“Life moves pretty fast.
If you don’t slow down,
you could miss it!”
– Ferris Bueller
The front nine did not go well. As I took the 10th tee, my partner said, “Wait a minute! Before you hit, step back, see your line, and breathe. Now, slow down your backswing and let the club do the work. This isn’t a race!” I followed his instructions and hit one of my best drives of the day. The back nine was much better played and more enjoyable than the front. That scenario occurred many years ago, but I paraphrased his words, and wrote them on a 3X5 card that I keep in my golf bag, “Slow down, you move too fast.” Maybe I would be better served if I read that card every morning before starting my day.
We live in difficult and stress-filled times. Aside from the death toll, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered significant emotional, physical, and economic problems around the world. Stress has become a constant in our lives. So how do we de-stress? How can we slow down in a world that seems to be moving faster and faster? It begins by first acknowledging that life is not a race, and secondly by making a simple decision, to care for the caretaker.
The Gift of Thirty – Try rising 30 minutes earlier. Use that time to get a slower start to your day. Avoid news programs, the newspaper and your phone. The late night emails and text messages can wait. Let this be a mindful time, be it to enjoy coffee, meditate or simply enjoy the beginning of a new day.
Focus – Too many of us have become listaholics. We have multiple lists for every aspect of our lives Rather than stressing out about everything you have to do, simplify things by using Eisenhower’s Importance/Urgency Matrix.
- Set Boundaries and Say “No” – Setting boundaries and priorities allows you to recognize what is most important and what isn’t. It also permits us to free-up time so that we can destress and reconnect with life. We also need to say “no” on occasion. For some this will be difficult, but it is important to remember that by continually agreeing to help out and lend a helping hand to others, we compromise time we need to protect our own health and well-being.
- Take a Break and Breath – Research has demonstrated clear physiological benefits to just taking five minutes to slow down and pay attention to your breathing. The benefit is increased by going outside. Being outside serves to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, increase memory, boost immunity and create a sense of calm.
- Stay Connected – While we must still practice social distancing, it does not mean we must be isolated from friends and family. Zoom, Facetime, Skype and Google all provide video platforms. With vaccination number heightening and warmer weather approaching, greater opportunities to gather in small groups will present themselves.
For some reason many feel that the beginning of each day is the start of a race to see who can accomplish the most by day’s end. In running that ambition-driven race they may see short-term gains, but they also compromise their health and well-being, components essential to completing the marathon we call life. The choice to slow down is a conscious one that will enable you to appreciate all life has to offer. The decision is yours, but a little reminder never hurts….Slow down, you’re moving too fast!