How I Slow Down the Days

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

I know I've mentioned slow living a lot. In my diet, my routines, even in the content I consume. So many people are disillusioned with the breakneck speed of our modern world, even more so after the various lockdowns we've had, and slow living sounds like a lovely alternative. And so I've shared the details about these sub-sects of my life, about stitching them together to create a slower life in the long-term, but that doesn't answer the question for a lot of people of 'how do I slow down today?' So I have a few tips for you on how I instantly slow down a day that's feeling just too rushed. Things you can do this very moment to take that first step of slow living.


Sleep More. So much of the hurried feeling in our days is actually due to lack of sleep. We stay up too late and get up too early, trying to pack too many things into too little time. This benefits no one. Extra sleep actually does make the day feel longer, because you're more productive and focused when you're well-rested. If you still feel tired every morning, try going to bed earlier. And the answer to getting things done isn't to wake up every day at 4:30 in the morning - it's to remove things from your plate. The badge of busy isn't an honor.

Turn Off Notifications. Phone notifications drive me insane. Every time it dings, it draws your attention away from whatever you were doing previously. And nothing makes the day speed by like a constantly buzzing phone and trying to multitask. I have all notifications turned off except individual texts (I mute group texts) and phone calls. And if I'm concentrating on something else, I mute individual texts as well. I don't feel the need to be notified for every little calendar, e-mail, or Instagram alert. That's too exhausting. If my day is going to feel frazzled, it's not going to be because of a silly phone.

Cook Meals From Scratch. Modern food conveniences may seem like they're helpful, and sometimes they are. But oftentimes they just help rush us from one activity to the next and we're left wondering what we even put in our mouths. Cooking from scratch cannot be rushed. Each step must be intentionally completed before moving on in the recipe. It forces you to slow down and practice mindfulness around what you're creating and consuming. It doesn't need to be a particularly difficult recipe. Just taking the time to saute onions and listen to soup bubble can be enough to slow down and take a few deep breaths.

Enjoy Small Indulgences. This is the easiest way to slow down a harried day! But it's the most often skipped. We all try to just power through but breaks are necessary. And breaks are not just closing emails for 5 minutes while you gulp down a second coffee and check Instagram. Breaks should be time well spent, slowly and indulgently. A full lunch hour. A walk around the neighborhood, letting your dog stop and smell everything he wants to. Really tasting a piece of chocolate. If you're new to this slow living thing, set aside just 15 minutes in your day to enjoy a tiny indulgence and live just in that moment. Time slows way down when you savor things.

Use a Pen and Paper. If you do everything digitally, try pulling out that very old school pen and paper. I do use google calendar for scheduling just because it's easier to track birthdays and appointments that way, but when it comes to my daily to do lists, I love the feeling of writing these down on paper and crossing them off when finished. There's just something so slow and methodical about taking the extra time to write instead of type. And it doesn't need to be just about planning. Brew a cup of coffee or tea and sit down for 30 minutes to write a letter to a friend and put it in the mail. Journal. Color in a coloring book. Just put pen to paper.

Create Morning and Evening Rituals. I love my routines and stick to them daily but the word routine does imply that it's something I need to get done, like a cleaning routine. Ritual connotes something very different though, which is why I make sure there is some sort of enjoyable ritual in my day, both morning and evening. My morning ritual is my coffee. A sacred time! In the evening, it's my time with my planner, to wind down my brain. Book-ending my days with these little rituals makes every day so much more peaceful. There's no late nights scrolling on the phone or rushed mornings that jump right into running errands. I can't control everything in my day, but I can guarantee these few slow moments.

Create Slow Environments. Your environment has such a deep affect on your mood. A room that is brightly lit, with a TV blaring, dirty cups around, cold air circulating, phones buzzing - it just feels restless and stressful, like time is moving too fast to be able to keep up with it all. Instead, a room glowing with candles, or with a fireplace lit, cleaned up with the TV off and maybe some soft music playing instead - a complete 180 space that leaves you feeling relaxed, joyful, and in the moment. All just based on the environment around you. I never regret taking the time to straighten up a space and make it feel cozy. My time spent in a room like that feels so much slower and restful.

How do you slow down your days?