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How To Slow Down and Enjoy Life During Busy Periods
As we start ramping up towards the busy, busy Christmas period, knowing how to slow down and enjoy life can be just the ticket!
If you’re anything like me, then right now you’re busy juggling to do lists consisting of gifts to buy and wrap, food to prepare, cards to write and send, a home to organise and decorate…all on top of your usual too-long-list of daily tasks! It’s enough to send anyone into a spiral of overwhelm!
If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in? Slow down and enjoy the moment you’re in and live your life to the fullest
To make matters worse, what’s the first thing that tends to drop off your usual routine when there seems to be too much going on? Self-care, fun and enjoyment anyone?
So today, let’s make an attempt at how to slow down and enjoy life, whilst still achieving the important stuff. Right up front, I’m not going to claim that this is easy, but, with an open mind and an effort at loosening the reins of control, it can (and should) be done.
1. Get Everything Out of Your Head (Easy)
I’ve already mentioned above that we tend to walk around with huge and/or multiple to do lists at this time of year. That’s a good start. But, how much more of that stuff is running around your head?
If you frequently find yourself remembering something that you mustn’t forget…and then forgetting it, then there’s still a job of head-emptying to be done. Don’t ignore this task simply because you think you need to be doing stuff rather than stopping to make a few useful notes.
Do It Now!
Task: take a notebook and pen or an electronic organiser that suits you and write down every task that comes into your head. Don’t filter, just get it out.
Quickly evaluate the list for importance in the context of what
~ must be done
~ should be done
~ could be done
and be prepared to dump anything that falls into the ‘could be done’ category 🙂 .
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2. Get Your Emotions Out of Your Head (Potentially Challenging)
Wrapped up with all your practical to-dos are a host of emotions. These emotions are pushing you, overwhelming you and stopping you from enjoying the run up to the celebrations.
In other words, it’s how you feel about all the stuff you think you need to do, rather than the tasks themselves that are causing you to feel rushed and unable to slow down and enjoy the moment.
Yes, there is a lot to do, but, doing the right stuff, which brings you a sense of fulfilment and pleasure is a whole lot better than the negative alternative.
Do It Now!
Task: look at your list of to dos and, without over-analysing, write down the emotions you are feeling, in relation to specific tasks (eg, cooking Christmas dinner: nervous; resentful, buying gifts: excited or stressed).
You don’t necessarily need to do this for all tasks, but getting a feel for the real emotions that are dragging you down and holding back your joy will help you address them.
Related Post: 5 Tips to Help You Cope When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
3. What Do You Actually Want to Happen/Do? (Requires Thought)
This is a very important part of the process.
For most of us, we tend to focus in on the things we don’t want, rather than trying to identify the things we want or want to happen. By concentrating on and articulating the negatives (what we don’t want) we’re kind of expecting others to make it all good for us by reading our minds.
How can others know how to help us effectively if we don’t articulate what we actually want?
Do It Now!
So, back to the lists.
Task: Looking at your tasks and the emotions they elicit, think hard about what would alleviate that negative emotion.
~ Do you want help with the cooking?
~ Do you want people to tell you what gifts they want?
~ Do you want someone else to decorate the house?
~ Would e-cards be a better option than written cards?
~ Do you want to do it all yourself, but want acknowledgement/some kind of reward for all your efforts (nothing wrong with this)?
~ Do you want others to do your usual day-to-day tasks?
~ Do you want to spend less money?
These are examples to help you start the thinking juices, but take some time with this task so that you gain clarity around what’s actually pressing your buttons.
4. Communicate Your Wants (May Require Courage)
This is the action that will make the difference, but you might feel that you need to muster a bit of courage to articulate your needs.
If that’s the case, then spend a little time thinking through what you’re asking for and why. Remember that a calmer, happier you will be beneficial to all those around you, so whilst asking for help might feel uncomfortable, it’s far better than losing your cool a few weeks down the line!
Use your list of tasks, emotions and wants to help you articulate what you want, why you want it and the benefits to you and others.
Also bear in mind that other people often enjoy doing the things that you hate to do! This one, in particular was a really eye-opener for me!
5. Be Prepared to Feel Personal Resistance (Personal Resolve Needed)
So you’ve read all the advice above, thought about the tasks, but still haven’t made it past #1!
It’s likely that checking through your emotions, identifying what you actually want and then horror-of-horrors…asking for help or recognition, is a big step outside your comfort zone.
You might also be feeling angst at releasing your control enthusiast (freak!) tendencies. I get it!
But, who ever said change was easy?
If this is where you’re at, make it easier on yourself by choosing just two or three tasks (and their associated emotions) that you would like relief from. Chat with a friend first so you can hear your thoughts out loud (but don’t let it become a moan session) and the course of the forthcoming conversation.
Do It Now!
Don’t hold back and don’t delay as this will increase the feelings of resistance. Make your choices and go for it. Then, be prepared to follow through and accept what you’ve asked for even if (when) it doesn’t quite come up to your standards.
Remember: Good Enough, is Good Enough!
Don’t make a meal out of these action points above.
Set aside an afternoon with some calming music and a favourite drink and just quietly work through it. Remember that planning saves time in the long run and there are plenty of rewards to be had from this process.
Related Post: 5 Tips for Creating a Sense of Wellbeing
For fast acting relief, try slowing down
And when all this is in place, remember to slow down a little and appreciate the extra space you’ve created for yourself. This is not about putting more stuff into your life, but quite the opposite. It’s about releasing pent up negative emotions, appreciating a few quiet moments and letting more joy come into your life.