For far too long, we’ve equated success and productivity with a fast-paced lifestyle. Unsurprisingly, this has caused the average American adult to feel exhausted over three days a week, thereby resulting in 58% seeing changes in mood, and 48% in cognitive focus. Hence, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, it’s also important to slow down and prioritize quality over quantity.
Because, as a society, we’ve been conditioned to work quickly but not sustainably, here are some ways you can begin to practice a slower – and healthier – approach to life:
1. Take time to process your emotions
Because emotions are seen as messy and complicated, most people tend to just “keep calm and carry on”. However, by not taking time for yourself, you are only letting resentment and frustration brood. Instead of this, learn to create boundaries for yourself. This doesn’t make you weak or selfish. Having boundaries helps you work on your internal concerns and struggles without external factors eating up your energy. Although it might be hard to stop unhealthy habits, by having boundaries it allows you to process your emotions meaning you’re able to move forward with a lot less baggage.
2. Carve out a time for your self-care
In a 2019 study, 1 in 3 Americans said they felt guilty making time for self-care, even though 67% said they “desperately” wanted to. But self-care is nothing to feel bad about, especially as its holistic benefits include better organ function, mental clarity, and mood stability. Keep in mind that self-care is personal, too. So for some, that may mean five minutes of meditation, while for others it could be a two-hour massage. Another form of self-care that you may feel more comfortable with is exercise. Many licensed physical trainers have also completed courses in sports psychology, they’re trained to help clients work past their mental struggles and adopt a positive relationship with fitness. Overall, when you’re able to take care of yourself, you’re more inspired to push forward.
3. Be comfortable with distancing yourself from work burnout
A 2020 survey showed that over 52% of adults were burned out. If this sounds like you, don’t try to push through it. Acknowledge it and address it. If you’re comfortable with your boss, try to bring this up with them. If however you’re uncomfortable talking to your boss then try approaching your human resources manager. Most HR personnel have a background in liberal studies, and they’ve also probably received training in human psychology and social sciences. This enables them to understand your situation and recommend a solution tailored to your particular needs. Depending on your circumstances, this may mean a reduced workload or a mental health leave. Either way, taking this time to distance yourself from work gives you a chance to re-center and gather your thoughts.
4. Learn to live in the moment for your loved ones
Last but not the least, learn to be present physically and mentally, especially with your loved ones. In today’s digital world, this may prove tricky as 85% of the population now have smartphones. However, for the sake of staying connected online, you’re risking your real-life relationships. For instance, a survey by Highlights Magazine shows that 62% of children felt their parents were distracted by their cell phones when they tried to converse with them. To avoid this, try to create no-smartphone zones in your home. For example, your family should stop using their phones during mealtimes. Cutting yourself off from distractions allows you to live in the moment and create moments that matter. This way, you’re able to focus on having more fruitful relationships with one another that with have long-lasting positive effects.
In a fast-paced world, slowing down may seem like a mistake. But take a minute to think about the classic ‘Tortoise and the Hare’. Sometimes “slow and steady” wins the race.
Article was specially written for nicolasalter.com by Alice Conner