I've been into watching Grey's Anatomy recently, which may come as a surprise for to some of you - I've never been a big TV person, but the last year or so I've gotten into different Netflix or HBO series that I can watch on my computer, on my own time.
At first I just wanted something to occupy me while I was sweating in my infrared sauna, but I've started to enjoy the routine of watching a show and allowing my brain to wind down from the day.
Side note: I know many people numb out on TV, and while I'm definitely not immune to that, I'm starting to believe that watching a good series can also be a healing and meditative experience... I for one have had MANY "aha" moments while binging on Sex and The City and Grey's, but I'll save that conversation for another blog post ;)
Anyways, during an episode of Grey's (at least I THINK it was an episode of Grey's...) the narrator started going on about how life is not a race, how there's no prize for getting through it the fastest, there's no way to "win" it.
And for some reason it really hit me while watching that episode (see what I told you about TV being a space for aha moments?): There's really no rush.
Time is a funny thing - usually we talk about how time flies when we're having fun, how we don't have enough of it, how we're racing against the clock. Because our thoughts and words color how we experience reality, we then end up packing our schedules, racing from thing to thing, and stressing about not being able to fit in what's important to us.
What if we took off the pressure to "do it all" and simply focused on doing a few things that we truly enjoyed?
Instead of trying to get through our entire to-do lists, what if we concentrated on completing the ONE thing that mattered most?
My mantra for this summer is: SLOW DOWN.
Maybe you (like me) are guilty of wanting to do it all. I want to travel the world, have a successful career, run a marathon and master a handstand, meet the love of my life and have cute babies. All before I'm 35 (used to be 30, but that ship has sailed...).
You don't win if you get through life the quickest, and there's no prize for checking off milestones or accomplishments before everyone else.
So this summer I'm leaning into the art of doing less. I'm making fewer plans and allowing myself time to get bored. To decorate my apartment. To read a novel (or five). To call my friends. To lay in bed a little longer than I think I should. To watch the sunset.
Here are a few practical tips to embracING the summer slow down:
- Prioritize and downsize your to-do list. I use an online task management system and dump all my to-dos in there. Each day I focus on 1 or 2 important tasks to complete from the list.
- Allow buffer time. Instead of leaving for work (or a meeting, or an appointment, or yoga class) with just enough time to spare, give yourself some "buffer." Not only will this extra time mean that you're not rushing, you may even have a few minutes to wander, window shop, call your mom, or just breath.
- Meditate. Seriously though, this is the easiest way to shift your perspective around time and approach your day with a more grounded, calm mindset. Even one minute helps.
- Streamline your online time. Give yourself windows of time when you'll be online (whether that's responding to emails and text messages, or posting to Instagram), and then resist the urge to get online outside of those windows. Social media and email can be huge time sucks if you're not mindful about how you use them.
- Turn your phone off. I usually put my phone on airplane mode an hour or two before bedtime, but also when I have an important project to finish or when I'm spending time with friends, or in nature. It's nice to not be reachable for a little bit :)
Practicing these tips are helping me change my go go go reflex. It's not always easy, but it's happening. I'm slowing down and it feels pretty darn good.