The Art of Slowing Down
Why does life sometimes feel like things need to be done right now? Over the past few years I’ve noticed that time seems to fly, and I seem to be in a constant rush. Rushing to get the kids up, rushing to get school done, rushing to get out the door. Sometimes I notice that I am rushing myself and my kids, even when we have nothing to do and are really on our own timetable that day! Why?
I suppose I feel like I have to keep up, and I have to be good enough, and to accomplish those things, I have to control. I often find myself using words like, “hurry,” “now,” and “move faster,” to my kids. Our society indirectly encourages constant busyness at a quick pace. Parents are encouraged to let their child participate in sports and activities everyday of the week. Moms especially, feel the tug to manage all the affairs of the household, kids and all, not to mention often managing a career. Then there is the guilt that comes from feeling like our kids are missing out. It is all quite a lot, and I wanted to take the time to make something clear.
We don’t need to rush to do everything in life- rushing actually makes out heart rates speed up, our blood pressure raise, and puts our minds on edge. When you rush around, you are activating your sympathetic nervous system without realizing it. This system was meant to be in place for times of danger in order to keep us alive. But these days, the threat of death is not quite as large as the threat of feeling inadequate, feeling out of control, and feeling other peoples eyes on us and assuming their judgement.
If this is you, and you feel like you must rush to get things done each day, I want to let you know that you are not alone.
I feel this too. Most moms do.
I want to encourage you to slow down today. Your body and your family will be healthier for it.
Here are some quick ways to naturally slow down your day
Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths- in through your nose and out through your mouth. Not only does this literally calm your thoughts, it also increases oxygen to your brain and your body, slows your heart, and eventually lowers your blood pressure. Next…
ASK. Why am I rushing? Is it because I am late? Is it because my kids are being slow and I want them to go faster? It is because I am anxious about something? Understanding why you are feeling the need to rush is the key to stopping it.
Decide if the reason you are rushing is worth the rush? If your child is making you a bit late to the doctor’s appointment, is your response needed? What will happen if I am 5 minutes late? If you wanted your kids to get their shoes on and they haven’t yet, is it really necessary that they do it right now? A lot of times, the answer is no. If the answer is yes…then some quick moving is necessary, but be careful about the spin you put on your words. Our words have the power to encourage or to diminish another person.
Phrases like, “Geeze you’re so slow!”, Don’t take all day!” and “You’re driving me crazy!” are hurtful to your kids.
SEE THE BIG PICTURE
Your small view of your world right now is that you are feeling the need to rush because of any number of reasons. But will the world be changed if you rush? Will something terrible happen if you are 5 or even 20 minutes late? Most things in life work out better when they are not rushed. Have you ever tried to take a test before you were ready, or rushed out the door, only to find out that you forgot your car keys inside the house? Have you yelled at your kids to get the heck in the car only to have one of them meltdown from the yelling and the pressure they felt? Rushing things in life usually ends badly.
Consider they way that you make others feel when you are rushing them. Your kids don’t see the importance of being someplace at 1:00 or 1:05 if no one else is going to be upset by the 5 minute difference. Consider that your words when you are feeling rushed and on edge, may tend to be curt, and not compassionate. Consider that you may hurt relationships and pass down negative coping methods by they way your kids see your act when you are rushed.
Seeing the big picture will show you that whether you rush or not, you will still get to where you need to go, and the world will keep turning.
Most of the pressure that we as moms feel, we have placed on ourselves. The reality is that rushing may get us somewhere quicker, but it doesn’t make our lives better.
I encourage you to resolve today to slow down, and to put things into perspective. There will still be food at the grocery store 10 minutes from now, but taking care of both your and your child’s hearts needs to happen now.
Standing strong together as moms,