Taking your time is important. In modern life, especially in my home city of London, everything is unbearably quick. You’re rushed through the queue to get your morning coffee, with no time to chat and acknowledge the person making it. You’re hurried through your walk in the city, with businessmen making sure you don’t slow them down. You’re forced to scurry down the escalator on the tube, to make sure that the person behind you can catch their train.
The truth is, that slowing down is good for you. Taking your time is good for you. Rather than rushing through life, it’s healthy to take a moment to appreciate the here and now, to smell the fresh air and appreciate the blue of the sky. But in our uber-connected 21st Century lives, it’s sometimes tough to take any real time out, and doubly tough to do so without judgement from the people around you. So here are four ways to slow down and take your time.
Watch a movie without using your phone or laptop.
A few decades ago, watching a movie would have been seen as a great way to relax and take some time to yourself. Now, few people take the time to actually watch a film from beginning to end without checking their phone or some other connected device unless they’re actually at the cinema. So, why not take an hour or two out of your day to really connect with a movie, and appreciate the cinematography and dialogue? This can be conducive to a state of mindfulness not often associated with watching a film. Perhaps even consider getting rid of your phone to help with slow living.
Get lost in a book.
Similarly, far fewer people read books these days. A recent study suggested that many adults read fewer than three books every year. That is crazy, and serves as a good reminder as to how cathartic reading a book can be. So get on the sofa, snuggle up with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, and get through a few dozen pages. Be slow with your reading and really take in the book.
Practice mindful walking.
Mindfulness is usually associated with meditation or doing something that is usually stimulating in a mindful way. Take some time out to walk through a forest or a cityscape, and try and appreciate the sounds around you, or the smells you encounter on your walk. Walking mindfully can be difficult, it’s easy to get lost in thought or bogged down in memories or anxieties about the future. Try to stay focused on your steps, and on what’s happening around you. Walk slowly, take your surroundings with intent.
Take some time to prepare and eat a salad, or a sandwich, or some soup, or some chocolate. Eating mindfully can be a good way to take an hour or so out of your life and just calm down and relax. We eat every day, so it can become a part of your routine to prepare and eat your lunch mindfully.