Having instant access to everyone and everything in our lives via cell phones and computers has certainly made life convenient, but it has also sped up the pace of our lives.
We brag how we can multi-task and instantly get directions to any place we want to go, and are happy that we can keep up with our loved ones via text message even when we are apart.
Most of us are so plugged in all the time that it has become second nature. When we can’t get the information we need instantly, we often lose our patience because things seem to be moving “too slowly.”
This hit me over Memorial Day weekend when I realized that I am one of the biggest supporters (and addicts) of this instant access. And, as someone who writes about the need to reconnect to nature, to gardening, and to our food. I feel a bit hypocritical and think that I am not “walking the walk.”
So over the holiday, I decided to just do nothing and slow down, and sat under a tree and read for two hours, something I haven’t allowed myself to do in over a year.
I always say I am “too busy,” and am always working, volunteering, cleaning, or doing chores. Ironically, I am writing about the healing power of nature and not enjoying it myself. I even find trying to be diligent about being organic and sustainable keeps me going at high speed to keep up with what I “should” be doing.
When I look at the groups that I support, I also notice the irony. For example, the very name Slow Food, should be an indicator that I need to look at my life and slow it down.
Enjoying the simple pleasure of food is something that can be applied to other areas of our lives. I came up with some ways that I am trying to slow down so that I can enjoy the process of life more, not just the end results.
Take time to relax every day. It doesn’t have to be for hours at a time. Even 5 or 10 minute “mini-breaks” spread out over the course of the day can make a big difference. Just stop and take a deep breath, take a look at the trees and flowers in the garden and just be conscious and aware of things around you. I am also focusing on taking a bigger relaxation break at least once a week by going to observe nature at a local garden or park.
Try to only focus on one thing, and only do one thing at a time. I am working on this by telling myself, “You do not have to always multi-task, focus on the thing you are doing so it will be the best it can be.” This will result in a better product if it is work related, and better quality of time and the experience if it is not work-related.
Schedule “slow time” on your calendar every week. This one is something I think will make a big difference to my daily life. I always feel like I should be doing something productive. If make it an appointment like I would for anything else, I will be more likely to stick to it and give it the same seriousness I give to any other meeting.
Spend some time alone to reflect and renew by doing the things that rejuvenate and relax you. For me, these are things like listening to music, taking a long, hot bubble bath and reading.
Eat slowly. This is another place where I feel so hypocritical. I am often so busy during the day that I don’t even take the time to sit down and eat and don’t always notice the great taste of my own homegrown produce. Slowing down not only lets you enjoy your food, but, is healthier because it improves digestion. If you are enjoying your food and notice what you are eating, the flavors, the textures and the fragrances, it will also help you to stop thinking about all the other things you need to do next and just relax and enjoy your meal.
There are countless other ways to go slow and to join the “slow movement.” Why not use that ever-present connectedness and check them out. Or, you could try doing it the old-fashioned way and check out Carl Honore’s best selling book In Praise of Slowness.