Life has taught us from the start that we need to do a million things to succeed or feel accomplished. From taking seven to eight classes from basic school to high school, we have been programmed to think that doing more translates into accomplishing our goals.
We’ve been told that if we want to get into a good college, we must take the most challenging classes and participate in as many extracurricular activities as possible.
This mentality continues when we enter the workforce, we’re encouraged to continuously hustle and grind away at our jobs, side hustles, and hobbies, day in and day out.
With all this pressure it’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed and suffer from the fear of missing out (FOMO).
I think it’s time we stop and reevaluate our lives. Instead of trying to do a million things, let’s focus on a few important things and give them our undivided attention.
In this article, I’ll go over the importance of slowing down, how it can benefit your mental and physical health, and some simple ways to start incorporating it into your life today.
- Why Slowing Down Is Important
- How Slowing Down Can Benefit Your Mental and Physical Health
- How To Start Slowing Down
- Turn Off the Noise
- Questions You May Have
Why Slowing Down Is Important
I’ve been struggling lately with “keeping up” with the standards society has set for us. From creating more blog posts to branching off into social media like TikTok, Instagram, and even YouTube, it feels like I’m not doing anything near enough.
It has caused me to spiral into anxiety and depression, wondering what I’m doing wrong. Why can’t I seem to get ahead? Or why do I not have the energy to do anything that the “gurus” have recommended?
I realized that it all boils down to one thing: I’ve been trying to go too fast.
I was so focused on trying to add more things to my to-do list that I didn’t realize I was becoming the poster child for another burnout.
Friends and family have tried to help, but when I get stuck on something, the only person who can help me is me.
Once I stopped doing everything on my to-do list, took more than a few naps, and started doing the things I enjoy, like journaling and drawing. I started to understand why I was feeling overwhelmed.
I realized that when people feel that they’re not doing enough, like myself these past few months, it’s because we don’t know how to take it easy.
For years, we’ve been programmed to think that doing more means getting ahead, but that’s not necessarily true.
I was looking at a photograph from a few years ago, and on that day, I was very adamant about completing something that couldn’t wait until another day. The crazy thing is that I spent hours trying to remember exactly what I had to do, and I simply could not recall.
What was so important that I needed to travel with a heavy laptop, disappear for a few hours and get it done? But try as I might, I just couldn’t remember, and I still don’t.
It hit me then that the thing I was trying to accomplish didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. If I had immersed myself into being present and enjoying that day, I would have created a more pleasant memory that would have lasted a lifetime.
Slowing down and taking it easy has become more crucial than ever in today’s society. It’s slowly becoming a vital part of my life.
With the constant hustle and grind, we tend to forget to live our lives and enjoy the moments as they’re happening. This is what makes slowing down important.
How Slowing Down Can Benefit Your Mental and Physical Health
You will miss important things when you’re moving too fast. How often have you been in a hurry to get somewhere, and you’ve accidentally left your phone, wallet, or keys behind?
It happens more often than we care to admit, but it’s because we’re not paying attention to our surroundings. We’re thinking of what we have to do in the next hour, five hours, or the next day without acknowledging that we are present in the now that we’re ignoring.
When we’re focused on getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible, we miss all the gems along the way. We convince ourselves that getting to Point B is the most important thing and nothing else matters. But the truth is, between Points A and B is where life happens.
When you slow down, you realize that the things you thought were important, really don’t mean anything significant to you; you were just doing it because you thought that’s what you were “supposed” to do.
Being constantly on the move keeps your body in a state of stress which is detrimental to your mental health.
Think about it. How do you feel at the end of the day if you spent the entire day driving or hopping on and off the train to get to classes or work?
Since I’ve been in both situations, I know at the end of the day, all I want to do is sleep. Sometimes I’m too tired to eat, and when that happens, my physical health starts to decline.
Slowing down not only allows you to take a break, it allows your mind and body the chance to rejuvenate.
Minimizing the things you have to do throughout the day can help reduce the amount of stress you’re putting on yourself.
It’s not about doing nothing all day; it’s about learning to balance the things you have to do with the things you want to do.
Suppose you have to work eight hours a day. Then after work, instead of going home and repainting your bathroom walls, cooking dinner for ten friends, and reupholstering your dining room chair, all in one evening, do one thing from that list and if you don’t finish it that day, leave if for the following day.
