Do you find that you compare yourself to others? Do you feel that there is pressure to keep up and make things exiting somehow? Are you attached to the feeling of productivity? Although COVID has forced some of us to slow down, this modern world we live in has created a kind of energy about making sure we do all the new things and to be constantly productive. It is mentally tiring to try and keep up with the latest trends, to be productive and creative in every way possible, to stay fit, to be hip, to post, to be interesting and so on…
All of us need permission to stop and slow down. I love the word permission. Did you know that just one word can be used as a tool for mental health and help us align with what we truly need? Permission. Say it out loud. Permission to stop…Permission to feel…Permission to bow out…Permission to set boundaries… Even saying the word out loud is empowering. We get caught up so quickly in the wrong things that we don’t even know what we should be doing anymore. When we give ourselves permission to be who we really are and do what we really need to do for ourselves, we are more likely to be happy and live with ease.
In order to give ourselves what we need, we have to become aware of when we are depleted. Some signs include physical tiredness, irritation with things and people, lack of motivation, over-thinking, over-analyzing, over-working, disinterest or lack of patience. These are just a few of the clues, there are many more. I think the truth is we all know when we are chasing things, pushing too hard and doing too much for others. We often ignore it because of the pressure to keep up but also because we hate disappointing other people or ourselves. Giving yourself permission to slow down is an act of self-compassion. An act of self-love. Some practical ways to slow down include:
-say no to things, especially when things are piled up and you are really too busy to take on more
-let go of being perfect
-rest, nap, do nothing
-walk slowly from one point to the next, even in your own home
I love the last one on the list – breathe slower. Can this one thing really work to slow us down and nourish us when depleted? I recently listened to instructions about breathing slowly, way down deep into the belly. When we take a nice big inhale and then slowly exhale, we are consciously breathing. Conscious breathing slows us down so we can think properly (breathing instructions from Ten Percent Happier Podcast Episode 331 with Roshi Norma Wong). It’s nothing fancy but it does seem to help.
Next time you feel yourself all wrapped up in the wrong things, working really hard to keep it together, putting out more than you should, give yourself permission to slow down. In whatever small or big way you can.
Until next time, take good care of you.