What are you doing to slow things down?
To come back down to earth, to centre yourself and find you. As in, the you that doesn’t think a thousand things at once or sweat the small stuff.
J u n e has traditionally been the month where I panic slightly about how quickly it’s all moving and how much I have to do and while I still think all these things I’ve decided that the worry is all in my head when really what I need to do is c h i l l, take stock of the year that has been and re-focus my energy and mind on finishing strong.
So here are 7 things I’m doing now to relieve some of the overwhelm and unnecessary stress that comes from thinking too much about the wrong kind of thing!
1. Go to bed early (except for one night)
It seems so simple doesn’t it? For me personally, I think that my night-owl nature has gotten progressively worse since I realised that night-time is also when my son sleeps best and so that time has become yet another chance to ‘get things done’. Instead and with the exception of one night a week I think somewhere between 9 pm or 10 pm is a good time to turn in (especially if I’m going to do 2.)
2. Read a mindfulness book before bed (instead of internet scrolling and the like)
I would also say read a novel here but personally I find it quite hard to stop reading a good one so I have instead turned to mindfulness books. Recently I started reading ‘Simplicite‘ (in book form, so I’m not tempted to internet surf!!) and while a lot of the lessons are things I already know and aspire to, it’s an easy read and a quietly inspiring one which should send me off to sleep with a clear head. 20 minutes or a chapter is a good aim.
3. Clear out your inbox (and take a good hard look at your subscriptions on the whole)
Subscriptions (some of which you pay for) are a choice! And this doesn’t just extend to emails. When it comes to my inbox I’m pretty good at keeping it clear, although a date with unroll.me is calling (this let’s you see and unsubscribe from as many or as few emails as you’d like especially the ones you ‘don’t remember signing up for’). Ask yourself, of the things you are subscribed to, what are ‘need to know‘ and therefore important (bills/payments) and which will bring you the kind of value and joy that you’d miss it if it wasn’t there? Go forth with just those and see how much lighter you’ll feel (you can always resubscribe if you miss them t h a t much!)
4. Exercise for 30 minutes (3 times a week – as a starting point)
I admit that Winter is a tough time to start an exercise plan but of all the things on my to-do list recently, this one feels the most gratifying. Recently my husband put together a little circuit of exercises that I can do at home (Note: I asked him to given that once upon a time he was studying towards being a PT) and I do these in addition to my good old faithful exercycle. I started this habit 10 days ago and besides the physical payoff I feel head-strong and mind-fit.
5. Plan out my day the night before (that goes for meals too)
The problem with planning too far ahead is that I don’t always leave room for spontaneity as in, plans changing or a sudden desire to do something else which inevitably always happens. So by planning the night before I know what I’m doing which is getting things done but being realistic at the same time.
6. Clear the bench the night before (put the clean dishes away)
Waking up to a messy kitchen bench is a little soul-destroying and sometimes it feels like you’re starting the day on the back foot. While a dishwasher won’t clean your bench for you I can quite honestly say that having just bought a new one (after living without one for a year) this habit should be more than achievable.
7. Buy flowers or pick flowers for the kitchen table (once a week)
I generally only buy flowers for a ‘reason’ (usually to brighten someone else’s day) but seldom do I buy them to bring joy to my own, which they do very much (the proteas above are still going strong from my birthday two weeks ago). In a way they symbolise a fresh start and are a lovely reminder of the season so whether picked, foraged or bought, I’d like to see more of them on my kitchen table.
While I admit that I am no expert on the subject of overwhelm or on relieving it, I thought I’d leave this here for anyone else out there who dares to switch lanes and chooses to g o s l o w if only to be more productive in all the ways that really matter.
Here’s to less overwhelm and more clarity!
As always, do feel free to share what little habits/rituals help you find some calm amidst the chaos!