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Slowing Down in a Speeded Up World

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We are all so busy today! There is hardly a minute to stop, breathe, and enjoy some quiet time. We are bombarded with advertising and messaging everywhere we turn. And we are more addicted to our electronic devices than ever before!

But it’s so important to slow down and relax from time to time; to collect our thoughts, and to enjoy our lives. We work so hard to pay for a car that we are too busy to drive, and a home that we are never in, because we are working so hard. Anyone else see the sad irony in that sentence?

Slowing down is a conscious effort. Below, are a few ways to help you get started.

1. Don’t take anything for granted. This week, there are still hundreds of thousands of people in my area without power or heat from an ice storm that rolled in. I feel awful for these folks, and the lesson I learned while watching the newscasts was not take anything in my life for granted. When you start to be grateful for everything you have, all the wonders of nature, the beauty of your family, the comfort of your friends, life begins to look differently. And forcing yourself to admire the beauty of the trees, the wave of the ocean, and the smell of the air is an easy way to slow down in small increments throughout your day.

2. Set your own pace. It’s okay not to keep up with the Joneses, or the Browns, or the Smiths, or whoever else is out there running at the speed of light. And it’s not only okay, but necessary, to tell others when they are pushing you. Your life is meant to be lived in your way. It’s not up to someone else to tell you what you “should” be doing, how much you “should” be earning, what kind of car you “should” be driving. Set your own pace and stick to it. And if your current pace is frantic; keep reading!

3. Unplug. I believe in truth in advertising, so I will tell you upfront, that I would positively lose my mind if I didn’t have my phone or my iPad. It’s worse now since I started a business. I feel like I have to “put myself out there,” in order to market my business and tell people I exist. But even I recognize that at some point, I need to step away from the electronics. Try powering down at least an hour before bed; two if you can manage it. Turn off the TV on a sunny Saturday and go for a walk, and demand there be no texting at the dinner table when you’ve gathered with your family. Recently I heard of a new phenomenon called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Researchers say it’s one of the reasons why we obsessively check our email, and Facebook pages. I’d like to think that when you are overly “plugged in” that you are experiencing a different type of FOMO, and that is, fear of missing out on REAL LIFE! Instead of reading everyone’s check ins at the zoo or the park with their kids, grab your own brood and head out. The goal is to create memories, not status updates!

4. Stop over scheduling. Some days I look at my calendar and think, “Who am I kidding?” It would take one of those little time shifter things like in the Harry Potter movies to get to all the places and do all the things I’ve planned to do in the course of one day. Recently, I had an epiphany that running from one thing to another, working until midnight every night, and scheduling myself to within an inch of my life is actually making me LESS productive! It’s forcing my mind to have to switch gears quickly, not giving me enough time to think through things. Not getting enough rest means that I’m not at my best, and that doesn’t serve me or the people depending on me very effectively. And, I’ve find that I do my best thinking when I’ve allowed my brain time to rest and regroup. Take a hard look at your schedule and see what you can live without. Coco Chanel, one of the icons of fashion, had advice for all the women out there, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror, and take off one piece of jewelry.” My advice to all of you? “Every week, remove one – two things from your schedule.” Can your neighbor drive the kids to soccer practice? Can you group one or two errands together so you aren’t running all over town? Do you really have to walk your sister’s dogs every afternoon? You know there are services that do that now!

Relax, slow down, breathe, and just every now and then, veg in, AND, veg out!

Karen

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