3 Things to do Slower

things to do slower

I am turning 28 next month. Even as I type this I find it hard to believe.

Not because I’m terrified of getting old, but because on the one hand I feel like I’ve lived through at least three lifetimes, and on the other, it’s like “holy shit I’m almost 30, when did this happen??” I thought that I’d have everything figured by now. And I don’t. I’m not even close. And that’s okay.

There are two days in a year that usually make me think about time. New Year’s Eve and.. well.. my birthday. Every year, as both of those days approach, I think to myself “where has the time gone??“.

So many times we tell ourselves “I’ll be happy when ______” We’re constantly trying to get somewhere. Life became so busy. So loud. So exhausting, at times.

This is why I love my mornings so much. I get to just be. JUST drink tea or lemon water. JUST read. JUST meditate. Nothing else. Then, as soon as it’s time to get ready for the day, the race starts. We glorify busy. Busy is good. Busy is what we should strive for- that’s what we’re often told.

But what happens when we slow down? Life gets better. We enjoy the little things, we appreciate them more.

EAT

Eating is probably one of the most important places where you should slow down. I had a very unhealthy relationship with food for many years as a teen and young adult. Now, our relationship is special. It’s precious.

If I spend 3 hours making dinner on a Friday evening, there’s no way that I’ll eat it standing up, while also scrolling through my phone. Even if I know I’ll be eating alone, I make it special. I use a pretty plate, or a bowl, a placemat. I’ll sit comfortably in the kitchen and appreciate the texture, the flavors, the smell. Practice mindful eating, and you’ll also notice that you’ll feel full sooner, than you would if you ate your dinner mindlessly, while also watching TV or staring at your phone.

Mindful or slow eating doesn’t mean that you must have this entire ritual where it takes you 2 hours to empty your plate in complete silence. I can’t imagine having big family dinners in silence, with everyone closing their eyes at each bite, chewing each piece of brussels sprout for five minutes, without the kids screaming from time to time or without loud laughs. It’s about avoiding mindlessly shoving the food in your mouth in a hurry, while you’re distracted doing something else. There are many benefits to mindful eating, you can read about them in Leo’s article right here.

If you don’t have enough time to eat your dinner or breakfast slowly, take 5 or 10 minutes in the morning to really enjoy your tea or coffee. It’s a great opportunity to slow down.

Morning affirmations

WAIT

Raise your hand if you don’t like waiting in line, no matter how short?

At a doctor’s office, at a grocery store, at the mall, in a car wash or when stuck in traffic. We just get annoyed so easily and want to move up as quickly as possible, don’t we? We tap our feet, check our phones for time; all while realizing that it doesn’t matter how annoyed we get, it won’t make the line move any faster. The time you spend waiting, doesn’t have to be wasted.

Use that as an opportunity to slow down and be present. Look around you, notice the people around you, think about your plans for the evening. Notice your breath, use that time to practice a little gratitude. I always get a little sad when I see people complain about having to wait in line, especially at a grocery store. I’m standing here with a basket full of locally grown organic vegetables, a box of my favorite avocado sushi, a colorful magazine and a bottle of water, when in other parts of the world millions of children live in war-torn countries… Why would I complain about having to wait 10 minutes? I know that this is something your mom would tell you when you were little; “you better finish your dinner, there are starving children in Africa!” but it’s true. You have so much to be grateful for and standing in that line is a great opportunity to take a look around and see the things that you often take for granted.

Once you get into  habit of bringing yourself back into that present moment, you will never “waste” that time again.

FOCUS ON OTHERS

When I was a kid, I loved when my mom’s friends visited. Not because they always brought a little something for me and my sister, but because we also got to hang out with them (most of the time). We always had to have some cookies and good tea and a bottle of wine; just in case someone showed up. Yup. That’s what all my aunts and uncles did. There was no “let me check my schedule“. People would stop by. Just because.

On Saturdays, my mom always baked a cake. Sometimes, one or two of my aunts would stop by during the week after work. I loved sitting in my room doing my homework while hearing their loud laughs coming from the kitchen or the living room. Weekday visits also meant that my sister and I got to go to bed a little later or that we could watch TV.

My cousins, my sister and I actually used to play “aunties” and we’d pretend to be adult women coming over each other’s homes for a chat and coffee. Man, we just couldn’t wait to grow up and be able to hang out with our own friends, in our own living rooms, drinking real wine, (not currant juice, hehe) complaining about our husbands (for some strange reason this was always something we’d talk about on our fake “get togethers”).

Well, then you grow up and you realize that times have changed. Everyone is constantly busy. Everyone’s kids have so many after-school activities that unannounced visits are often out of the question. This is why the time we do spend with others, even if it’s just 30 minutes, is precious.

Just like the food, we should savor that time. Spend time with others, slowly. Notice how their eyes widen and twinkle when they talk about something exiting that’s happening in their lives. How they gesticulate when they tell that funny story about something that happened at work.

Listen.

