There was a time, when I was living in Sydney where I was working a full-time job and studying my Masters part time in the evenings. I lived in an absolutely stunning beachside suburb so, many mornings a week I would get up before 6 to get my exercise in before I headed off to the city for the working day.
Ingrained in my memory is one particular morning where instead of having my eyes focused ahead and powering through my walk as quickly as possible (because the exercise was about ticking it off the daily list, not actually enjoying it), I stopped. Looked up and watched the sunrise. I also remember how, in this moment, my mind was racing. “You don’t have time to stop. Don’t stop. Keep moving. There’s so much to do.” I was taking in the most stunning sunrise and I actually remember thinking, that it was all feeling a bit much, I felt like I was approaching breaking point. That somehow, I’d lost my sanity.
Now I wasn’t as far along in my growth then as I am now, I wasn’t really aware that I had the power to choose my thoughts. To feed my mind something different. I think in the end I called in sick, went to a yoga class, lay on the beach for an hour or so and then went straight back into the same pace of life the next day. I did this just to eventually watch the whole pattern repeat itself again. Stabilise, pressure build, emotional eruption. Over and over.
Since then, I’ve learnt a lot. I now know that I can change the pace I feel like I’m living at with some truly simple practices. These can defuse the sense of crazy, the feeling of pressure and the insane pace I often feel I’m moving at and the ones I’m going to share have nearly an immediate impact.
Here are some of the things I do and that you can start doing straight away if your feeling a little cray cray and that it’s all just spinning too fast.
In the moment
- Slow down your breath. 3-5 long, deep breaths are possible just about anywhere.
- Slow down your movement. If your jiggling in your chair, almost breaking out into a run in your work clothes, pacing the room. Just stop, slow it down and focus on your breathing.
- Notice what you’re saying to yourself and replace it with something more supportive. The thoughts may be saying, “keep going, there’s not enough time, this will never get done”, try replacing these with, “it’s going to be ok, everything’s going to be ok, it always gets done, I have more than enough time”. Think the soothing words you would say to a distressed friend or child and say them to yourself.
In the next few days
- There are pockets of time that naturally open up across the course of a day, allow yourself to pause, breath and ask yourself how you’re going. This could be in the mirror after you go to the toilet, in the car before you head into work or in your wind down in the evening. I guarantee that on most days you can do this multiple times a day.
- Start meditating. There’s a saying that those who think they don’t have time to meditate are the ones that need it the most. It’s a helpful tool to slow everything down and can be done in 5 minutes a day, there are amazing guided meditations available on Insight Timer App which I find are the easiest to use
In the next week
- Get your thoughts out of your head and into a structure that supports you. Instead of keeping your to-do list, calendar, appointments up in your head; find a way to organise yourself. Whether it’s a notebook, your phone or a planner it doesn’t matter, just alleviate all the brain power used to try and remember everything
- Prioritise you. I heard someone say, “when you say no to others you’re saying yes to yourself” and it’s so on point. Practice saying no to things you don’t really want or have to do and create bigger spaces in your calendar so you can start slowing down on a deeper level
How good do these feel, I can feel myself slow down everytime I think “everything’s going to be ok”. Which of these are you going to implement right now to slow, right, down?