I believe we’ve been living such fast-paced lives because we think we could die at any moment, and we want to do as much as possible while we’re still alive, but the question is:
Will you be happy with all the things you “needed to do,” or will you look back and realize that you wasted your time and missed out on some of the best years of your life because you were too busy trying to do everything?
Let’s ponder on that question for a bit.
How To Start Slowing Down
It will take time to slow down. You first must deconstruct the societal way of thinking that tells us we have to be constantly on the move. That, to me, is the hard part.
When it’s been pounded in your head since birth that fast-paced life is the only way to live, it’s hard to imagine anything different.
The key is to be patient and take baby steps until you’re comfortable with the change.
Here are some simple tips on how you can start slowing down:
1. Acknowledge that something needs to change
Feeling like you’re not enough, not having the energy to keep up or do what’s recommended, and being unhappy are all signs that something in your life needs to change. Acceptance is the first step because once you realize that the way you’re living is not conducive to a happy and healthy life, you can begin to implement changes.
2. Determine what’s important to you
What would you rather be doing? The things you spend your time on when you’re procrastinating on “important tasks” are things that you enjoy doing.
For example, if you find yourself bored at work or in class, and instead of working on the project you’re supposed to be working on, you begin watching YouTube videos of things you enjoy seeing or reading articles about things you want to learn more about.
That’s a giant clue! What you’re focusing on is telling you something about yourself that you’re not taking seriously.
Someone once told me that they watch YouTube travel videos because it makes them feel great seeing someone live the life they always dreamed of.
Although that person may not be able to travel the world at the moment, by watching those videos, they are subconsciously telling themselves that it’s something they eventually want to do.
Follow that feeling.
3. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries can be more difficult than anything else mentioned because we’ve been taught to be accommodating and caring about other people’s feelings. While this is true, there must be healthy limits.
If someone feels like they have access to you 100% of the time, they’ll probably start to take advantage of the situation unknowingly.
It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to put yourself first, and it’s okay to have all the “me time” you desire.
It’s not selfish to put yourself first; you need to do so more often.
You can’t take care of everyone, so don’t try. Focus on yourself because if you’re not taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.
Recommended Article: The Importance of Taking Me Time: Why Everyone Needs Alone Time
Turn Off the Noise
Pop some noise-canceling headphones on and listen to absolutely nothing. Observe your thoughts but don’t engage any of them. Lay back and relax.
Not because you can do everything and you’re good at many things mean that you should do it all.
You’re allowed to pick and choose what you want to do with your time and energy.
If you desire to do nothing today, then do nothing. When the time comes for you to be productive, take it one task at a time. Juggling a million things will only cause you more stress, anxiety, and spiral you into a depressive state.
Spend your days doing what you love so you won’t hate your life. You may be on this earth for the next 40–60 years so make it count and enjoyable for you.
Take the time to smell the roses, as they say. You’ll find that life is more enjoyable when you’re not being Speedy Gonzales.
Everyone wants to look back at their life and be proud of the choices they made, not wonder what kept them so busy that they couldn’t live their best lives.
If you’re feeling like you’re not doing enough, it’s probably because you’re not focusing on the things that are important to you.
Slow down, take a deep breath, and relax.
Do exactly what you want to do with your time, and don’t allow anyone else who’s drinking the Kool-Aid to dictate to you how you should be living your life.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or not doing enough, take a step back and relax. I promise it will open your eyes to what’s really important to you.
You have the rest of your life to live, so make it count by doing exactly what you want to do. There’s really no rush.
Think of it this way, if you had ten hours to live, would you spend nine hours doing something you disliked because someone else said you had to do it that way?
I hope this article has helped you realize that it’s okay to slow down and enjoy life. These tips are a huge reminder for me, so I hope they will help you, your family, and your friends. So if it resonated with you, please share this blog post with them, especially the ones who feel like they’re not doing enough.
What tips do you have for slowing down and enjoying life? Please share in the comments below!
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Questions You May Have
How can I practice slowing down?
The best way to slow down is by setting boundaries, turning off the noise, and focusing on what’s important to you. Make yourself your top priority and spend time doing the things you enjoy.
Why is slowing down a good thing?
Slowing down allows you to focus on what’s important, reconnect with yourself, and enjoy life. It’s not about being lazy; it’s about taking the time to do the things you’d rather be doing.
How do I know if I’m going too fast?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or like you’re not doing enough, it’s probably because you’re going too fast. Take a step back and reassess your priorities. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself first and foremost.