Where I'm at right now, I've gotten to in a rush. The desire to grow up and that idea of being a "grown-up" has always been far ahead of me. It still kind of is. So of course, I wanted life to go faster, so I could someday get to where I was going.
But there's something so eloquently simple about being a child. Small things made you worried but small things also made you excited. Why was I always in such a rush to leave that ease? And now, that juvenile simplicity seems more a fairytale or some dream that I once had, than an actual part of my life, all thanks to this fast track.
Perhaps, it's also been a conventional shift within society, following the effects of industrialization. The development of automobiles and technology and selective industries, where the prime focus has been speed. Individuals and companies, racing each other - who can do it bigger, faster and better? This has done bad for poor slow's reputation.
Because I am a person who begins to get anxiety when there is too much free time in her schedule, I take on too many responsibilities at once. Very often, I stress myself out by trying to cram way too many things into my calendar. So. as a vicious cycle of sorts, in an attempt to avoid too much rest and too much free time, by the end of my chaos, this rest and free time is the only thing that I need. And desperately so.
I'm sure I'm not the only person that feels this way. And I'm sure it's to blame for my seven grey hairs and as the reason I drop my phone so many times. So, I've made it a little project for the month of March to focus on slowing down my lifestyle. I'm trying my best to avoid giving the word "slow" such a negative connotation. This goes hand in hand with me trying to save money and begin to live life a little more simply by appreciating fewer but greater things.
Below, in what I hope to make an ever-growing list, are my most recent discoveries:
Wake up early
There simply aren't enough hours in the day. Extend this by waking up half an hour or one hour earlier. This will give you time to enjoy your cup of tea and read the newspaper while you do it.
Coffee is great (omg so great) but sometimes it seems to be a beverage for the quick-paced. You gulp it down because it gives you a buzz of energy to perform the rest of the day with speed and efficiency. Maybe there's a better way.
You can make a hearty breakfast. It's even nice to have a cup of hot water and lemon from time to time if you're into those detox things.
Listen to songs more than a decade old
No disrespect to today's chart-toppers, but there's nothing quite like the melodic voice of Billie Holiday to unwind.
Try walking more
We know it as the slowest means of transportation (okay maybe crawling is slower) but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I've discovered very recently that I enjoy walking the most. It's the best thing to do while you're travelling too.
On a nice day, I can appreciate my surroundings more. I do things that I never do, such as look up. Looking up can be an entirely different perspective on a city you know a little too well. Admire the architecture, the surrounding nature, the people you pass. All these little things you won't have time or attention to notice if you're cycling too fast or nodding off to sleep on the bus.
Visit peaceful places
i.e. public parks, beaches, museums, libraries, art galleries, farms, forests, gardens, mountains. Find a zero-stress place.
Cook and eat slowly
Quick and easy meals have been my diet since living on my own, for obvious reasons. I do, however, find cooking to be a therapeutic part of my day. When I can afford to give it the time, I enjoy it. If cooking doesn't feel like a chore to you, try to make the process as long and enjoyable for you. I recently tried cooking risotto for the first time, which requires a lot of time and a lot of stirring, but it's relaxing in a way. The action of stirring is almost hypnotizing.
The same goes for how quickly you chew. Take many bites and try to eat your meal for what feels like fifteen minutes. And let yourself digest too.
Look for outdoor activities
As a kid I remember going to play outside was a part of daily life. Somewhere down the road, that stopped. Fresh air can be so rejuvenating, so why not try a nature walk? Or jumping in the lake or ocean? Or kayaking?
Nurture a hobby
Reading, knitting, gardening, bird-watching. Anything that makes you happy and puts you at ease. It shouldn't stress you out. It should be something you do at your own pace for your own pleasure.
Perhaps there is something you can make yourself, instead of rushing to the store to buy it?
Watch a good movie with subtitles (and have somebody hide your phone)
I am the most notorious for spending more than half of a movie on my phone. By the end of it, I haven't experienced what the movie was about in its entirety. Recently, I've been watching more foreign films, requiring me to read the subtitles. I have to rely heavily on my sight, therefore, I can't multitask and scroll through my phone because I can't listen to Japanese and understand it. But sometimes putting subtitles can help you make sure you don't miss any part of the movie. It becomes almost like reading a book.
Put down your phone
I used to read a lot more books as a little kid. I think I read a lot less now, partially because my life has grown busier, but mostly because I got a cellphone. The time I used to dedicate to multiple chapters now goes to checking Instagram....and checking Instagram again....
This one is challenging, but putting down the phone, maybe in a different room can be a very therapeutic way to disconnect. You'll be surprised at how creative you can be when thinking of ways to keep yourself entertained. It's like the beauty of when you're on a plane and must go on airplane mode.
Snap a good photo
Looking through old albums is a favourite past time of mine. Before the smartphone, before the digital camera, we had less chances of getting that winning shot. We had to really take the time to set up a good photograph, then wait until we could develop the photo to see it. I have so many useless pictures on my phone, just because I take advantage of the speed in which I can take a picture. I'm now trying to take one picture instead of five and to pretend I'm holding a disposable camera.
Take a nap
Why not? It will probably give you energy. Optionally: find a cat to nap with.
A glass of wine is my number one way to slow down. I eat twice as slowly when I'm having a glass of wine with dinner and I fall asleep very easily. My muscles relax, my mind becomes a little foggy, smiles come a little easier. And it's yum.