5 Ways to Slow Down your Life

Watch Episode 127 now.

Let's face it - we live in a "hurried society .  We are so busy that we eat meals at our desk or in our cars, we cannot even communicate in full sentences anymore and we are so attached to staying connected and available that our PDA is another body part.

We admire and applaud the person that can get by on four hours of sleep, the workaholic, the "do-it-all" Mom. We see these attributes as a badge of honour.

Unfortunately we are passing on this frenetic anxiety creating pace to our children.  With the best of intentions, we are packing their days and evenings with so many "fun" and "informative" activities that it ceases to be fun.   

Some people don't slow down until their bodies rebel and say "enough is enough" and they are forced to stop.

Psychotherapist, Hina Khan, was on the show and brought 5 great ways to slow down you life.

1. Reflect and Refocus

Ask yourself why you have decided to keep your life so busy. This may be difficult to do because there is a reason you have kept yourself so occupied and then re-focus the attention to yourself by cutting out at least one commitment/activity. This will be especially helpful if your children and you find their schedules are just as a tight as yours. Sometimes we have this feeling that we are depriving them if we don't have them in every possible activity when it is really opposite, they are being deprived of the opportunity for spontaneous, self-directed play which down time provides them.  If you slow things down around the house they are also not absorbing the anxiety that comes with a chaotic environment.

2. End the workday

Be more realistic about how long it takes to get things done,  (e.g. driving from point A to B, shopping during a busy time period (groceries on a Saturday afternoon,). Build in extra time from the beginning so you're not frantic (and short-tempered). Cut down on the multi-tasking - focus on one thing  - don't take a shower and wipe down the tiles at the same time. And if you've taken a well-deserved vacation, add a decompress day at the end. There's little point in ending what was hopefully a time of fun and relaxation by arriving home at the last minute and jumping into your regular schedule without having a chance to get organized and have a good night's sleep. 

3. Get your family back

And here is some motivation to having family meals: studies show that children in families that eat together are less prone to being promiscuous or getting into drugs. They also eat a lot healthier as well.  And don't think about family meals as simply eating, it is the prep and clean up as well.  And to really slow down, make sure nobody has a commitment to run off too and that there are no distractions at the table.  This includes Blackberries and other ways to quietly text your comrades while someone is trying to talk about their day!
Also think about slowing down your eating, actually chewing and savouring your food.  We are in such a hurry all the time that even when we don't have to rush, we still eat quickly because it has become habit.  You could even try to set a time of how long you want to stay at the dinner table!

4. "NO" is a complete sentence

You don't need to over explain or come up with excuses if you have too much on your plate and have to decline an invitation just simply say "no".

5. Mini time out (a pause to reflect)

Build some time into your day to take a time out.  Choose an activity that can bring some calm into your day (such as meditation, a walk, some stretches, listening to music...)and try to allot your self a mini-break to do these things at the same time every day.  That will be the key to it being successful, making it part of your routine.