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When was the last time you actually took the time to start your day in the morning without rushing and fumbling out of bed? But got up with ease in unhurried motion? Mornings are my favorite time of the day where I slowly greet the day with great expectation. I used to never like mornings but now I just love mornings. Mornings for me are spent alone without distractions. It is my time to journal, pray, exercise, and meditate. This is how I normally approach my day before the demands of life take place.
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What Is Slow Living?
Slow living consists of being aware and relaxed in approaching life. You don’t get overwhelmed despite the responsibilities at hand. Furthermore, you have a way of handling anything with calmness. Your demeanor is relaxed no matter how hectic your days may get. You move at a slower pace, and you just flow with grace and poise. If only this is the case with me all the time. But not always. Although, I strive to do so. Slow living is a mindset. It is a choice.
Ways To Live In The Art Of Slowing Down:
#1. Enjoy Your Beverage.
Try to sip your cup of coffee or tea or whatever your favorite beverage might be in the morning. I know if you live in the U.S.A we have been accustomed to rushing through our day. No wonder we are often stressed out. Why not drink your coffee with a sense of ease and enjoyment? When I worked at the office several years ago, I had a habit of chugging my coffee down to my throat that often burned my tongue. That wasn’t fun at all.
#2. Savor Food At Every Bite.
Mindful eating takes discipline. If I may suggest, take the time to appreciate, enjoy and savor the food on your plate. What we eat is equivalently important in how we eat. Eating is supposed to be a celebration. It is a time to enjoy the blessings in front of you and the best way to have family discussions at the table. How many of us eat rushing or eat while working? If we don’t slow down and take the time to chew our food, this somehow leads to indigestion, acid reflux, and any other gastro problems. We also watch TV or YouTube videos and we never paid close attention to how much food we have already consumed. So try to be mindful of how you eat your food today.
#3. Planning Ahead.
Slow living requires time management and preparing food ahead of time. I find, one of the things that helped me a lot is to create a to-do list. It gives me direction to how I spend my day. A day spent with no direction is wasteful. It all comes down to balancing everything. Make sure you also pencil in a time for relaxation and decompression from responsibilities. Schedule a time for self-care. Another important aspect of planning ahead is saving time. For instance, preparing your vegetables by cutting and placing them in a container ahead of time saves time in the kitchen.
“We do not manage time, we manage activities within time.”-Benjamin Kelvin Clive
#4. Meditation & Breathing.
However you view meditation, well, it’s up to you. Everyone seems to have different opinions about it, especially in Christianity. According to Lamentations 3:28, “Let him sit alone in silence.” This verse for me supports the practice of meditation by sitting still in silence. As for me, I’ve incorporated meditation on & off in my life. Recently though, I have practiced it again mostly in the mornings. No, I am not into chanting. Words that I don’t quite understand. I just sit on a floor with my legs crossed and with my eyes closed. I would sit comfortably and listen to my breathing and my thoughts. Meditation focuses on the present moment. This is where awareness starts.
#5. Create An Organized & A Neat Space.
Slow living involves an organized structure to your surroundings. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier for you to locate your car keys, wallets, and purses without getting into a fit because you are running late, and you can’t find it? Make a habit to place these items in a designated location. Learn to tidy around your place. Create an inviting, cozy, and warm environment for you to come home to. I can’t possibly imagine living in a place where there is plenty of clutter around me.
Set up a day for tidying. Go through your rooms to clean, toss or donate anything you no longer need. Cleaning and organizing shouldn’t be that complicated. Clean as you go. For instance, if you have a drinking glass in your bedroom, bring it with you when you are on your way to the kitchen. Don’t let the dishes pile up. Try to wash them as soon as you are done eating.
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#6. Incorporate A Slow Pace Exercise.
I love to stretch my body in the morning. It helps to awaken my senses and gives my body a signal to wake up. Personally, I’m not into high-intensity work-out. The exercises I love doing are yoga, Pilates, ballet barre, and stretching. What I love about these movements especially in yoga and pilates are deliberate and slow that my body enjoys doing. Learn to listen to what your body needs.
#7. Practice Gratitude.
The beauty of slow living is appreciating what life brings. Gratitude is counting your blessings. Unfortunately, we live in a materialistic world where we constantly accumulate and hoard things. We rush in achieving more things that we seldom forget to be thankful for. We somehow never get satisfied or contented. We think the more we have the happier we become. Sadly, we equate stuff with happiness. I believe the more we practice gratitude the happier we become.
People who are grateful are the happiest people in the world. They never take things for granted, and they are the ones who are appreciative of the little things in life. Start counting your blessings today. Sometimes, I deliberately count my blessings. For instance, if I am in the kitchen, I would say, “thank you God for these vegetables that reached into my hand., thank you to the people who made it all possible, the farmers, truck drivers, people who work at the supermarket. We somehow forget what it takes to get our food on our plate. How blessed we truly are if we only appreciate the little conveniences in life.
If I may say so, if there’s one thing you can learn from me is to journal. Gather your thoughts by writing them down in a notebook. Journaling has been a therapeutic exercise for me. This method has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. You see things clearly without biased when it’s written in black and white. When I write down my thoughts, I feel a sense of ease. Our thoughts produce at least 60,000 – 80,000 a day. Writing them down helps us decipher what is really going on in our heads. So, just write down anything you want. It can be a reflection, gratitude, and prayerful journal. I don’t worry about grammatical errors. Journaling is a way for creative writing by simply expressing yourself.
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Don’t get me wrong, slow living isn’t being stagnant or being lazy. It actively engages with ease and more relaxed. We live in instant gratification and would want to see results overnight. Awareness and being present in the moment is another way to live a slower pace life. I used to live on the East coast where people usually rush throughout their day. And, when I moved to the West Coast, I’ve noticed how people are more laid back. The art of slowing down really is a choice. If you choose to live this way even if your surroundings are erratic, you decrease your chances of being stressed out.