Slowing down sounds incredibly appealing, but does it ever really happen? There’s always chores to finish, events to attend, errands to run, and places to be. And with phones attached to our palms, even when we’re sitting still physically, our minds are constantly busy with email notifications or the urge to Instagram.
But truly slowing down is actually imperative to your health; it gives your mind and body time to rest and recharge. The hard part? Choosing to chill out takes a lot of effort. It requires being mindful of the way you spend your time and the mindset you put yourself in. It also involves leaving room for it in your busy schedule.
Here are 5 ways to slow down—for real this time.
1. Savor down time
Watching a reality show at the end of a long day is one of life’s truest pleasures, at least for me. Instead of catching up on Real Housewives while texting friends, checking Snapchats, and pinning from your iPad, nix the hand-held devices. Physically put them in the other room and enjoy just one thing.
2. Make driving zen
While taking a slow, scenic drive is one way to relax, the type of driving we do on a daily basis is anything but. Instead of racing to your destination and cutting people off on the way, give yourself 5 extra minutes to enjoy the ride. Put on a podcast or music you love, drive slow, and leave the road rage to everyone else.
3. Single-task chores
If you’re the queen of making dinner while folding laundry and feeding your cat, stop! Multi-tasking chores might seem smart, but it’s actually making you more stressed and is training your brain to have a shorter attention span. Make dinner and enjoy the process—without thinking of the other tasks you could fit in.
4. Say ‘no’ once a week
One night a week, make a hard “no-plans” rule. That means no dinner with friends, no attending someone’s event, and no taking on extra work at the office. Instead, take a bath, read a book, or just sleep! Saying no to everyone might seem selfish, but carving this time for yourself to recharge is crucial.
5. Meditate, kinda
If you’re a fan of meditation or willing to try, it’s a great way to sit still and let your eyes rest. Even if your mind wanders—which it will—try your best to slow your body and brain through the practice. If you can’t get on board with traditional meditation, take a couple minutes a day to sit and breath (which is basically meditation). The Headspace app is perfect for non-believers and beginners.