Sunday, October 06, 2019

Weekly Inspiration: Slow Down and Enjoy Time Off

Today's post is about how to slow down, relax, and occasionally take time off from the fast pace of modern life. Yesterday, all of our immediate family - my husband, two sons, father-in-law, and me - spent the entire day together, relaxed and just enjoying each other's company. It struck me how rare that is now, not only to get both of my sons home at the same time (they are in their early 20's), but to be able to spend an entire day without the pressures of getting things done and responding to the online world. In the morning, we made our annual trip to a farmer's market where we go every October to pick out pumpkins and indulge in hot cider and freshly-made donuts, rested/napped in the afternoon, and then had dinner, cake, and presents for my husband's birthday. Ironically, we had to do this all in one day because there was not a single day the rest of the month when we could all get together...because we are so busy!

All 5 of us at home together - a rare treat!
Now, you might be thinking, "Slow down? ha! This illness slowed me down years ago. I have no choice." For me, that's the real irony. In spite of the fact that I need to spend at least 12 hours in bed sleeping (on a good day), I rarely get up before 8 am, and I need to be lying down by 7:30 pm, my life still feels very rushed and overly busy. For starters, I have to squeeze all of my productive time and to-do's into a much smaller period of time than most people. Even more pressure comes from the online world these days: keeping up with social media, replying to e-mails, participating in online support groups, and more. A day like yesterday when we are all together and just "hanging out" is so rare that it reminded me of Christmas Day, a once-a-year phenomenon!

Here is one of my favorite TED Talks: In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore. In spite of the fact that this talk is from 2005 (he mentions Blackberries instead of smart phones!), it's message is even more appropriate and powerful today, especially the parts about his time with his son:

I would really love to hear Carl speak again TODAY, in light of how much faster the digital world - and hence, our entire world - has become.

I have a hard time slowing down and especially, taking time off to relax. I wrote about this difficulty and some great ideas for encouraging free time in my ProHealth article, The Importance of Play. Even if you are more limited than I am and mostly housebound, it is still easy to fall into the trap of living a fast-paced life, where your brain is constantly jumping from one thing to the next, even if (or maybe especially if) most of your "activity" is online. Those connections we make with each other in the virtual world are so important, but we also need to take time out, away from the electronic devices, to just relax and enjoy our families, friends, or some alone time.

How will you take time out today and slow down?


Char | said...

An important reminder. It can be easy to overlook the hours we spend online and think because we have been lying in bed on our phones that we have rested... that's not the case. And all the notifications can cause a sense of urgency and low level stress which is not healthy. Breaks are so important.

I'm glad your whole family could get together for such a special day. Featuring this post in the news round up this week. x

Sue Jackson said...

You are so right, Char - it took me a while to figure that out at first, that lying on the couch with my laptop was NOT resting!

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and for including my post in your news round-up -