As we launch into the year-end break, for many it can feel like we’re speeding up to cross the finish line. Instead of getting caught up in that feeling of rushing, here’s ten ways to slow down (even if it feels like everything around you is speeding up).
1. Breathe. When we’re rushing we’re often catching very short, shallow breaths. Even just one momentary pause to take a deep breath can feel so good and doesn’t take long at all.
2. Reassess your diary commitments. It’s okay to check your diary and cancel on plans that feel like too much of a stretch. Take a closer look and see what could be eliminated entirely or simply reshuffled to the new year. After all, if you’re feeling busy those people you’re cancelling on are likely to feel the relief of free space in their diaries too.
3. Know how you want to feel. Instead of focusing on how you’re feeling stretched and stressed, get clear on how you do want to feel. That way you can search for ways to top up more on that feeling. Even asking: Will this help me feel more [insert desired feeling here]?
4. Write out how you actually feel. When we get overwhelmed it’s often because we’re over-emphasising particular thoughts and they’re getting trapped on a merry-go-round in our heads. When you actually write those feelings out it can bring instant clarity and relief simply to see them in front of you.
5. Be the first to leave. I’m a big fan of committing to my personal bed times and I’m okay with being the one to go home early. If you know that you’ve got a full day of commitments ahead of you or are already feeling your body slowing down, it’s totally okay to be the first to leave.
6. Get some fresh air. Even a 5min walk around the block can be such a refresher if you’re starting to feel stuck in those spirals of emotions again. Perhaps you’re out of your regular routine, in a new environment, or simply need a break from lots of people being around. Take a walk. Fresh air is like a spring clean for your physical and emotional self.
7. Treat yourself. Treats can happen in micro moments. It could be as simple as sipping your tea really slowly. Popping bath salts in your bath. Or even deciding to buy yourself that lovely magazine you’ve been wanting to read for ages. The act of treating yourself gives you that little boost that also sends signals to your brain and heart – it’s okay to feel good and you matter.
8. Clear space in advance. This is so much fun. Get out your diary and commit to blocking out time for you come January, or even further ahead. Know that even though you could be going through a particularly “full” time for your schedule right now, you have a full day (or stretch of days) solely dedicated to free time to look forward to. It’s a great way to bring back that sense of balance.
9. Check if it’s really necessary. When the year-end starts rapidly approaching it can suddenly feel like a looming deadline, with everything feeling like it absolutely *must* get done. Check in with yourself on every single thing that pops up – is this really necessary, or could it wait? It’s likely that most, if not all of the things on your list could be shuffled or delayed or deleted entirely.
10. Smile, a lot. It’s easy to smile, even if you’re in a cranky mood. The muscle reflex naturally releases some feel-goods and reminds you that hey, there really are things to smile about and be appreciative of.
Remember, the only thing in your control is you. How you choose to react and respond to situations around you. And how you choose to feel about things. Have these ten things in your back pocket over the year-end and know that in any moment you can choose to slow down and bring yourself back to a calm, peaceful balance.