When I was in the military, I worked an average of 60 hours a week. I woke up early, got home late and barely had a chance to catch my breath. I longed for the weekend… when I had one. Weekends weren’t always guaranteed. When I was deployed, I worked 7 days a week. One of those days was a “down” day where we didn’t have all of the normal meetings and activities that were held on a normal work day. I lived for those down days even if it meant I still had to go to work! Now that I’m a stay at home mom, I LOVE my time spent nurturing and taking care of my family. For the first time as an adult, I truly know what it means to savor the moments of life.
Being Busy Isn’t Always a Good Thing
According to the American Psychological Association, work stress not only has a negative effect on your emotional and mental well being, it can have negative side effects on your physical health. Hindsight is 20/20. Being busy isn’t always a good thing.Being Busy Isn't Always a Good Thing! Click To Tweet
Are you filling your days with activities that are filling you up and giving you joy?
Or are you being busy just for the sake of being busy?
The Difference Between Laziness and Rest
There are times where I have to discern whether or not I am being lazy or taking the opportunity to rest. Many times it comes down to what my motivation is. Am I being lazy by avoiding doing things that I should be doing but I’m just putting it off? Or have I been working hard and taking the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate?
Don’t take this the wrong way, I think there is a time and a place for binge watching a show on Netflix (see above), but when we’re doing that more often than not, we might have a problem. We need to find out what is at the root of our motivation and do some soul searching.
Savor: The Art of Slow Living
I’m not a “resolutions” person so when I heard about using a “word” to help shape your year, I was hooked. In the early days of my son’s life, I would look at him and breathe deeply of his newness. “Savor” kept creeping into the folds of my heart. “Savor these precious moments, Vanessa. These days are fleeting.” I felt a constant prick on my heart to slow down and enjoy these days that are slipping through my fingers like grains of sand.
I want to savor this new thread of my life. I want to soak in these days by appreciating every moment, big and small.
Practical Ways to Slow Down and Savor Life
- Write your to do list the night before, limit yourself to no more than 3 big ticket items
- Turn off notifications on your phone and any other electronic device (this was a HUGE one for me- I have so much more time in my day now that I’m not constantly checking every beep and buzz. I learned this trick from a very successful blogger, so before you say, “I blog full time, I can’t do that!”, I think you’ll be able to manage just like this very successful millionaire blogger does :)) P.S. I’m not saying to NEVER check your social media, I’m just saying to check it when you can dedicate time to it without feeling guilty and realizing you wasted 30 minutes on Facebook instead of writing that blog post you need to have up tomorrow.
- Set aside at least 10 minutes of your day to have just to yourself, whether that’s at lunch, in the morning, in the evening, only you know what works best for your schedule
- Take the time to see how you’re spending your day. Are you spending 15 minutes in the bathroom scrolling through Instagram when you could be doing other things? *cough*I don’t do that*cough*
- Enjoy the down time you end up having instead of trying to fill it up with unnecessary things
- Find an accountability buddy. That could be your husband, boyfriend, best friend; you pick. Do it together.
- If you’re a visual person, grab a mason jar and some rocks and sand (or dirt). Label each rock (figuratively if you want) with things that you have to do in life (job, church, sleep, eat, etc.) then place each of those rocks in your jar. See how much space there is? Fill the jar with the sand or dirt and see how all the cracks get filled up. This was a great exercise for me to do because it helped show me how much time I really do have in the day once my “must do” items were filled in. You can translate that into your life as you see fit.
- Be intentional with your time. Think before you do something. “Will I regret scrolling on Facebook for 10 minutes instead of getting XYZ done?” “I’ll forgo spending X amount of time on Twitter now so I can do it later when I have my ‘me’ time and truly enjoy it.”
- If you’re married, spend time with your spouse and figure out where your time is spent. What can you do together? Is one of you an introvert that needs alone time? Are both of you extroverts and want to savor your activities together?
- Realize that you will probably need to get used to this at first, especially if you’re always busy. It’s important to fill up your cup and savor all of the moments, big and small. You’ll never get time back!
For the record, I’m working on all of these things with you. I would wager I gained an hour of my day just by turning off my phone notifications (phone calls are the only thing I keep on. Yes, I even turned text notifications off, I still check my texts here and there so I can respond when I see them).“You Weren’t Born to Just Pay Bills and Die.” Click To Tweet
Enjoy Your Life
It’s easy to let our commitments at work and at home control us instead of the other way around. I want to be proactive and achieve balance in life. I don’t want to miss the little moments when Titus does something for the first time. I don’t want to keep asking, “What did you say?” to my husband because I was too preoccupied looking down at my phone while he was talking to me.
You can savor and slow down doing the things that matter most. Invest in you and your family. If the internet were to cut off tomorrow, would you know how to communicate with your family around the dinner table? Savoring and taking life slow should be integrated into every life, whether you work at home or outside the home, are married or single, have kids or no kids. It will look different for everyone. You need to find that slice of your day to enjoy.
I want to beat the statistic that overwork and stress can have a negative effect on my mental and physical health. I want to be able to look back on my life and see that I was intentional with my time and savor all of the moments that I won’t get back.
What will you start doing today to savor life and slow down?