I know that it’s natural for us to talk about ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we just have so much to say, we keep cutting each other off- this is something I personally had to unlearn. How? By focusing on the person I’m speaking to. I listen, I watch, I try to take in their every word. If you do this, you end up really being there, in that moment; with your friend, or your mom, or your partner. You don’t just meet, you connect.

I think that there are many other things in life we can do slower (even something simple as washing your dishes) but these three are some of the most important ones.  Or, perhaps what I should say instead, is that those are the things that made the biggest difference in my life.

These three things: eating, waiting, being with people-  are all things we all already do, why not try doing them a little slower?


slow living | mindfulness | things to do slower | wellness | happy and mindful | mindful | happiness | self-growth
  • Lubna M Umar

    Such a thoughtful post ! I agree with you ! We need to slow down and focus on the small things in life, which make it worth living x
    http://www.themisslubna.com

  • Kat

    Hi Paula, fab post and I thoroughly enjoyed it and will read again in the morning as I am enjoying my beloved morning ritual – like you I adore my mornings . . . just to enjoy and be – when my day starts later on I feel rushed often and I dislike that and am working on that. I soooo agree with the mindful eating you speak of. I am totally a mindful eater and put that into practice about a year ago after recovering from a serious illness and now it is just second nature and has made so much difference in how I prep my meals and how I now thoroughly savour each DELISH mouthful. If you even just prep a tomato – slice it up nicely, arrange it on a pretty plate, spritz a bit of healthy balsamic vinegar on it, drop on a tad of a fave spice and sniff in the aroma and then sit down and it is sooo much more than just a tomato – now that is a truly basic example but prepping and presentation and anticipation add to the mindful eating experience and resulting enjoyment. Soon, mindfulness will overlap to other areas of your life, which sure happened with me, and it’s soooo refreshing and settling to feel that new attachment to previously routine areas of your life! I am now a very soulful person and much more grounded and live in the moment more so there you have it – a testament to your slow down advice! Thanks, girl, and enjoy your week-end and the idea of turning 28!!!!

    • Thank you so much Kat, glad you liked the post! :) I LOVE the smell of tomato and balsamic vinegar- it’s such a simple but amazing combination. I just love the whole concept of slower living, it makes you appreciate everything so much more and you actually give everything the attention it deserves and feel so at peace.

  • This is such fantastic advice! xx

    Lexie
    nailgirl.net

  • Reetuparna Saha

    What amazing read this one was Paula! It’s true time flies away soon and it’s only late on that we realize the value of taking a pause, look around and cherish the moments. I make time to sit down and talk to family, although I quite prefer solitude most times. We connect and share, and that’s so worth it. We are caught in a rat race of growing up and knowing to shoulder responsibilities. Somewhere amidst the hustle bustle of life, we lose ourselves. Falling in the same age group as you, it has only recently dawned upon me to take it easy. And your post tells it all so well. Cheers!
    http://ambersity.com

    • Thank you so much! It’s so important to take time and truly appreciate those little things, especially when we’re all so busy and constantly running places. Thank yo so much for taking the time to read this post!

      • Reetuparna Saha

        Sure it was a lovely read. :)

  • We should indeed take time to do some things sometimes. It gives us an opportunity to reflect and appreciate things more. :)

    http://thewallflowersecrets.com

  • I really enjoyed this, I definitely need to work on eating more slowly, I’m always in a hurry. I love cooking so I should put a little bit more love into the eating too.

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

    • Thanks Natalie! I always seem to be in a hurry too and I still sometimes eat on the run, but do try to make an effort to have a “slow” meal on regular basis.

  • I got myself out of a habit of always having to play/read something while waiting. It was hard at first, but now I don’t get even nearly as anxious about being idle 5 seconds in. Such an improvement to quality of life!

  • I am definitely guilty of speed eating, and I really do need to work on it.. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!
    -Maddy
    cheers-maddy.com

  • I really appreciated your thoughts on these – I have the worst habit of spending hours in the kitchen, prparing a meal, only to wolfe it down without a thought – Guess I should slow down a little with the eating!

    xx Bry Jaimea || htps://shortcutecompact.com

  • Just being in the moment sometimes is really refreshing. Not looking at your phone and just being present. Love it!
    Sophia xx | http://sophiawhitham.co.uk

  • This is a great post! It’s so easy to be ‘busy’ with life… Your busy for the sake of being busy half the time, so it’s nice to just take a moment to relax and enjoy the present!

    http://thedianaedition.com

    • Thank you Diana. It definitely is nice to slow things down. Even if it’s just one thing we do a day, like having dinner.

  • Wow, you defintely don’t look 28, you’re doing fab!
    Loved reading this post, very inspiring.

    Alice | alicemaysnell

  • Really enjoyed reading this post – it’s so positive! It is amazing hoe fast time flies by so I agree with you, it’s important to slow down and savour every moment instead of just rushing all the time! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

  • Natalie Redman

    Oh I definitely agree with eating slower. I’m so bad at it!

    http://www.upyourvlog.com

  • Ana

    I’m the most impatient person ever so I should take your advice and try to ‘enjoy’ more my waitings. And also taking time to eat it’s so important as well xxx
    http://fallingforablog.blogspot.com.es/2017/03/3-books-that-will-make-you-fall-in-love.html

    • It’s not easy at first (I know because I’m inpatient too sometimes hehe) but it reduces the stress so much. You suddenly stop being so upset at having to “wait”.

