The Power of Slowing Down
Do you ever feel like you're running from task to task, but your list keeps growing?
Or like there is so much to do that you simply can't fit it all into one day?
That is a very overwhelming head-space to be in and I'm sorry if you feel stuck there.
I wanted to take a moment to remind you that sometimes the best course of action isn't "powering through". Sometimes the best thing we can do is slow down our thoughts.
Our minds can get so, so busy. For some, this is due to anxiety, for others it is connected to being in a stressful environment, sometimes we feel significant pressure from others, and sometimes this pressure stems from our own unrealistic expectations of ourselves. And, while our mind can spin and go down rabbit holes for hours on end- it is not sustainable for us to join it every time. Sometimes, we need to exit the worried, looping thinking and assess:
what is fact
what is in our control
and what we can actually carry.
Slowing down allows us to shift from a survival and fear-based mindset to one of intention and awareness of our capacity and of our needs.
What if, instead of planning to stay up late all week to finish that project, you took a step back and asked- "what could I delegate"?
What if, instead of keeping all those plans you have this week, you took a step back and asked- "what could I kindly bow out of"?
What if, instead of having a conversation with someone you're frustrated with or hurt by, you took a step back and said, "I will approach this tomorrow when I feel more calm"?
The thing about slowing down our thoughts is that it doesn't take up more of your time, but it does help you spend it in ways that work better for you.
So, you may wonder, when I have a million things going through my mind and just as many things on my to-do list, how the heck do I slow down?!
First, calm your nervous system by taking 5 calming breaths and consider these 3 questions:
Is there anything on my to-do list or plate that I can release or delegate?
What are the top 3 things I need to accomplish today, and what can wait?
Is the pressure I'm feeling to get _____ done internal or external?
We can try to manage everything as soon as it is thrown at us, feel anxious, be exhausted and eventually burnout. Or, by slowing down and evaluating tasks or stressors that pop-up in our life, we can keep the control.
Meredith Waller MSW, LCSW
Based in Boulder, CO and offering online counseling throughout Colorado
-Certified Shame-Informed Treatment Specialist
-Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional