On slowing down

A shot of the little town I just returned to and happen to call home.

I have been home for nearly a week from the most hectic and toughest semester of school I have ever endured. And I’m finding it hard to slow down and breathe. Turns out, I’m an always-needs-a-full-to-do-list kind of girl, which means it is hard for me to find that one thing I’m constantly searching for (and trying to share with you how to reach) — balance.

In the several cherished days I have been back with my nerdy, ridiculous yet amazing family I have finished a large crocheting project for a friend, lost my beloved planner and started back at my part-time job full force.

However, even though my day-to-day life has much fewer to-do list items to complete, I find myself trying to fill up neon post-it notes with things accomplish. I just cannot seem to slow down, my brain swimming with better ways to use my time or improve my craft.

Ever find yourself in this place? Having time to relax, the ability to let Momma do the dishes and laundry yet still unable to let go, breathe and simply let your body recuperate.

Although I have definitely not mastered the art of slowing down, here are some ways I’m trying to make myself a calmer, more serene person after some of the most frenzied months of my life.

  1. Seek silence. I know I try to fill every empty moment with the latest episode of This American Life or that CD I just downloaded and haven’t yet had the chance to listen to, but sometimes quiet it really what you need.

    Try starting your morning sans radio or television.  The quiet might feel empty, strange, lonely but after a while you might just find silence is actually what you needed all along. The quiet can center you, and at the beginning of the day serves as an anchor, the perfect place to start your soon-to-be crazy day.

  2. Read. College (and work too, I’m sure) isn’t the best motivator for pleasure reading. I mean, I do enough of that already. But, for those times you have to slow down, stop your mind from endless turning and read a story you can dig your teeth into. For me, that usually means fiction lately of the Steven King variety, although books about writing pique my interest too. But you might need a solid historical nonfiction or self-help book to get caught up in the words enough to let go of the seeming endless list of things you think you need to do. Let stories carry you away.
  3. Savor. Whether it’s a piece of your favorite chocolate or the heavenly smell of the too-tall Christmas tree your family just set up, don’t rush enjoying things. Stop and give special attention to why you find something lovely.

    Beauty, no matter which sense you experience it through, has a way of making you forget about yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard or run too fast and miss it.

  4. Play. Don’t let what others think stop you from having a little fun every day. Yes, be professional at work, but don’t let it bog you down. Hum a tune, dance when no one is in your office or let your imagination run wild on your lunch break.

    Personally, my favorite is to pretend like my car is a club on my drive to work. Loud music and wild car dancing moves — a.k.a. flailing arms, pounding fists and lots of shoulder movement — fill my tiny vehicle.

So, that’s what I’m trying to do to bring some peace and balance back into this busy life of mine. How are you slowing down this Christmas season? I want to know all your tricks!

Til then!

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