How many of us declared 2016 to be the year we learn how to slow down? The year we learn how to press pause? The year we learn how to take a breath when we most need it, rather than pushing through the overwhelm?

For many of us, we want to get off the merry-go-round of work, commitments, and endless to-dos for a moment. Just long enough to take a breath and recalibrate. But we discover time and time again that things never stop and finding that moment, that breath, that recalibration is much harder than we thought it would be.

There will always be work to do. There will always be laundry to fold. There will always be phone calls to make and people to help and appointments to attend and expectations to meet and manage.

Those things probably won’t change a lot, because life.

And while there are so many ways we can ease those responsibilities – declutter, get organised, uncover our priorities and live accordingly – they will always remain.

So when faced with the tension between a desire (I want to slow down, to press pause and soak in this moment right now) and a perceived requirement (but I need to sweep the floor, attend a meeting, fill out this form) what do we do? How do we bridge that gap?

We stop anyway.

There is no secret to slowing down other than to just… stop.

You have to make the decision to press pause for yourself. Let go of the expectations. Give yourself permission to stop, even though it may not be a perfect time to do so. Because there never is a perfect time.

We will always have something else to do or somewhere else to be.

Choose to stop anyway.

The truth is, it doesn’t take much time. You could:

  • Take ten deep, slow breaths. Breath in, count slowly to five. Hold for five. Out for five.
  • Spend two minutes sitting quietly, carefully taking stock of each of your senses.
  • Find your kids and play a joy-filled game of hide and seek.
  • Go outside and stare at the clouds.
  • Bend down and get your hands in the dirt. Plant something. Water something. Revel in the vitality of being.
  • Stretch.
  • Make a list of things you are grateful for.
  • Write a poem. Draw a picture. Create, with no agenda in mind.
  • Have a nap in the middle of the day. Just because.

The ‘secret’ to slowing down is simply to slow down.

It is that simple. And that difficult.


Photo by Andrew Malone