Slowing Things Down

Maybe it’s related to my age—50-something, in case you were wondering—but recently I have felt more acutely aware than ever of the passing of time. Is it just me or does Christmas seem like yesterday? I’ve written before about how the seasons spin by at warp-speed, but I can’t stop wishing I knew how to sloooow thingssss downnnnn.

Every single woman I talk to is crazy-busy these days. What is up with that? It’s like we have to schedule down time, so we can hang out with friends or fit something fun into our otherwise fairly repetitive schedule. Then when we make appointments to “have fun,” it suddenly doesn’t seem like fun anymore. It feels like another task to check off a list.

The real problem is most of us are in a rut, doing the same things over and over again. Sometimes we can’t help that we have to do certain things. Like once a week I do my mom’s shopping and meet her for lunch—and once a month, I have a deadline. But what’s crazy is even when my schedule seems relatively open, I find myself crowding it full with a long list of to-do items that I never seem to get around to doing—and the list never ends.

Stop the world! I want to get off!

Everyone agrees that stress is a huge factor in modern women’s lives. The question is what can we do about it? I’m no expert, just an average gal, but I think the answer lies in what we do that takes us out of ourselves and into a creative, timeless, zen-like state. When we escape from our regular lives by doing these activities, time seems to move more slowly. It’s as if we drift off into a place where we stop worrying about appointments, deadlines, and to-do lists. We just are.

The trick is to identify the activities we do that bring us to this place of reverie and relaxation, where we lose ourselves, our sense of self, and merge with the moment in a creative, fulfilling way. Think for a minute about how you escape. Write down some of these activities and make a mental note to include at least one or two in your routine every day.

For me cooking in the evening is a daily escape. I love finding new recipes for healthy meals: cutting, chopping, cooking, smelling, tasting, and eating. Sometimes I play classical music while I cook. I’m totally in the moment. Peter and I recently made a vow to eat a mostly plant-based diet and only eat meat 1-2 times a week. This has challenged me to discover new ways of cooking vegetables and legumes. Yesterday, for example, I made a butternut squash and black bean bisque that turned out great. (Can’t wait to have some for lunch today.)

There are other ways I get lost besides cooking in the kitchen. Walking in the woods, looking for shells along the seashore, going to the zoo, listening to a symphony, taking a trip to a place I’ve never been before, watching the sunset from my veranda—these are all my favorite ways to escape from the busy pace of life. Notice that each of these activities awakens our senses—for it’s our five senses that make us feel alive, right? Too much technology has the opposite effect, doesn’t it? TV and computers tend to dull our senses, making us feel numb and mindless.           

Spring is the perfect time to find more ways to feel alive. Make your list. Plan your daily escape. Get lost in the moment.

~ Peggy


PS - In case you didn’t know, TW’s senior sales executive, Ronni Kochey, is the proud mom of Jennifer Van Horn, the lovely woman gracing this month’s cover.

PPS - Please nominate your favorite businesses for our 2013 Ladies’ Choice Awards. Go to www.tidewaterwomen.com/ladies-choice. THANKS!

Peggy Sijswerda

Tidewater Women Magazine, Editor & Co-Publisher.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com
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