If there’s anything I’ve learned during the past two weeks, it’s that slowing down is an art form. I know everyone is tired of hearing about my broken bones. I get it. I’m tired of it, too. But this is my reality. And in the here and now, I’ve learned a few things about the art of slowing down.
For starters, it’s not natural. It goes against everything we know. Let’s face it, we are a list-making, multiple hat-wearing, get ‘er done people. BUT. There is NO multi-tasking with a broken wrist. Everything I do takes three times as long. Unload the dishwasher? Whew. It’s a big thing moving one clean dish at a time to the cabinet. (#Slowpoke).
If you are injured, recuperating from illness, or an exhausted new mom, slowing down can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health. But here’s the other thing to consider—slowing down can benefit everyone, even the most healthy and vibrant person reading this. Don’t wait until you are so “busy” and distracted you trip and fall and end up immobile. Incorporate a few of my tips for slowing down now. Maybe your overall sense of well-being will soar.
7 Tips for Slowing Down:
Allow people to help. This is a biggie. Friends and neighbors and family reach out and offer to bring food, run to the grocery store, walk the dogs. It’s what community does. I say yes! Friends want to do something, or they wouldn’t offer. And I need the help. Later, I’ll pay it forward. Playing the martyr is not an attractive role on anyone.
Listen to your body. Our bodies will guide us if only we will pay attention. When I first did my less than graceful swan dive from the front porch, I almost waited to go to the doctor. For a few minutes I considered waiting to see how I felt after a night’s sleep. But I KNEW my wrist was broken. So I didn’t delay. During the two plus week’s after, I’ve taken cues from my body and not pushed myself. This is the time to rest and sleep. Soak in the tub. Ice your injury. Nurture yourself. There are benefits to a daily siesta, especially during a healing phase.
Stop dwelling on what you’re missing. It’s easy to deep dive into full blown pity party mode. I didn’t get to go to the lake with my family. I can’t go to the gym. I can’t even pull on jeans and button them! There are lots of things I can’t do right now because who knew so many things required two hands? Just stop. A negative mind serves no good purpose now, later, or ever.
Concentrate on what you can do. All those photos on my computer? This is the perfect time to organize them. Those audio books I’ve downloaded? That HBO series I want to binge-watch? The stack of books staring at me so intently I can almost hear the words inside the covers? Now is the time. I can sit on the porch and watch rain splatter against the sidewalk. Write in my journal. (My right hand works just fine, thank the good Lord.) Do those easy calming things that in a normal life we don’t give enough attention.
Cut the Crap. Don’t fall victim to the junk food demons lurking in your pantry. I’m a believer in moderation, and yes sometimes I eat ice cream and cheese dip (not together). This is not the time to binge on potato chips. You aren’t burning many calories lying on the couch watching HGTV. You already feel unproductive and irritable. Don’t add a sluggish sugary mind to it. Keep making healthy food choices even though peeling a carrot is mighty slow going.
See the humor in it. Oh, the jokesters come out of the woodwork with cracks about falling off the porch, growing old, breaking bones, drinking too much wine, and so on. Yes, once the shock of it passes, it will be funny. There’s also a bit of irony considering last year I swore that this year I would slow down. This would be the year I would savor the moments. Turns out, this mantra was a self-fulfilling prophecy. And if we can’t laugh at ourselves…you know.
Focus on simple. These sort of accidents and events put everything in perspective and provide a time to regroup. Believe me, there’s plenty of time to focus on the simple things that are important. Health. Relationships. Future goals. The year’s half over. No time like the present to think about next year.
Not to mislead anyone—often the whole thing is exasperating. I’m cranky and so ready to move past this. But patience is a virtue, or so we’re told. And I know, this too shall pass.
What are your tips for slowing down? I hope you’ll share your ideas with me so I can make them part of my healing.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
P.S. For comprehensive tips on health and well-being, check out certified wellness and running coach, Suzy Oakley’s website, To Well With You. Suzy provides encouragement and authentic ways to live a better, more well-rounded life.