Is Xmas time full of stress for you, family, friends or work colleagues?
For many it’s a particularly crazy time meeting deadlines, watching the clock and ticking off to-do lists.
Somehow it seems slowing down and pausing for a few moments is easier said than done.
However, managing stress by fine-tuning the art of slowing down regularly can make all the difference to our heath and wellbeing at any time of year.
The benefits may be obvious!
However, giving ourselves the permission to slow down as part of our daily routine can be more complicated.
The Art of Pausing
Pausing for a short time in your day is one way to slow down. Building in a regular pause takes determination, discipline and practice.
5 practical steps to slow down.
Do you spring out of bed in the morning? Or do you reluctantly crawl out of bed?
Either way, take a pause before you get out of bed. Take three long, deep breaths and gently stretch your body. Slowly get out of bed and take time to enjoy each moment of your morning routine.
Is breakfast a little frantic, fast paced and time limited?
Create at least one or two breakfasts in your week where you can slow your eating, appreciating the flavours and textures of your food.
This daily practice does not work when driving a car!
There are millions of people travelling on planes, buses, trains, trams and ferries every day.
Are you one of them?
Most people have their head buried in a newspaper, or more likely in a screen of some kind. Many have their ears glued to headphones. A few are actually talking to somebody!
On your commute I encourage you to sit for a moment, (or stand if you have to).
Take the time to focus all your attention on slowing your breathing and become aware of all your senses. See if you can put all your thoughts about the day ahead to one side.
If you are lucky enough to sit by a window, appreciate the view, watch traffic, people, clouds, the sky…
Are you getting enough breaks in the day?
When you get a break have a slow cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy the taste and smell. If you close your eyes for a moment focus only on the experience of all your senses and enjoy your cuppa.
Does your mind work overtime at night?
Lots of people have busy minds as they hit the pillow at night. Build a long pause at this time with some long, deep breaths and focus on the rhythm of your breathing. Put on a meditation or relaxation disc.
Choose one of these common daily routines as a starting point to slowing down.