By Ron Murdock
‘There is more to life than increasing its speed.’ – Gandhi
‘The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.’ – Jim Goodwin
Slowing down doesn’t mean getting involved with the latest new age gurus or spending your hard earned cash on the newest trends. All you have to do is make the time and find a place you can unwind to relax. A person can spend too much time on automatic pilot that they forget to slow down and take a look at where they are at or going to. Days off are spent recovering or planning for the week ahead. Is busyness really worth it? When one multi-tasks it divides the attention span so much nothing gets done properly.
Health issues, mental and physical, are affected when slowing down falls by the wayside. People get irritated or frustrated a lot easier. Attention and concentration levels lower, insomnia strikes and minor issues grow into major ones. Patience is the only one that takes a vacation. So a balance needs to be developed between stress and self-care.
To slow down involves setting priorities on what needs to be done in a day. With so much incoming information, up to 24 hours at a time, a person has to decide what needs to be dealt with first, what can be set aside to be done at a later date or toss away what doesn’t need to be done. Once a person gets things in order they can eat and shower, among other activities, at a slower pace and enjoy their movement more.
A key change is to take in life around you in more depth, noticing and experiencing what is offered more often. It beats trying to set speed records going from one project to the other. I have to ask how much a person remembers in any detail what they did or accomplished in any given day. Slowing down provides a better perspective on how to approach things in a clearer and calmer way. Who knows, a person may gain any number of new insights in life.
It goes without saying that busyness is a health issue that will become an epidemic if people don’t curtail things by slowing down. It is unfortunate that busyness is now an addiction that has become respectable the last few years or may go back to the days of the Puritan Work Ethic. It may come to the point that busyness will become a religion. A slogan could be ‘come to our church and sign up for a multitude of projects.’ But I’d rather take to heart what Red Green had to say; ‘Do less but do it harder.’
Slowing down doesn’t mean going at the pace of a herd of turtles but going at a particular speed that is necessary to get the project done. There is a lot of pressure on us to keep busy though it might mean cutting corners and taking short cuts to get things done. As a result the work gets sloppy as mistakes are made. A small case of multi-tasking is reading and eating at the same time. The question to ask here is how much of what you read is retained and do you recall what the food tasted like or was it chewed enough before digesting it.
All in all I guess it means dropping the cookie cutter mentality that plagues us. I’d rather be known as an eccentric loner who knows when to relax.