” way, but in a “I know what matters” way.”

How often do we commit to something because we haven’t thought about the consequences for ourselves or what matters to us? How many times do we agree to do something because it is expected of us, but is not really what rocks our boat? Each time we give away a bit of our time…

The problem with that is, it is not only the time we give away, we also give away our purpose, our fulfilment, our contentment. We become irritated, frustrated, and may even lose our energy.

So, slowing down may be the only way you discern what’s important from what’s a distraction in your life, leading to better decisions for yourself and eliminating “random” commitments.

It’s your choice, and you may be surprised by what you’ll find.

Take Care of Yourself First

Self-care, the key to thriving not just surviving

Self Care in scrabble tiles by Tiny Tribes from Pixabay

In order to stay grounded, calm and patient in times when everything around us is crumbling or in upheaval, the first rule to follow is take care of yourself. I’m not just referring to a pandemic, but any situation that impacts you and your life. This could be an illness of a loved one, financial problems because a major project doesn’t materialize, problems with your partner or spouse, unexpected expenses because your car broke down. The unfortunate reality is, especially in stressful situations, we tend to “forget” how important it is to stay strong. There are so many things that seem far more important to think about, or to tackle… and we put self-care on the backburner.

I’m not thinking about vacations or hours of meditation, or whatever helps you relax and recharge. I’m thinking of a daily practice. It is far better to incorporate small bursts of self-care during the day to stay grounded and keep a clear head. It will help you process what’s going on no matter what life throws at you. It’s the first step to finding an answer, developing a solution, or determining your next move.  

What is Self-care

Let’s have a look at what self-care actually means. Skip this part if you’re more interested in some ideas of how to practice self-care and move to the headline “Practice Self-care.”  

Self-care is the deliberate choice of taking care of your own needs on a daily basis, regardless of commitments, responsibilities, expectations from others.

As the bare minimum we need enough sleep and nourishment for our bodies. But that would only ensure our physical survival. In order to protect our wellbeing, physically, psychologically and emotionally, there are more things to consider.

It means knowing who you are, what you like and don’t like, what gives you joy, what you aspire to, what you value, how to set limits, how to deal with difficult situations, how to relax and decompress after a stressful or demanding day.

Self-care is something that energizes and refuels us, rather than takes from us. […] It is the key to living a balanced life.” It helps us be patient, when patience is needed, show empathy when empathy is needed, and have a clear head, when decisions have to be made.

It means taking the time to reflect on yourself and your day. What are you proud of? What would you like to do better? Are there any changes you would like to make? If so, how will you make these changes happen? What steps can you take?

Practicing Self-care

Woman reading

What recharges us or allows us to let go of the day is different for everyone. Some prefer sweating and working it out, others prefer quiet and writing it down. It can also depend on your mood, the weather, or the people you are with. In summer, you may prefer walking in nature, in winter you may prefer sitting down with a glass of wine and a good book.

Do you know what helps you decompress after a stressful or demanding day? What can you do on the spot to feel grounded or keep a clear head?

Here are some ideas in case you need a little reminder or quick start:

  • Take 10 deep breaths
  • Leave the room for a moment
  • Close your eyes and feel what’s going on in your body
  • Walk around the block
  • Get a cup of coffee or tea
  • Practice your favorite sport
  • Play with your children
  • Listen to music
  • Meditate or pray
  • Go for a walk at the beach, in the woods, in the fields, in your town
  • Have a glass of wine and reflect on your day
  • Read a book or listen to one
  • Light a candle and write in your journal
  • Do a craft (sewing, quilting, crocheting, coloring, painting,…)
  • Work in your yard
  • Sit and allow the day to pass by in front of your inner eye
  • Take a hot bath or shower
  • Prepare a meal and eat with your family or friends

There are so many things you can do; be creative and give yourself the gift of time to find out. What helps you to feel grounded? What helps you to decompress? And then, most importantly, do it. You will be a happier mom, spouse, parent, you name it, for it.  

I can’t wait to hear from you. Until next time,
Regine