THE ART OF SLOWING DOWN
All month we’ve been talking about simplifying. I hope you have been doing just that. A simpler life is ok. We don’t need crazy. We’re not going to miss anything, we’re going to notice a whole lot more. But here’s the problem, we’re like “hectic junkies” that don’t feel comfortable without every square on our calendars filled in. We start to feel like it’s ok to start fill them back in after we’ve only just evaluated everything and said no to a whole slew of things. The challenge for us is to figure out how to be ok with not having every moment booked up–how to just be. To me, this is where I need to just slow everything down.
The Art of Slowing Down
How is it that we can take our crazy, busy calendars, cut half the stuff off of it, and just be in those blank spot where we were previously running ourselves ragged? I kind of picture it like taffy. Yes, taffy. Everything we need to do, that we can’t say no to, is like this beautiful stretchy taffy. We feel the need to be busy all. the. time. But we already have all these things filling our time anyway, like making dinner, doing school, cleaning our house, our children–our taffy. Slowing down can be an art form–it can. Take all those things that we do every single day, our taffy, and stretch it out over all those blank spots that are making us feel like we should be doing more. Stretch those things out and enjoy them. Yes, enjoy making dinner. Yes, enjoy cleaning your floors–they’re going to look so good! Yes, enjoy your kids–they’re messy but they’re pretty cool.
Kids hate to be rushed. They are the epitome of “slowing down.” My mom remembers this vividly when we were young: I was always in everything, and as my mom was getting my younger brother and sister ready to drag them out to yet another one of my softball games, my sister looked at my mom and said, “Do you know what word I hate, Mom?” My mom had no idea. “Hurry,” she said from underneath her puffy bangs. Yes, kids hate to hurry.
We can remedy that for them.
Our culture tells us to be busy. We are busy enough. Culture tells us to go fast, not to miss anything. Time goes fast enough.
Take your sweet taffy, enjoy it, make it last your whole day–slow down.
Ways You Can Slow Down–Today
1. GO OUTSIDE: everything slows down outdoors. Leave your phone inside to not tempt you to fill in the quiet with Pinterest and Facebook. Follow your kids and look for treasures. Cool mushrooms, changing leaves, squirrels packing away food for the winter. Just enjoy being outside. See the little things you would have missed if you’d have been taxiing in your car.
2. CUT DOWN ON YOUR ERRAND-RUNNING: Order your necessities like toilet paper online. Save all your errands for one day of the week. Find a dry cleaner that delivers or a pharmacy that delivers.
3. ENJOY COOKING: Even if you don’t really like cooking, you can do this. Find some new recipes or pull out some old ones. Start early, not at 5:45. Turn on some mood music like Norah Jones radio. Pull all your ingredients out and set them on the counter. Enjoy creating with food. Set a pretty table and enjoy eating your beautiful meal with those you love most.
4. PLAY: I’m not very good at this. But maybe it might just help you slow down. Just sit for twenty minutes and drive Hot Wheels over the carpet. Help arrange the Barbie’s wardrobe and primp the dollhouse. Just sit with them–they will love that.
5. HAVE ABSOLUTE QUIET FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES AFTER YOU WAKE UP: We’ve talked here about having a daily planning session already. Add to that by just sitting for at least 15 minutes with your coffee not doing anything. Not getting breakfast ready, not thinking about your to do list, nothing. Just sit and let quiet start your day.
6. DO ONE THING AT A TIME: How many times have we realized we were brushing our teeth while making our bed while getting our sock on? Ya, that. Focus on one thing at a time. It’s hard for us multi-taskers. But Just try it.
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8. SAY NO
This post is part of a 31-day series on simplifying our homes and schools.
To read from the beginning of this series, click here:
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Christi, I think that's amazing you got all your shopping done for 3-4 months. Definitely something I'm going to think about!
Love the taffy analogy! Thanks for the reminder, friend!
This may be my favorite post yet! I made it a goal for myself this year to never use the phrase "hurry up" with my boys. Of course it has not gone perfectly. It has, however, changed the tone when we have to leave.
Errands, etc :: well, we talked about this a little already, but the BEST thing I've ever done was to make a MEGA list of everything – household & groceries – that we would use for 3/4 months. It was hard & took a while, but after it was made I went to the store and bought ALL OF IT. It about killed me. And oh my word, it was hard putting it all away. BUT, (I did this in October) I didn't have to go back to the store until well after the first of the year. Except for fresh stuff.
As my boys grow older I am more aware of how quickly the time goes. I wish I'd been more of a player. I'm thankful we have the bulk of our days to do just as we please & I do try not to waste a minute! 🙂