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Seize the Day by Slowing Down

Seize the Day by Slowing Down

There’s a lot of information out there about not taking our lives for granted — and let’s be honest, that’s easy to do. That’s why it resonates with us when we hear things like “Carpe Diem” and get advice to live like we’re dying.

In an effort to make sure we live a better life than those who came before us, we’re constantly told to make the most of every day. And it feels like good advice, but we’re often stumped as to what that actually means. We usually interpret it to mean “becoming more efficient.” We figure that if we find a way to fit more things into less time, then we are living a fuller life.

As we get busier and busier, the physical and mental exhaustion makes it seem like we’re living to our fullest capacity and yet, if we’re honest, it’s not as satisfying as we hoped it would be.

Maybe it’s because life is not just a bucket list with a bunch of tasks to cross off. Progress does not necessarily mean fitting the most experiences in before we die in order to feel like we really lived.   Sometimes — and this may seem really counter-intuitive — progress is made when we do nothing at all.

Take an injured athlete, for example. When an athlete is injured, she must rest before she returns to the playing field. While she is doing “nothing,” her body is restoring itself. She’s giving herself time to recover — so that she can accomplish her future goals. However, if that athlete were to get back onto the playing field before she was truly ready, she could injure herself permanently.

It’s the same in life. We get so busy sometimes that we don’t give ourselves time to process information, to heal from the pressures or heartaches of our daily lives, or to just take a break. We feel guilty if we’re not doing something every moment of the day and yet sometimes that’s exactly what we need. Our lives are not meant to be lived in fast forward. If we keep going too fast, we’re going to miss what we’re breaking our necks to keep.

If you feel that you have set a pace that you don’t think you can sustain over a long amount of time, then slow down. Keep in mind that it’s okay to not accomplish every task on your to-do list. Keep in mind that it’s okay to not have a plan sometimes. Instead of feeling guilty or like you are wasting your time, find comfort in the fact that you may be giving yourself more of it. Perhaps the best way to not take your life for granted is to give yourself time to appreciate it.


Image Credit: Andrés Nieto Porras / Flikr

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Erika Oglesby

Erika Oglesby is a freelance writer and wandering nomad currently located in Grand Rapids, MI. She is dedicated to helping people better their lives through self-knowledge and alternative therapies -- especially women of color and women diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. Visit her website at


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8:33PM PST on Feb 5, 2014

Thanks for sharing :)

1:40PM PST on Mar 2, 2012

I usually think of that advice as advice to enjoy life. For some, that means doing a bunch of things, and for some that means having time to relax. If you're not enjoying your life, then it's a good idea to see what you can change.

6:31AM PST on Mar 2, 2012

nice reminder, thanks.

3:39AM PST on Mar 2, 2012

It's what I remind myself---slow down and be present in the moment.

4:48PM PST on Mar 1, 2012

I set my to-do list on fire years ago and I never looked back.

2:07PM PST on Mar 1, 2012

I find that I'm more creative and appreciative if I take plenty of time out to think and just potter. Stress and exhaustion made me ill and stopped me in my tracks backalong, and I used to get frustrated with myself and angry because I couldn't do anything, but since I stopped being so hard on myself I'm finding that the rest-ups are gradually restoring my health.
Great article. Thanks. :)

12:46PM PST on Mar 1, 2012

I love looking around me, when I'm driving, when I'm walking. Taking notice of the sunrise, admiring the sunset. There is so much beauty out there just take a minute and savour it.

10:40AM PST on Mar 1, 2012

Great post. I am going to go sit in the Arizona sun and savor.

5:46AM PST on Mar 1, 2012

One must always take the time to smell the roses!

5:16AM PST on Mar 1, 2012

Good post.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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