I started writing this post about the art of slowing down about 3 weeks ago. From one perspective you could say that I’ve mastered this skill, because it took me 3 weeks to write this post haha! From another perspective you could say I failed, because I was busy in other areas of my life. Success, failure? Let’s call it a bit of both.
Here in southern Ontario spring has finally arrived. The energy of spring is movement. We get outside, get our yards or patios ready, buy some flowers and start moving after months of mainly being indoors. Part of me wondered if it made more sense to write about slowing down in late fall or winter, but I’m curious, can I continue to find slow moments in the midst of the frenzy?
Slowing Down While Speeding Up
My family and I had the pleasure of living in the south of France for 2017. Provence is an area that is all about the art of slowing down and enjoying the pleasures of life. After living in the south of France for a year and then moving back to Ontario, many people have asked if we were able to bring parts of this experience of slowing down into our lives here. Here are a few things we’ve done:
Giving ourselves lots of time in the morning before we start our day
Realistically we need 30 minutes to get ready in the morning, but we give ourselves 60 minutes instead. I like to sit with my youngest son while I drink coffee. My youngest likes to cuddle before he starts his day. My oldest likes to get everything done in the first 10 minutes and then either read or play math games on his iPad for the rest of the time. Being less rushed also helps us have the capacity to be nicer to each other and start the day with calm.
Taking 20-30 minutes at the end of the day to sit down before we start dinner
When the kids get home on the days they have after-school care they need some downtime before dinner. Sometimes they read for awhile and sometimes they go and play with some kids in the neighbourhood. My husband and I sit and chat and sometimes have a glass of wine. We notice that when we skip this time, that everyone is grumpier and has less patience.
Being late sometimes
I have been known to be a little smug about being on time. Now I find it’s easier to be late on occasion. Certainly, in my work world I will be on time, but when it comes to social events I won’t stress as much if we’re late.
In general, our family is trying to make a point to have days without plans or to have plans that have space in them, so it doesn’t feel like we’re on tight timelines. Sometimes homework doesn’t get done. Sometimes the house gets messier than I’d like it to be. Sometimes I call procrastinating slowing down, when really, it’s just procrastinating. But the idea behind it all is to find ways to enjoy life more on a daily basis even when the pulse of life is fast.
Depending on your family and your needs you may need less or more time to slow down. Use some of your creativity to find ways to slow down or even plan it in your schedule. Have you mastered the art of slowing down in a fast-paced world?