Slow down to speed up
This week, in our Facebook group, we have been discussing the art of slowing down. Whether we like it or not we live in a culture that values and perpetuates speed. We, as mothers, are praised when our child learns to walk, read, or go to college before her peers. We are constantly feeling like we need to hurry our kids out the door in the morning so they aren't late for school. And we are anxious to succeed NOW, before it's too late.
Let's stop trying to figure out what caused the "hurry problem" and let's concentrate on the solutions.
Here are my TOP 5 tips for slowing down:
1. Make your kids rush less
I can’t believe how many times I answer some of my children’s questions with, “because we’re in a hurry.” Unless we’re running 10 minutes behind from getting to school on time, we should never be in that much of a hurry!
Christine Carter writes, “Slowing down in our fast-paced world—even just for a day—can lead to deep feelings of relaxation and joy. Take each moment just as it is today, being mindful of your thoughts and your emotions. Feel the urge to rush, or worry that you are going to be late? Simply notice the anxiety that has washed over you, and bring your attention to your breath, focusing on a deep exhalation.”
Katie Hurley from “Baby Steps” writes about the effects of rushing around on children, “Rushing around increases your child’s stress level… Children are likely to feel increased anger, anxiety, and even sadness when they are constantly running around in an attempt to catch up. It’s a lot for kids to cope with on a day-to-day basis.”
Planning ahead for the inevitable rush has done wonders for my family. For example, if we have to leave for school at 8:00 am, we plan to have the kids out the door at 7:45 am every day. This way, we’ve planned for the shoe that falls off, the backpack left in the kitchen and the insane amount of time it takes them to climb in a car and get buckled…or am I the only one who gave birth to human sloths?!
2. Turn off the TV, turn up the tunes
About a year ago we got rid of our TV. This alone has given me a sense of calm and peace I could only have dreamed of. I’m not constantly thinking I have to squeeze in last night’s episode of This is US in my already busy day. We replaced the TV with an old fashioned record player.
Now, we’ve got music that we really enjoy that relaxes us and helps everyone to slow down. Carol King is a favorite. The melody brings a certain happiness to my soul and reminds me to take care in the moment and enjoy the otherwise tedious job of unloading the dishwasher or mopping the floors. According to K. Stone, the author of of Life Learning Today, “Listening to music naturally brings us into the present moment. It can also bring us to good memories or daydreams of the future. That’s all good.”
3. Reserve Saturday or Sunday mornings
Make one time per week your family’s sacred time where phones, computers and TV are put away for a while so the family can enjoy real time together whether it be playing an actual board game, cooking breakfast together, going for a hike or just be silly and dance together! These are the moments that will really last in your children’s hearts for their lifetime…and are memories you will cherish forever. We have "Silent Saturday" where no screens are allowed and "Funday Sunday" when the kids get to watch one show.
4. Plan Ahead
Yes, this takes extra time! But, if you would take time each week to plan for the week ahead, combine errands to get most of them done in one morning,
Plus, you’ll get the great feeling that comes with crossing things off your list. A sense of accomplishment which you can reward yourself with more quality time with your children, your spouse or yourself!
You don’t have to have a whole room dedicated to zen in your home to meditate. All you have to do is commit to slowing down for 10 minutes each day. You can take longer, of course, but slow down your mind
Annabel Fitzsimmons suggests, “All you need is to put aside a few minutes to sit quietly, or go for a walk and focus on your breathing. Or you could do a few yoga poses in the morning, listen to a guided meditation during your lunch hour (for free MEditations, click here), or have a meditation CD in the car for times when you’re early for school pickup.”
The benefits of meditation include helping you better manage your emotions, being more present and attentive with your kids, decreasing stress and anxiety, and letting go of mental distractions. Research also shows that meditation can also help with insomnia and can improve mental sharpness.