Friends, I’m exhausted. The car accident in February, followed by a broken toe, our sick cat (going on two months now), and other unmentionable shocks have colluded to drain my reserves.
I’m ready for a season of slow living. If you feel overwhelmed, burned out, or just too buzzy, maybe you’d like to slow down the pace too — at least for a little while.
You don’t have to stop completely. You can slow down just a little, a little more, or a lot — whatever makes sense for you and your life right now. If you do, you’ll likely find more enjoyment, more connection, and more relaxation awaiting you. Your health may even begin to improve too.
Simple Ways to Enjoy the Pleasure of Slow Living
Here are 5 ways I’m choosing slow living right now. See if something here tempts you, and don’t hesitate to go for it.
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1. Mindful Eating
I just received the results from my G. I. Map test. They indicate I’m not digesting properly. As a result, I’m not absorbing my nutrients. To offset this, I’ll take pancreatic enzymes and a supplement for fat digestion, once they arrive. Just as important, I’ve committed to mindful eating.
If you rush through meals, you may be missing out on nutrients too. That’s because digestion begins with chewing, thanks to the digestive enzymes present in saliva. For the best assimilation, you need to chew food until it becomes liquid in your mouth. That means chewing at least 30 times. And if you have chronic illness, it’s recommended to chew even more — 50 times at least.
Your digestion benefits when you eat in a relaxed environment as well, with no distractions like reading, texting, or browsing. Take a few breaths at the start of your meal and allow your body to relax. Then consciously enjoy a moment of gratitude for the sustenance you’re about to receive. When you see your body as the vehicle for your soul’s expression, eating becomes a sacred act, one that deserves your undivided attention.
Eating can be a tiny pleasure too. Small pleasures in healthy doses can inhibit stress by reducing anxiety responses in the brain. So delight in the colors on your plate. Inhale the aromas. Allow the flavors to evoke your pleasure chemicals.
- Enjoy this short but fabulous primer on eating with awareness from Thich Nhat Hanh: The Tangerine of Mindfulness
- Read more about tiny pleasures here: 21 Super-Easy Tiny Pleasures Guaranteed to Destroy Stress
2. Blissful Massage
After my car accident, my doctor sent me to receive therapeutic massage. The relaxing effects of massage always sneak up on me. About halfway through a session, I suddenly realize I’m so relaxed I can barely move. Sometimes, I fall into a half-sleep, half-awake state that’s profoundly refreshing and restorative.
Massage is the perfect way to slow down, put your worries aside for a while, and receive the care you so deserve. Plus, more and more, scientific research validates the health giving benefits of massage, including:
- Relief from stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Pain reduction in fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back and neck tension, and other pain syndromes
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Fewer migraine and tension headaches, better balance for the elderly, and a boost in exercise performance
If the cost seems prohibitive, look for a massage school in your area that offers reduced rates. Or consider taking a massage class with your partner or a friend so you can exchange massages regularly. Or you can exchange massages with your classmates.
You might think of massage as a luxury you don’t deserve. But when you consider the amount you’ll save due to the preventative care, it might begin to seem like a bargain.
3. Delightful Gratitude
I have a brand new copy of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, which contains questions, prompts, and coloring pages for a brighter and happier life. I can’t wait to dive in.
According to the author, Lori Deschene, gratitude, when practiced regularly, has been shown to:
- Increase happiness, self-esteem, and overall well-being
- Nurture hope, optimism, and resilience
- Reduce envy, stress, anxiety, insecurity, and other draining emotions
- Intensify feelings of love, connection, and empathy and, consequently, strengthen our relationships
- Boost energy and immune systems
- Improve the quality of our sleep
- Ultimately increase our life-span, since all of the aforementioned benefits strengthen us physically and psychologically
The 160 pages includes a brief introduction, 15 stress-reducing coloring pages, and more than 130 different prompts and questions. The prompts and questions are unique, providing the opportunity to practice gratitude from many different angles.
I like how the practice of gratitude encourages me to slow down, pay attention, and appreciate the goodness in my life.
I assume I received this free, advance copy in the mail because I reviewed Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges a few years ago, another keeper.
My heart lit up when I ripped open the envelope and found the gorgeous, soft cover journal inside. You can pre-order your copy now for a June 13 release date. This is a perfect self-care gift for yourself, a friend, or both of you.
4. Leisurely Reading
I don’t read lightweight books, but just taking the time to read takes me out of action mode and puts me into receptive, reflective mode — a perfect fit for slow living.
I’ve come to see that long-held emotional patterns can keep us from moving forward on the spiritual path. While a lot can be said for working with emotions as an object in mindfulness meditation, seeing and allowing them to pass by, understanding our emotional patterns can also help us uproot them. That’s why the following books are on my reading list:
- The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance and Dreams by Debbie Ford
- The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embracing Who You Are by Brené Brown
- The Language of Emotions, What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You by Karla McLaren
- The Empath’s Survival Guide, Life Strategies for Sensitive People by Judith Orloff
5. Energetic Self-Care
As a highly sensitive person who can unexpectedly go into emotional overwhelm, I know I would benefit from paying more attention to how others effect me, tuning into my own energy so I can distinguish what belongs to me and what belongs to others, and clearing my energy field every day.
That means slowing down from time-to-time to feel my feet on the ground, check into my heart, and listen to my body.
I’m just starting to put energetic self-care practices in place. I’m still a novice, but here are a few practices that feel good and work well for me.
- I like to clear my energy in the shower. I imagine anything that doesn’t belong to me flowing down the drain, leaving me completely refreshed and whole.
- Other times, I imagine a bubble of soft protection around me.
- Or sometimes I use my favorite mantra for clearing myself: “This is my body. This body belongs to me.”
There are so many different ways to experiment with slow living. These are just my top choices right now. I hope reading about them will encourage you to downtempo if that’s what you would like, and in so doing enjoy all the goodness each moment offers to you.
What are your favorite ways to slow down? I would love to hear.
Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious! Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always. With love, Sandra