Do you have too much to do and not enough time? Even with so many people staying home due to COVID-19 restrictions, it still seems as if most Americans “rush and rush until life’s no fun.” Stopping to smell the roses is good advice any time of the year. If you’ve forgotten how to slow down and enjoy life, here’s your reminder and some tips to consider.
Remember Your Priorities
Everyone has their to-do list of chores that have to be done. You have to work, walk the dog and do dishes, for example. But more importantly, what things do you really care about? Do you want to interact with your family more attentively? Maybe you want to volunteer in your community. Instead of just going through the motions without pleasure, think about what you appreciate and want out of life. Knowing what your priorities are can help you focus on what is important to you.
If you’re just going through the motions by taking care of dozens of tasks each hour, you’re going to have to break that habit. It’s not easy to stop doing tasks and making appointments to use every bit of your time, but you have to take back your schedule. Give yourself breathing space to enjoy some leisure time.
- Eat slower and be mindful of your food.
- Drive slower and appreciate the surroundings.
- Stop multi-tasking and do one thing at a time.
- Schedule time to read, be with your friends and family or just relax.
Disconnect From Electronics
You can find dozens of research papers on how people are too attached to their mobile devices. PCMag put together a list of 11 reasons to put down your cellphone. It hurts your eyes. Smartphones disrupt your sleep cycle when you use them down before bed. One study found that constantly checking your smartphone damages relationships. Your smartphone carries bacteria. Using your smartphone isn’t good for your neck or hands. Another study found that high mobile phone use correlated to higher reports of depression.
Be Present in the Moment
Once you’ve slowed down and disconnected, you need to focus on what you’re doing right now. You can’t spend the present thinking about what you have to do tomorrow or something that happened yesterday. It’s going to take practice to be in the moment with your family or yourself, but it will help you deal with those other problems. When you are present in the moment, you notice the little things that happen around you. Can you remember your commute this morning or did you do it by rote? You don’t know what you’re missing when you rush from place to place or task to task.
Many people have reported seeing more wildlife during COVID restrictions. It could be that wildlife is feeling safer because there aren’t as many people out. It could also be that people are home to see wildlife. Either way, there has definitely been an appreciation for nature during this pandemic. Green is calming and soothing. The fresh air clears your head. The sounds of water is relaxing. While you’re slowing down, step outside and literally smell the roses if you can.
Being thankful transforms your attitude. When you’re grateful, it changes you. You become more kind. Slowing down lets you remember to appreciate your health or your abilities, and gratitude can help you focus on your priorities. Some people even think gratitude can help you sleep better and improve your self-esteem.
Remember to really connect with your family and friends instead of simply being in the same room with them. It’s difficult to stop and smell the roses sometimes, but it’s good for your physical and mental well-being.