About six years ago I was going through a time where it seemed that the world was against me. Bad stuff was just happening all around me and I felt powerless to do anything about it and stressed about the situation I was in.
At the time I was working in a corporate job and had a really amazing General Manager who gave the most phenomenal life advice. It was really simple, practical advice but it worked.
I went to her about the bad stuff that was happening around me. I was feeling like the world was spinning and I couldn’t stop it. Her advice, basically put the power back in my hands. It had never left my hands but I had just forgotten it was there. She told me to slow down. It was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given.
But she didn’t just tell me to slow down and send me on my way. She also gave me a tool to do it and one that I still use today. She told me to focus on my steps when I was walking. To focus on putting one foot in front of the other and in my head to say “left, right, left, right” in a slow and conscious rhythm.
So the next day when I was walking to work I tried it. I still remember walking through Martin Place in Sydney, carefully placing one foot in front of the other to my own rhythm, and feeling like the rest of Sydney was zooming past me at lightning speed. That day was the start of the change in that period of my life.
Back then I was a single girl whose biggest concern was which suit I would wear to work in the morning or which book I would read on the train or which bar to go to for Friday night work drinks. I didn’t have kids or a husband or pets or a business to look after. Slowing down was easy because I was the only one who needed to slow down to make a difference.
But now, life is a bit like a merry-go-round that will not stop to let anyone on or off. Most of the time it goes around and around at a regular pace but then occasionally it just picks up speed leaving my head spinning and a sick feeling in my stomach. Can you relate?
Recently though I thought back to those words of my old General Manager and I have been practising slowing down. Here are a few ways I have been doing it:
- Walking with a toddler is by nature a slow task, but rather than trying to rush Olivia along I have been walking intentionally slow with her. Unless the post office is about to shut and then I pick her up and we run like the wind…
- Making a cup of tea before I start work in the morning gives me a peaceful start to the day rather than a rushed feeling. I work from home so there isn’t a commute to prepare me for the day. That cup of tea is like my commute.
- Writing all my thoughts down before I go to bed at night helps me clear my brain and slow it down before bed. I’m not going to bed buzzing about all the things I need to do tomorrow. Taking those five minutes really helps slow me down.
- Putting my phone out of sight while I have been playing with Olivia is also a HUGE help. If my phone is in sight I am constantly checking it and trying to reply to emails which doesn’t work for anyone. We play for 30-60 minutes and then I do a quick check in for anything urgent.
- Breaking things down is also a trick I use. Pulling the magazine together is a massive job and I used to get quite stressed about it. I now make a list of every single task that needs to be done, outsource what I can and then work my way through the rest, ticking off as I go.
I know I am not alone with that feeling of being on a non-stop merry-go-round. Particularly for mums who are trying to juggle multiple balls and keep them all up in the air at the same time. It’s not easy.
But my challenge to you today is to slow down. Start with one thing and then build it up. You won’t always be able to go slow, that is the nature of life, but you can choose a slower pace at times when you need a little break or are feeling a bit overwhelmed.
So, how do you slow down? Is it something you struggle with? Are you up for the challenge?
Each Friday I will be bringing you a little challenge you can do to improve something in your mum life. If you have an idea for a challenge I would love you to get in touch! Email me firstname.lastname@example.org. The Mum Life Facebook group is also a lovely little community of mums I have created to support each other and have some fun.
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