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Enjoying Life in the Slow Lane...

One thing Coronavirus has taught all of us, is that we live life way too fast

We’ve all been on lockdown and we’ve all slowed down. Has anyone noticed that they are sleeping better? The days seems generally longer?

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Ease the pressure in life

Throughout life there is constant pressure to pack as much into life as we possibly can, maximise every minute, keep our lives full of activity and never let a minute pass without doing something.

Life pressure starts at school

From an early age we are all encouraged to sign up to as many clubs as possible. Ballet, tap, football, Rugby, etc. You name the activity and there is a club for it. Then we move to University, if we choose and the pressure continues. You have to get this grade or that grade, to get this job or that job. Then we move to work, with sometimes, really long working hours. We have the job, to earn the money, to buy the house that we never actually spend any time in. Even when we are at home, there’s a never ending to-do list of things that need maintained, fixed or upgraded.

Do you ever feel like a hamster on a wheel?

And we go on living, in this constant cycle, as if there’s nothing wrong with this system. A system that is constantly exhausting us all and burning so many of us out.

We have to ask ourselves the question. What is wrong with the current system? And, if there’s nothing wrong with this system, then why are so many people unhappy? Why are so many on medication to control anxiety, stress, and depression? Record numbers of us are unhappy, that is a fact. Record numbers of anti-depressants are prescribed every year. Is this really how we want to live out our days?

Is this really what we call progress?

When your brain is constantly overloaded with the busyness of life it can be exhausting.

We all walk around with the nagging sense that there’s something we forgot to do. Or we feel guilty when we actually do take time to do nothing, be lazy with friends or family

There’s just no rest; no sense of completion in life. Ever.

But life doesn’t have to be so crazy. We all have the power to end the craziness of life by embracing an alternative way of life. Embrace the alternative of slowing down.

It sounds strange in a life when everything runs at 100 miles an hour.

We are all so impatient not. We burn with frustration if a website doesn’t load instantly.

We check our email or social media accounts at least 15 times a day. We don’t take time to eat, especially not as a family and our sleep patterns are the most disrupted they have ever been. In some extreme cases, some of us even take our own lives because the pressure to perform is too much to handle.

Breaking these habits can be difficult. But why is that?

We fear that something bad will happen if things don’t get done. To calm that fear we work harder, and longer, and harder, and longer only to realize that there’s more to do.

The unexpected benefits of slow living?

It never ends for some of us.

If you’re tired of the daily grind, take a step back and take a long hard look at your life and audit what really needs to be done. What is really important? Letting go of the compulsion to do all things can be liberating, emancipation. Simply choose what’s most important and do that. Even simpler, choose to do the things you are passionate about, and drop the rest.

Choose life in the slow lane

If life in the slow lane appeals to you, here are some easy steps to enjoy a slower, simpler, happier life:

· Choose 3 things to achieve each day. Keep it simple and keep it relevant. Keeping the list this size will force you to decide what’s really important. When you finish the list, the rest of the day is yours to relax. With this approach you’ll be completing 21 important tasks a week and you’ll have loads more time to actually relax

· Learn to say “no.” Stop taking on more responsibility. Stop stretching yourself too thin, choose what is important and stick to those decisions.

· Relax Even if you can only manage 20 minutes a day at first, you will start to feel the benefits instantly. Learn to just be. Do something relaxing, that doesn’t require any thought, a bit like meditation but not.

· Limit checking emails and social media That includes sports scores, blog stats – anything. Checking these sites can become an addictive habit which eats into the time that you could spend doing stuff that actually makes you happy.

· Embrace quality over quantity. Instead of signing up to everything then try to do fewer thing. Choose anything that really adds value to your life. Choose one organization making a difference and support them. Embracing quality over quantity will make your life less stressful and your life experiences more satisfying.

· Find a hobby. Try something new, you don’t have to be good at it but try something new. It could be anything, painting, cooking, running, gardening, anything that you can feel passionate about.

· Spend time with people you love. This, for me, is the key to a happy life. Being surrounded by the ones you love is the cornerstone of a happy contented life. Sharing secrets, fears, and hopes with another human is the surest way to slow down and enjoy life. Without close contact with other people, it can be hard for us all. Who do we all speak to when life is tough? Our friends and family. Make time every single day to spend with loved ones, and you won’t end up with a single death-bed regret.

And remember, stay safe

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