  • Great post, I was actually just in the middle of writing a similar one about not rushing through everything in life myself. I particularly agree with the one about waiting in line, it’s never been an issue to me because as you say you can’t change how long you’re there so why get annoyed over it? I definitely need to try and take note of the last bit more often though; I used to be very much about listening and still don’t speak much but when I do feel I have something to say I do often find myself interrupting others which is just inexcusable and not helping anyone else. I try to remind myself that when I speak I’m only repeating something I already know but listening to others might give me the chance to learn something new.

    • Thank you! Great minds, hehe ;) I tend to interrupt too (ups!) but that’s something that I definitely got much better at. Sometimes you’re just so excited to finally catch up with a friend, you can’t help it haha ;) I try to listen a lot more these days.

  • This is such a thoughtful post Paula, I loved it. Hold on, are you Aries/Taurus? I am sure I have asked you before, but I am also April baby. (This might explain why I always find that we think alike :-P). And yes – when my birthday approaches – I always feel like I haven’t achieved much in life compared to what I thought I would. I don’t know why, but I am still pretty much a kid in my head; even everyone in my family still treats me as a child. I guess we have to embrace life and stop worrying over silly things! Everything come in the right time! Hugsss xx

    Naya // http://www.partyparrotblog.com

    • Thank you so much Naya! Haha yes you have asked me that before! :) I’m Aries- April 7th ;) When I was younger I always thought that you eventually get the point where you know exactly what your life will look like for years to come, and it just doesn’t work like that. Not to sound cheesy, but it really is more about the “journey” than it is about reaching a certain point. xx

      • Heh, I know what you mean! I was the same, so agree 100%! :))

  • Zara

    I really loved this post actually it was such a great reminder to slow down. It’s almost embarrassing how much of the day I spend on my phone even when I’m cooking or on a five minute walk to the train station I’ll constantly be on my phone or worrying about what I need to do. I love the idea of always setting the table nicely to eat one night in the week, I think I am going to try that! x
    http://www.misszarabelle.com

    • Thank you Zara! I think meal times is a great place to start because it’s an issue to a lot of us. Setting everything up nicely and actually enjoying a home cooked meal, not being on your phone or watching TV- it can be just as fun as going out to eat to a restaurant. x

  • What a lovely post I actually agree, I don’t realise that I’m actually rushing when I’m eating etc. It would be so nice to actually just enjoy myself and spend more time with others.

    Lauren x Huggled

    • We often seek happiness, but the truth is, we can find joy doing those very simple things we do every single day :)

  • When you said you’ll be 28 soon, I had to pause to remember how old I am. I’d never forgotten my age before! Scary. I’ll be 28 this year as well.
    I think it’s interesting when I have to wait in line and everyone else has pulled out their phones. I think there’s just way to much stimulation now, being idle is a terrifying thing. Love this post!

    Jenn │ Beauty by Jellybean

    • Haha, I was convinced that I’ll be 27 until I actually did the math. After I turned 25, I just stopped counting lol!

  • Love this post, love! When I went to Paris, I loved how everyone really sat down to enjoy their meal. It wasn’t a race to finish eating so you could get back to work. They take the time to really enjoy it and unwind. It’s crazy going to other countries and seeing how a lot of cultures live “slower” than Americans. Some don’t, but a lot do. I experienced the same thing when I visited Istanbul. Everyone would always be outside, drinking Turkish tea and just relaxing. The scenery was also so beautiful and breathtaking. At the time, I couldn’t use my phone internationally, and it made the trip that much more special because I stopped and looked around at the world and the people. I wasn’t busy snapping and not living in the moment.

    xx
    Nida | Caked To The Nines

    • Thank you so much Nida! I think in different parts of the world, people have a completely different outlook on life. Especially in Europe- people just live slower, they take their time, no one is in a rush. In Poland where I grew up people stop in the middle of the day to go out to eat, to have coffee or grab a beer after work, they don’t run everywhere like we do. I love visiting beer gardens during summer there- it’s so nice to sit outside and just hang out. I swear that 90% of the people I hang out with always have their phones out and it irritates the shit out of me hehe.

      • Omg yes!! I went to a concert recently and all of my friends were on their phones snapping themselves at the concert and not even watching the person actually playing. I was so irritated lol! I always like to put my phone away when I’m out and pay attention to the people I’m with and what I’m doing. So glad I’m not the only one irritated by that!

  • This is a great post and a nice reminder that we should slow down – and not only when eating, waiting or being with people. Loved reading it! :-)

  • Amazing post ! And I love the pictures . <3

  • Elaine Lawton

    I am now one of those people who doesn’t mind waiting, though I usually have my drop spindle in tow if I am going to be a while :)