Everyone needs a little down time
On Mother's Day I broke my ankle. In the most mundane boring way-I literally just slipped in the hallway at my house. I assumed there was no possible way I could have more than a sprained ankle and I felt like I didn't really have time to get it checked out, so I hobbled around for 3 days. Until strangers started making comments about how swollen and bruised my ankle looked and I realized I needed to see a doctor. Then I was told I had not only broken my ankle, but I needed surgery and would be non-weight bearing for four weeks. FOUR WEEKS! As a self-employed, busy mom this felt like a disaster-it was totally going to impact every aspect of my personal and professional life. As I was griping to a close friend about how I love the month of June and was so bummed to be "missing out" on it, my friend pointed out that maybe, just maybe, this was an opportunity to just slow down. My initial reaction was "just slow down? I don't have time for that". As a task-oriented and active person, I like to get.things.done. But then another friend gave me a book about embracing solitude and silence and I figured maybe I needed to listen to the people around me. I am now over a week out from surgery and while I have returned to work, I have had to put quite a bit of my "life to-do list" items on hold and have had to accept a fair amount of help from others (primarily my poor husband, but also family, friends, and neighbors who have been immensely helpful). It's frustrating not being able to tackle tasks or requiring assistance with something I would normally feel quite capable of doing on my own. However, this all got me thinking about the value of slowing down, being patient, and being present. In the back of my mind, I know this is important, but it can be difficult to implement when your to-do list feels like it's constantly mounting. Additionally, we are inundated with technology overload and have gotten used to having information available at our fingertips. This article shows that when we slow down and take time to just "pause" in our day, we can focus on what's happening right in front of us. This increases our awareness of our own perspectives and the perspectives of others around us. Slowing down can also improve our patience and tolerance and advance our listening skills and abilities to enjoy delayed gratification. In fact, "slowing down" has even been shown to increase creativity and decrease stress! These are typically qualities we are trying to instill in our children, so I'm here to encourage you to try to model this to them, not just tell them. It may be hard, but if you can be a little kinder to yourself, take the pressure off and just.slow.down, you may find that you benefit even more than you imagined. Give it a try and put your feet up (heck, you might as well literally join me in this!) You may just find that "slowing down" is a practice you're yearning to incorporate in your life on a regular basis.