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  • Writer's pictureChristina A Donaldson

Slowing Down and Doing Less

Lately I have been thinking about how much more enjoyable life is when I slow down and just let myself be. Slowing down appeals to me because I am someone who easily gets caught up in to-do lists. Perhaps you can relate. Without meaning to, I often get caught up in the rushing energy of going from one task to another. Whenever I stop to rest, I am still thinking about the next task, and the next task, and so on. When I’m not aware of it, I can get stuck in this cycle for weeks or even months. It’s exhausting.

A friend of mine once said that simplifying is an act of self-care. I love that, and I don’t think that simplifying has to look any certain way, though some may choose to minimize their belongings or downsize their homes or do away with to-do lists all together. I also don’t think that doing less will mean the same thing to everyone, as we each have our own unique balance based on our own needs and rhythms. The most important part of slowing down and doing less is how it makes you feel. Ideally, it’s a path to feeling less stressed and more present with more moments of joy and pleasure, and more space for true gratitude to emerge.

Doing less doesn’t have to mean less fulfilment or meaning. In my experience, it’s the complete opposite. It means more time to enjoy those things that really matter and expending less energy on things that don’t matter as much.

I have realized that life itself is simpler than I make it out to be much of the time. And I only realize this when I choose to slow down, linger, and let myself just be. Sometimes this looks like saying no to an invitation. Sometimes it looks like daydreaming or lingering in bed a little longer before getting up because really, there’s nothing that has to get done right this very second. It can wait. It can almost always wait.

The path to doing less is likely not a straight one. It starts with the belief that slowing down serves you and those around you. It is a practice that becomes more natural and easy over time. Like most things, there will likely be setbacks and changes along the way. What was working for you one year or month may not work all that well a year or month later. Shifting the practice with these changes is part of the process. I believe that a practice of slowing down and balancing ”being” with “doing” can lead to a more enjoyable life, one with more joy, ease and presence.

Affirmation for today: When I slow down, I notice just how simple life can be.

Questions for Reflection:

What beliefs do you have about slowing down and doing less?

Create a list of at least 5 “doing” things you either enjoy or have to do on a daily or weekly basis (Examples include: responding to e-mails, running errands, cooking)

Create a list of at least 5 “being” things that you enjoy. (Examples include: spending leisure time with family and friends, reading, going for a nature walk)

When is it easiest for you to slow down and “be” rather than “do”? When is it most difficult?

What patterns do you notice when you think about these questions?

What does your ideal balance between “doing” and “being” look like for you? As best you can, try to imagine that balance. What does it feel like? How is it different from your life now?

How can you experiment with getting even just .01% closer to your ideal balance? What small step can you take this week to get started?

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