Does Slow and Steady Win the Race?

Slow and steady wins the race.  — Aesop

Life feels so hectic sometimes, doesn’t it?

I have always been an on-the-go girl. Call it ADHD, type A, or highly energetic, I often find myself in a state of swirling overwhelm. When that happens, my body gives me signals (like headaches, tension, and restlessness) and it’s time to slow down. I know that slowing down is good for my health. I get a nice sense of wellbeing and know that my immune system is benefitting, too.

There are many ways to slow down:

Be present

I take time to notice things. Colors, smells, the air. Today I was writing in a bakery, but realized that I didn’t even smell the goodies baking. I stopped, looked around and noticed some really cool things–yummy smells, a nice breeze from the funky ceiling fan, beautiful Haitian art on the walls, comfy modern leather chairs, and a beautiful assortment of gluten-free goodies. How fortunate was I to be hanging out in such a wonderful place!

Meditate

This means I keep still. As still as I can be. Sometimes I imagine I am an actor in a Cirque du Soleil performance where my sole job is to balance a big block on the top of my head where another acrobat performs precision handstands. One shift in balance and she tumbles and the show is ruined!

Book-end time

Sometimes when I am getting ready to go to bed and my mind is still racing, I imagine that all the activities that took place during the day were like the pages in a book. Waking was the first page in the chapter, and going to sleep is the last page. I mentally close the book and place it on the bookshelf, to be revisited it again the next morning. No more thoughts==good night’s sleep.

Determine how much time will something actually take

I am always amazed how long doing something mundane takes me. I often add so much procrastination time to the task, it ends up taking me significantly longer to finish it. A two-minute bathroom sink swishing and toilet scrubbing can often take me days before I get to it!

Don’t multi-task

As a mom of four children, I have become the master at multitasking. Now that they are older and are more independent, I find that trying to do two things at a time doesn’t serve me well. I find that by setting a time limit and just focusing on one task at a time works better for me.

Use a timer 

This is the best way I know to get down to business. When I need to tackle a tough (i.e. undesirable) job, I set the timer on my phone and tell myself I am going get as much done during that time as possible. I am always amazed at how much I actually finish and am always happy at the end.

Give thanks 

Nothing feels better than taking a few minutes from my day and thinking of all the good things are in my life right now. I live in a beautiful town by the ocean, the sky is blue, the music in this coffee shop is great (as is the coffee), my computer is working well with the wireless network, my kids are happy and healthy, and my husband is coming home after a long trip. What’s the rush?

Being a tortoise really works for me. I have been practicing working more slowly and steadily for over a decade now and I find that I rarely burn out or get sick. Life is full, yet calmer. Sweet and sweeter.

Slow and steady is my kind of race.

Q: How do you slow down?

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