THE ART OF SLOWING DOWN
Yay! Summer is here! Time for lazy days! Soaking it in! Sipping a cold libation by the pool/deck/patio/lake!
I have something to confess: I was late in submitting this blog post because I couldn’t find the time to write it… Oh! The irony!
You know how it is: it’s the end of the school year and every possible activity happens in the second to last week of June. Throw in thank you cards and gifts for the teachers, registering for summer camps (unless you are some kind of superhuman that did this in March), feeding the troops, tending to your garden (both literal and proverbial), laundry, working out, work stress, birthday stress (there’s always one), retirement party, and the list never ends!
You know The List. It’s the last thing on your mind before you fall asleep, unjustly displacing your (not so secret) fantasy of Chris Hemsworth making you breakfast in bed. It’s the first thing you think of in the morning as you hit the ground running for another day of lather, rinse, repeat. And so the cycle continues. And the List is always hovering over you, reminding you that your work is never done.
The List is the modern day equivalent of the eternal damnation of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was a Greek King who boasted that he was cleverer than Zeus. As punishment in Hades (the Underworld), Sisyphus was forced to roll a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down every time he almost reached the top, for all of eternity. I can feel you nodding your collective heads right now. I KNOW! IT’S LIKE LAUNDRY!
So how do you actually make yourself slow down so that you can enjoy this fleeting season (or any season)? Fortunately for you, I have some suggestions:
(This is not a list – I would not do that to you. it’s a series of suggestions in no particular order. Take it or leave it. Really.)
- Throw out your List. I know you want to. Rather, discard the imaginary obligations you impose upon yourself that you believe somehow make you a better person. If everyone did this and stopped comparing themselves to one another, we would all be happier. You are enough. Your child will not be overcome by disease if you somehow give them (*clutches imaginary pearls*) store bought granola rather than make it yourself. I ate Oreos back when they were made with lard (the good old days), and I’m perfectly healthy.
- Block out non-negotiable YOU time daily. Stick to it. Tell everyone that they are on his or her own during this time. Give them the “Death Stare” if they try to infringe upon this time. And make it something that fulfills you: read, garden, meditate, spend time with friends. Don’t waste it on social media. Which bring me to:
- The time and soul sucker that is social media and electronics. Give yourself a Facebook/Instagram enema and cleanse yourself of the toxic people and sites and time vampires that stress you out or make you feel bad about yourself. Make your own highlight reel and give yourself the gift of presence rather than sharing. (The irony that this will be shared on social media is not lost on me)
- Eat like a Mediterranean. Small little plates of mouth-watering nibbles, enjoyed slowly over a long period of time in great company. Reconnect. Enjoy.
- Walk barefoot. Julia Roberts knew what she was doing in Pretty Woman when she got the stressed out corporate magnate to feel the grass between his toes. Naturopaths call this “earthing”. Also, it’s very difficult to walk quickly on gravel or hot asphalt, so there’s that.
- Teach someone how to do something. Anything. Cooking, dance, carpentry, how to fold a fitted sheet. This makes us more mindful since we no longer do it like an automaton.
- Close your eyes and listen. Pick out individual noises. Stop and identify them. It could be while you are waiting for the bus, or first thing in the morning, but this sound meditation really brings your attention to what is alive around you.
After incorporating these elements into your everyday life, it becomes habit. You become mellower and enjoy life more.
After ditching my List, I started sipping my coffee outside in the morning, with my bare feet in the grass as I watched Nature wake up. It’s no Chris Hemsworth, but it’ll do.
Written by Genevieve Herzog