April is Stress Awareness Month so we thought a great way to introduce the month would be to share ways to reduce stress by slowing down life just a bit. Slow living is a broad term, but there are ways that we have found to reduce stress is by slowing down the fast pace that life presents. All month long on our social media platforms, and our podcast, we will be sharing ways that we have found to help combat stress.
Sports fans, you will understand this analogy. I (Shannon) am a BIG Duke Basketball fan. They have a certain pace of play. When a team is trying to outplay them, they tend to speed up the game. It usually throws Duke off a bit. I am usually screaming at the screen, “slow it down, guys! Slow down the game! Go at the pace you know!” They have a pace that is comfortable for them. When the game speeds up, it is a pace that is too fast, too much. I can completely relate to this in life. When things get too fast, to jumbled, I get more stressed and things tend to fall between the cracks.
Our brains, speaking of myself and Gerry now, just work at a better pace when things are a bit slower. Since we moved to the coast, the ‘island time’ way of life is just a better way for us. Don’t get me wrong, when someone doesn’t respond in a manner that I need, it does drive me crazy! Especially when you need a plumber, stat! Nevertheless, slowing things down, simplifying things, isn’t just something that we as minimalists do. It is something that you can implement into your life to reduce your stress level. Slow living is proven to reduce stress.
Here are some ways slow living reduces stress and things you can implement:
- Join our Declutter Challenge. Decluttering your space and a negative mindset will help make space for what is important. A cluttered space makes for a rushed life. You constantly feel like things are in disorder, or that you are looking for things. Our declutter challenge is free, easy, and is set-up in bite-size easy steps that you can start any time. Just be consistent and continue it for 30-days.
- Do one thing at a time. There is no such thing as multitasking. Really, or at least, not successfully. There are many studies that show this is no longer a skill employers find appealing, especially in the safety arena. Our brains simply cannot multitask as we think they can. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not ‘washing the dishes to wash the dishes.’ Meaning, we should be more mindful of the here and now. Be here now. Rituals that we have in place help with this. We have a daily practice of rituals and routines, but we make attempts to make sure that we are mindful of those practices. They help to reduce stress when we are mindful of the activities that we are taking part in. They slow the racing mind, hence, reduce stress.
- Meditate. When you allow time in your day for meditation, you allow time for your body and mind to slow down, recover, and have the space to just be. Your mind and body are always working. If you are like us, your mind may always be racing. The stressful mind needs a rest. Meditation helps with this. We have a simple and easy meditation to help you if you’d like to access this free resource.
- If you use a google calendar, or other type of scheduling app or calendar, schedule “nothing time” in between appointments. This helps to slow down your day, allowing recovery and rest in between tasks. You will be surprised how much this lowers your stress rate. It slows down your day and makes for a less manic-type of feel in an already busy way of life for most of us.
- Learn to adapt to the way of nature. Adapting your wake and sleep schedule to that of nature allows you to coincide your body and mind with that of the Earth. Your eating schedule also adapts. According to the Ayurvedic practice, “Waking up before/with the sun provides you with energy, positivity & all things beneficial for your mental & physical health as it brings balance in one’s constitution. It also regularizes a person’s biological clock, aids digestion, absorption and assimilation, and generates self-esteem, discipline, peace, happiness, and longevity.” This practice helps to reduce stress as it slows down the pace of life.
- When you are relaxing, truly relax. Learn to shut off technology when you are relaxing or when it is time for bed. We have the ritual at night of putting our phone to bed– meaning, our phone lives in another room, on silent. There are no temptations to grab it, nor any sounds, nor light coming from it to disrupt the energy we need at bedtime. We have begun turning off television two hours before bed to also reduce the stimulation to our brain so that we may begin the relaxation process. It is similar to the wake-up process of slowly integrating technology into our day. Technology makes us feel rushed and speeds up all of the thoughts that are in our brain. If we can slow things down physically, we can help to reduce the amount of processing our brain has to do, hence, reduce the stress we have.
- Lastly, but surely not least important, control your own schedule, day, and life. Do not allow someone else to control it for you. This is rooted in boundaries and is something that we are working on daily. Slowing things down greatly depends on you being able to administer the way of life that you need for yourself. Having others put demands on you, or allowing their needs and wants to integrate into your schedule will put stress on you, and create a rush, manic feel. There is nothing good in this. It creates resentment, along with the stress that you feel.
We hope that these tips help you create a slower life for yourself. No matter where you live, or what type of life you desire, everyone deserves to have a greater sense of calm. May you find a slower, simple life with less stress.
Disclaimer- this blog post only represents our opinions. The content here should not be taken as medical advice. The content is for informational purposes only, and because each person is so unique, please consult your healthcare professional for any medical questions or advice. See Terms and Conditions for more information.