Slowing down is harder than it sounds.
A month ago, I heard this quote during Marie Forleo’s interview with yogi Colleen Saidman Yee:
Know your worth. I watch women holding it together, afraid if that they slow down, everything will fall apart. -Colleen Saidman Yee
These 109 characters pierced my heart so hard that I rewound the video and listened to it again.
I’m so incredibly guilty of this. I don’t feel guilty for following my dreams with my career and in my new business endeavor. I’m guilty of keeping myself busy, busy, busy so that I don’t know what to do with myself when I slow down. I feel untethered. As if something was missing if I didn’t do anything “productive.”
That’s exactly what happened this past weekend. The U.S. Independence Day holiday was a 3-day weekend for my husband. Since it’s just the two of us at home right now (kids are at grandparents), I powered through deadlines on Thursday so I could take 3 days off too.
Three days of no work sounds blissful and relaxing. Except it wasn’t.
On Friday, my husband and I spent our time together much like our pre-child days. We slept in. We ate brunch at this amazing Indian restaurant in our neighborhood. We went shopping together. In a leisurely, we-only-need-two-things kind of way. We discovered an alehouse and tried some new beers. We got home late and watched two movies on Netflix.
On Saturday, we slept in late again. I cooked us a huge brunch, complete with eggs, grits, bacon and banana pancakes. Sounds like relaxing, quality time, doesn’t it?
We stared into each other eyes and ate our brunch. I started feeling twitchy. Enough time doing “nothing.” It was time to do something productive. I told my husband this and he almost rolled his eyes. But I could see it on his face. Not this again. Why can’t we just chill out in front of the television? is probably what ran through his head. (He won’t admit it, though. I asked.)
My husband can veg on the couch a million times better than me. He loves watching movies and television shows. I can only passively watching so many things before I become restless. We accept these facts about each other.
Instead of spending Saturday watching even more Netflix movies, he joined me in going through the junk corner in our bedroom. After I couldn’t stop sneezing due to the dust we kicked up, he kicked me out of the bedroom until my sinuses stopped rebelling. He stayed and continued decluttering. Sunday we tackled several more cluttered areas in our apartment.
See what I mean about my lack of ability to slow down?
What I did manage to do was stay mostly unplugged for 3 days. By Saturday night, I was itching to get back on my computer. Why? Nothing important. I did check Facebook to see what my friends were up to and shared a couple of food photos on Instagram. By Sunday afternoon, being unplugged got easier. Maybe I needed some detoxing?
After my 3-day semi-slow weekend, I realized a few things about slowing down:
- Slowing down means different things to different people. For me it meant not working or doing things that were related to working. Sure, decluttering my home takes work, but it wasn’t my job. The decluttering makes my apartment more organized, and in turn, more relaxing for me. Slowing down for my husband means sitting his butt on the couch and only getting up to get food. That’s relaxing for him.
- I prefer my slowing down activities to be interactive. I supposed this relates to #1. I can’t just sit and watch movies all day. I have to be involved in something: reading a book, playing a game, or cooking. Even when I take a relaxing bubble bath, I have a stack of magazines next to me.
- Down time is good for me. I know that unplugging and just chilling out makes me happier. By the third day, I didn’t want to watch another tv show with my husband. We did turn off the tv and had dinner together, complete with sparkling water in fancy wine glasses. We didn’t talk the whole time. Rather we just enjoyed each other’s company.
- Slowing down is a work-in-progress. It’s definitely a challenge for me to turn off work and to just sit and do nothing. I realized that I need a sort of detox period before my brain can say, “Ok, you chill for a bit.”
- Nothing fell apart when I slowed down. Surprise! You knew that already. I knew that too, but it’s good to remind myself. I’m taking more time to evaluate the opportunities that come my way so I don’t take on too much. Not having such a full plate helps when I try to slow down. I don’t have looming deadlines to stress me out.
How do you slow down?