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I was enjoying a wonderful weekend afternoon with Kieran feeling utter contentment, peace and happiness, when it hit me, again…
This week has flown by. It’s Sunday already.
Which means work starts back up again tomorrow with another jam-packed week of to-do’s.
In fact when I thought about it, the year so far had gone by so quickly. It felt like yesterday we were celebrating Kierans birthday on a cold February weekend in Edinburgh, and here we are in June, already.
I can’t even imagine how quickly life must seem to go when raising children either. It seems to FLY BY, in the blink of an eye, so my mum used to tell me.
Sometimes I still feel like I’m fresh out of university. And then with a resounding thud I realise that was nearly 10 years ago….
But the thing is; I don’t want my life to fly by.
We’re constantly bombarded with the being told to do well in school, to go to college, to climb the corporate ladder, to get married and have children, to buy a house etc. Motivated naively by the idea that we’ll rest when we’re retired. Or even more morbidly, we’ll sleep when we’re dead.
“Life’s for living” is a phrase often used to motivate us and make us go and get our dreams. Often said to ‘amp’ us up to go get what we want. But the problem is, we want everything NOW. As a society we’re getting more impatient and everything needs to move quicker to accommodate our fast-paced, ‘goal-getting’ lives.
That’s how you suddenly realise you’re in your thirties and your 20’s just. flew. by.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE being thirty. And for me turning 30 came with a natural instinct to want to slow down and appreciate the every day moments I was taking for granted. The small victories in my working week. But it does come as quite a shock when you really sit down and think about how quickly time seems to have passed by.
So I’d like to turn the table on this concept that we need to ‘rush’ through our lives. I’d like to rebel against the idea that we’ll only feel contented when we own the big house and earn the big salary. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong about wanting those things, I want them myself! But I want to enjoy ‘the now‘ whilst it’s here. Because quite honestly, there’s so much to enjoy in the everyday.
I want to slow my life down, so I can savour it. So I can enjoy the moments that I wish would last forever, rather than mindlessly going through my day just to restart the process tomorrow. And I know the one key tool that has helped, and will continue to help me find a more chilled pace of life…
The one key thing that helped me ‘slow down’
It all comes down to being more mindful.
I know, I know. We hear this word every other day and sometimes it’s hard to know what it really means. But in it’s most basic form, this simply means single-tasking everything we do in the day to give it our undivided attention. It’s way easier said than done, and I don’t manage it all the time. But the days where I invest fully in the simple, sometimes mundane tasks, are the days I feel most content, happy and peaceful.
The 6 things that slow my life right down…
- Putting my phone in another room. So I won’t be tempted to go on it and be distracted from the present moment
- Not turning on the TV for the entire day. My brain doesn’t need constant stimulation from the TV. In fact, it focusses better without it.
- Mindful walking. Don’t rush from A to B. Don’t distract yourself with music. Just concentrate on every step, observe your surroundings, and listen to the actual soundtrack of your walk. Birds, traffic, lawnmowers, chit-chat, etc.
- Waking up to sunlight. No ugly alarm ringing when my brain is still in deep sleep. If you don’t always get a sunrise wakeup, you can simulate one with one of these sunlight alarm clocks. I swear by this one to slowly bring me awake peacefully in around 30 minutes.
- Getting up early. I’m an early riser anyway, but on a weekend I purposely get up super early, so I can enjoy my mornings. Whether that’s a gentle stroll and a coffee, or an active yoga session, or a chill with a book.
- Not over-planning. This one actually takes some will-power from me as I plan ahead – a lot. But my best and most mindful days are when I don’t have a plan at all. I just do what makes me feel good that day, be it going to the cinema, out for lunch, cozying up with a film. In fact, the best, and longest-lasting days are when we do multiple spontaneous things in a day.
It’s worth it.
In my experience, when I am on a roll with being more mindful, I often feel a wealth of benefits such as;
- I feel healthy – I’ve eaten my food with care. Not like the ‘old’ me who would shove it in like there’s no tomorrow.
- I feel energetic – I often feel like I could walk forever. Whereas when I’m in a rush and I’m stressed, my legs just don’t seem to work.
- I communicate better – my head isn’t in the clouds with the million other things I need to do. It’s right here, with you, listening to what you’re saying.
- I work harder – as daft as it is, when I feel my pace of life is attuned with my mindful state of mind, I achieve more in the time I have available. Maybe it’s because I am putting 200% of my effort into this task, it just seems to come together better and quicker than if I’m manically trying to do 20 things at once.
- I feel really happy with who I am – I don’t compare myself, I don’t focus on my flaws. I feel more accepting of who I am.
- My head feels clearer – it’s like the fog has lifted. I can see straight, I can focus, I feel alive with ideas. Rather than trying to work out what to do next out of a sea of tasks that my brain just can’t fathom out how to process.
You see, by being more mindful, we can truly start to slow our lives down, now. Not in 30 years time.
Because life is for living, right now.
So we need to learn to rest – and that’s not something that comes easy to everyone. The pressure to succeed makes it very hard to prioritise rest. But only by living from a place of rest can we really slow our days down and appreciate every beautiful, wonderful moment in it.
Do you find time flies by in an instant? Share your best tips below in the comments!