The Art of Slowing Down
Make Time To Relax, Unwind and “Stop and Smell The Roses”
With the demands of our 24/7 digital world, it’s not always easy to disengage and unplug. In fact, we’re inventing new technology every day to save us time so we can do more and more of… All. The. Things. It seems our lives are more hectic than ever.
Not to mention the ups and downs of the last few years. From health, safety and pandemic worries to balancing work and family we have a lot on our plates. It’s not surprising we find it hard to turn off our minds, stop thinking and just relax. But it’s important to remember that our bodies and minds need a break!
Learning how to slow down and unwind is critical to whole-body, mental, physical and emotional health. Those who have been stressed over a long period of time often show the physical effects in their skin, hair and may even have more illnesses or colds. Taking time to relax and slow down helps the body build strength and resilience. And as you relax more, you may find you anger less often or less quickly, too.
It was golfer Walter Hagen who expressed the sentiment “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” It’s been paraphrased over the years, and we now know this sentiment better as “stop and smell the roses.”
Either way you phrase it, it remains an important reminder to slow down! With all that is going on, it’s vital we make time to unplug, relax and reconnect to nature. Take a moment to savor the beauty around you. Focus on what truly matters, celebrate the simple moments, and enjoy family and friends.
Here are a few easy tips for stressing less and relaxing more:
Do Less. You can’t slow down when you have a million things to do. Taking a few things off your to-do list helps. Leave more time between tasks so you can go through the day at a more stress-free pace. Focus on what’s important, then make a conscious choice to let go of the rest.
Disconnect. Being connected all the time means you’re subject to constant interruptions. It’s hard to slow down and relax when messages and reminders are always coming in. Give yourself a break from the communication by leaving devices in another room or turning off phones and computers – even if it’s just for a few hours. It’s amazing the peace you’ll feel.
Enjoy Nature. Spending so much time indoors prevents you from observing nature and savoring the natural beauty around you. Devote more time to being in green space! Studies have shown it reduces blood pressure and boosts mood. If you can’t get outside, even sitting next to a window helps you unwind.
Drive Gentler. Instead of rushing, turn drive time into a chance to unwind. Leave more time to get places and make it a peaceful time to appreciate your surroundings, count your blessings or think of things you’re grateful for. You’ll be less stressed when you arrive, and you may find it makes driving more enjoyable, safter and even uses less fuel.
Take A Breath. When in doubt, take a deep breath. The nervous system automatically slows down when you breathe deeply. It’s why breath work is a key component of mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation. Deep breaths help you slow down and be more present. Several “in through the nose, hold, and out through the mouth” breaths can work wonders. Exercise such as yoga, meditation, stretching and walking are also great for deep breathing, clearing the head and helping you unwind.
Taking care of ourselves through rest and relaxation is essential for health, wellness, happiness and strong relationships. It may take some practice to master but taking time to “stop and smell the roses,” as Walter Hagen so eloquently said, is a worthy endeavor that brings so many benefits – stillness, connection, love, gratitude – all balms to the soul.
Need Some Help Getting Started?
Here are some Plow & Hearth recommendations to help you unwind, relax and reconnect…
Lush Botanicals Create A Relaxing Oasis
Achieving tranquility in the modern rush is more important than ever and easier than you think. Take your cues from nature – embrace earthy shades of green, brown and sand; surround yourself with potted plants and low-maintenance landscaping; introduce the sights and sounds of moving water. Before you know it, you’ll be fully immersed in an oasis of calm!
Savor Simple Celebrations
Sometimes a party of two is all you need to relax and unwind. Keep things simple with refreshing drinks, comfy pillows and a cozy fire. Create an intimate conversation space where you can really focus, listen, laugh and connect. Time spent one-on-one with a friend or loved one is always time well spent.
Time By The Water Is The Ultimate Way To Unwind
Whether you’re taking in the sound of the surf by the seaside, the sun sparkling across a lake or pool, or the rush of a stream over rocks, water transports you to another place. Even if you don’t have a waterside view, you can still create your own getaway by relaxing in outdoor comfort. Enjoy coffee at sunrise or coastal cocktails at sunset, turn on some beach music and dine on your favorite vacation fare right at home.