By Aney Mei
No matter the season, it’s easy to get caught up in the transition. With spring comes a type of rebirth and eagerness to cleanse, with winter, the slowing down of our bodies but the liveliness of parties and events. So, it’s always important to remind ourselves to approach the coming months with calmness and ease. There are many benefits to slowing down, and they all contribute to allowing us to live gently, happily, and calmly.
Here are a few reasons why slow and simple living will improve your way of life:
1. Boosted productivity: By slowing down and focusing on a few tasks at a time, you’ll be able to dedicate more energy to completing them efficiently and effectively. Taking it slow allows you to maintain control of the task at hand, reduces the need to multitask (which often decreases productivity), and keeps you from feeling overwhelmed.
2. The gift of time: The most precious gift is the gift of time. A big part of slowing down is being more intentional with how you go about your day. Through careful planning, you can tackle your assignments or chores and still have unscheduled time to make room for life’s spontaneity.
3. Improved health: We’ve all heard that hustle culture can be toxic, but as you shift from the ‘go-go-go’ mentality, you’ll feel your stress and anxiety ease. Give yourself permission to practice self-care and embrace the slower pace of life. It will benefit you not only mentally but also physically and emotionally.
4. Enhanced environment: Begin to reduce your consumption of material items. You will feel more grateful for what you have and appreciate the items that bring you joy. Your space will become less cluttered, and you will gain a new sense of self and energy.
5. More meaningful and enriched relationships: Slowing down will permit you to form deeper relationships and connections with people you love. Take the time to listen, engage, and allow yourself to be fully present with the ones that matter most.
Understanding the benefits is key, but putting it into practice may be more difficult than it sounds. For me, it’s taken a lot of time to get to this point in my life. In my early twenties, I felt “FOMO” (fear of missing out), which led to an unorganized, chaotic schedule and an overwhelming amount of material possessions that had no real meaning to me.
Over the years, I found a few ways to be more intentional. Here are five easy tips I’ve weaved into my life to help integrate the slow living mentality:
Plan your day
Be intentional with your time and plan ahead. Whether it’s a pen-on-paper task list or a daily schedule on your phone, having a guided agenda will keep you on track. This will help you maintain your focus and avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed. I’ve tried a few tools in the past but ultimately found that an organized daily calendar is the most effective. I love keeping my calendar up to date on my iPhone and using Evernote to store all my to-dos, ideas, and inspiration.
Dedicate more time to sleeping and taking care of yourself. Be intentional with the time you have while you’re awake, and give yourself those eight hours of sleep every night. You will feel better, mentally and physically, if you head into each day well-rested. Start a wind-down routine 60-minutes before bedtime, and make sure to turn off any notifications from your phone or laptop.
Reimagine your surroundings
Start by decluttering and removing items that no longer bring you joy. The Marie Kondo method is a powerful tool. Organize your home and carve out dedicated spaces where you can separate your work from your personal life. As more and more of us shift to a hybrid or work-from-home model, it’s crucial to have designated areas where you can be your most productive self throughout your working hours, as well as space where you can slow down at the end of the day.
Connect with your circle
Make time for your loved ones and surround yourself with good people who genuinely care about you. Relationships are a two-way street, so remember to reach out and immerse yourself in the conversation. Set your phone aside, drop any multitasking you're trying to do, and give your undivided attention to the other person.
Spend time on yourself
As important as it is to make time for social interactions, it is just as important to give time back to yourself to unwind. Make sure you prioritize time for yourself, disconnect, and take time away from the hustle and bustle of life. Whether it’s having a cup of hot tea with a good book, enjoying a little breakfast in bed, or pampering yourself with a spa day, this will help you rejuvenate and prepare for the changing days, weeks, and months ahead.
It will take time and practice to make slowing down a habit, but it will be worth it in the long run.
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