As things start to speed up I’m embracing the art of slowing down, which is quite the 180 for me.
I tend to do almost everything quickly. My husband on the other hand takes most things slow. Often this leads to just a little bit of angst on my part as joint projects often take much longer than I would like them to. But I have to admit that while he benefits from my ability to research and deliver quickly he often catches the fine print I miss. He says he’s process-driven. He loves all of the details and wants to spend as much time in between point A and point B as possible. My response is that I’m results-driven, which means I’m much more interested in getting to point B and that does not usually entail taking the scenic route.
At work, it typically serves me well. “You’re so efficient!” is something almost all of the school counseling evaluations say. Or “thank you for responding so quickly” is a message I often receive from the brands I work with now.
But in my personal life, it’s a little more balanced. Sometimes it means I’ve already researched our vacation destination and come up with the itinerary before my husband has had a chance to even visit the resort site, and sometimes it leads to burnt…well, you name it. That broil feature might just be a little too fast.
But as the world starts to pick up speed (myself included, you’ll likely see some vacation photos very soon if we’re connected on the gram) I’ve noticed a nagging internal inclination to want to slow down. I’ve also been hearing a lot about delayed pandemic grief and while we all experienced some form of loss and mourned in one way or another, I’m not quite sure that’s it. There seems to be a deeper desire for me to want to hone in on many aspects of my life right now.
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that while I’ve always loved self-help books (the counselor/life coach in me is drawn to them) I’ve probably logged more audible book hours than ever on my daily strolls through the neighborhood over the last year. Intention, silence, and focus are words that have been reverberating through my tiny white earbuds.
So I’ve begun to take them to heart and I’ve decided to take my time with a few of the little things. Today I’d like to share a few things I’m doing more slowly and I’ll be sharing a few reasons why you might want to embrace the art of slowing down too.
Waking up slowly– This is actually something I started doing differently several months ago. My old routine was to roll over and grab my phone from its charger on my nightstand minutes after I opened my eyes. I wanted to see through social media how the world had changed as I slept. Blurry-eyed and mindlessly scrolling through social media, I’d find myself surprised when I’d realize that quite a bit of time had passed. And while the world was indeed still spinning, my mind was now too. So I switched it up.
My day now begins with quiet contemplation, affirmations, and focusing on how I want to spend my day before I even get out of bed. After getting up I’ll get how the world has turned from a reputable news source a little later-I prefer the newspaper which I know is a little old-fashioned, but I do get The NY Times online which is certainly more digital age-friendly. I made it a point to not check social media until after I’m fully awake, have completed a few more steps in my morning routine, and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee. Spending the first part of my morning with intention and calmness helps set the tone for my day.
I am a firm believer that NOT grabbing your phone as soon as you wake up is the single most important thing you can do to mentally slow down, focus on yourself, and set your intentions for the day.
Brushing my teeth slowly-this one might sound a little odd but I’ve been listening to Think Like A Monk and Jay Shetty mentioned that he tried to do simple acts with focus and intention. He talked about how we don’t actually multitask as well as we think we do, and how being present actually improves not only our ability to do things with precision but that it helps with mental fortitude too. He shared that he counts to 4 while brushing each individual tooth. That sounded a little excessive to me but I decided to try it anyway. I already use an electric brush with a built-in timer and a buzzing feature that lets you know when to move to the next quadrant, so I wasn’t expecting this to have a profound impact on my process. But lo and behold it did! I found myself actually enjoying the experience more. I felt more in control too and instead of me spending the time wondering when these boring two minutes would finally be up (two minutes can feel like an eternity if you’re doing something mundane), I felt pleasantly surprised when the timer ended. I was enjoying the process, not anxiously waiting for the end result! My husband may actually be on to something with his whole process-driven theory.
I know it sounds silly, but try it. Focusing on each individual tooth every time I brush has led me to slow down and focus on other routine tasks and ultimately it has increased my level of joy while performing them.
Starting my day with an inspirational read-I’ve always been a reader but my book selections vary and the amount of time I have to enjoy a good read varies too. So reading in the morning has always been a part of my routine-but admittedly not a consistent one. I’ve been known to speed read a novel only to look up and realize that half the morning had passed and I was behind on what I needed to get done that day. Then I’d spend the rest of the morning in a frenzy trying to get back on track. Now I’ve begun to implement the practice of a very slow, but short read every morning. This works well whether you are like me and work from home or whether you are actually going into the office too.
I actually reread some of the same inspiring books as part of my routine. Sometimes I read an entire chapter and sometimes just a page or two. A few of my favorites are Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Creating Affluence (meant to be re-read daily and five pages at a time), The Four Agreements-A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (The Fifth Agreement is pretty good too) The Seat of the Soul, and Ask and It Is Given.
You can select whatever type of inspirational text appeals to you but the point is to guide your morning thoughts in a more positive way. Doing that helps set you up for an influx of more positive thoughts throughout the day.
These three simple changes have helped me enjoy my morning routine instead of rushing through it and have led to a more focused and intentional day. I would love to hear if you have tried any of these suggestions or what tips you might have for slowing down and embracing intention during your day too.
Until Next Post,
Xo Tonya Parker
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