New York. One of biggest cities in the world. Business capital of the world. New York’s every breath, every heart beat is filled with speed. People are always in a hurry here. They are in a hurry to leave home, in a hurry to get to the office. Always in a hurry to be a step ahead of life. There’s no place for anyone who can’t cope with speed here.
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It’s been over 6 months since I’ve moved back to my dream city. It’s true. Even a turtle will have to learn to speed up if they move to New York City.
Before I knew it, I was walking fast, talking fast, eating fast and sleeping fast. At the morning alarm, I wake up feeling rushed, I eat my breakfast looking at the clock – “It’s getting late, there’s not enough time for this”.
Walking the streets of New York, it’s not hard to notice, people walking fast. They will come from behind, walk right by you and they have disappeared within seconds. How fast can people walk! I laughed at it. But the next thing I know, I am this person. Speed walking but without looking like so, getting angry at everyone, everything around me.
It’s been a great 6 months. But it’s not an easy 6 months.
The fast pace caught up with me pretty fast. Oh the irony!
One night I caught myself hurrying to go to bed, isn’t that funny?, you can’t even slow at night because there’s not enough time to even sleep!
I started noticing major signs of stress. As I worked hard, adapted back to the major hustle mode, I was quickly starting to burn out.
There was no way out though. I was lost in a cycle of despair. Nonstop work mode, lack of sleep leading to more stress, more anxiety.
Earlier this year, I set an intention for myself. And the key word for the year I had set up was – EASE.
Here I was experiencing everything BUT that.
Looking back, I realize that was probably the universe guiding me in to more ease. And the only way to that was through the realization of toxicity of non stop hustle. I had to completely get it out of my system, the old belief that hard work is the way to achieve goals and dreams. Which was why the amplification of the hustle experience was a major turning point for me.
Feeling utterly depressed, stressed, overwhelmed and overworked, I made a decision.
I made the decision to slow down.
To slow down the work pace, to slow down when I wake up, when I walk on the street and when I sit down to eat, slow down to breath, to look around and be consciously aware of my surroundings. I decided to ground myself more in the body, and go back to my roots of mindfulness and healing & re-programming with hypnotherapy.
Why am I slowing down? Is it so that I could accomplish the goals I set for myself in a different, better, more effective way than working hard? The whole point was to slow down. Which means I had to let go of an end goal. Ah now that’s not so easy to do.
The reality is, sowing down at this stage means letting go of expectations for anything. There cannot be any ulterior motives.
Slow down because you love yourself. Slow down because you love life. You don’t want either to pass you by only to realize the time has come where you’re taking your final breath in this body. Slow down to enjoy life to its utmost capacity because that’s what you deserve as a human being.
So I let go of all motives.
I wasn’t sure how to go back to my old ways of mindfulness and slow pace lifestyle. I mean I was born in a tropical island where everything was slow and chill. I spent many a months in a Buddhist monastery living the ultimate slow life. Yet, in this concrete jungle I struggled to find my path back to slow.
So I’m starting with the most simple ways to bring back slow, bring back self love and self-care.
Of course, these methods will be upgraded as I go on this new journey to find my slow, ease and flow. But this is where I’m starting. Starting easy.
I started with something that sometimes I felt are not even acts of self-care. But things that made me feel pampered and happy regardless. Like getting a haircut by an award winning senior stylist, not the beginner stylist who charges less but leaves you feeling “meh, whatever it’s just a haircut”. I started going to the nail spa, taking bubble baths, reading books that have nothing to do with business, psychology or self-development. Little acts of self-care can add up to a less or no stress mind, a happier heart and a more joyful spirit.
I majorly slow down on actions that lead to achieving goals. I stopped following my crazy workout routine. I wasn’t really following it properly anyway because I was too tired from working till late or just didn’t have the time to go to the gym anymore. So I started doing easy, short workouts instead. I made easy diet changes. Usually, I like to tackle things head on. Cut off all the sweet, eat no carbs for dinner or skip dinner altogether. Get that meal plan, go grocery shopping and cook for 6 hours on Sunday! I mean who the hell finds this kinda thing fun anyway?! So instead, I decided to just cut off the extra snacking I was doing through the day. Then I decided to add a massive but yummy salad to my lunch, along with some kind of a carb like a small sandwich, a homemade quesadilla (I love carbs & cheese!). No more making big massive changes. No more “let’s do this NOW and accomplish ALL the goals NOW! No and NO! Slow down everywhere. I’m sure it’s the best way to create consistent change and stick to those changes in the long run too!
Another change I made in my lifestyle was to go back to my meditation practice. Meditate daily no matter what even if it is only for 10 minutes. I can’t even begin to tell you what a game changer this has been for me. It creates a sense of space within. A space where there is little chitter chatter in the mind, space where I can think creatively and take inspired action. A space where I feel at peace. At bliss.
The other major change I’ve made was to be in nature as much as I possibly can. So I decided to spend more time at the one place we have in the city that is closest to nature. Central Park. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me working from central park, eating breakfast at central park, just walking in central park. At this point I feel like central park can easily be my second home. At the end of the day, to sit by a large body of water, looking at the ripples, the ducks the birds, really calms me down. Let’s my mind wander and then silences it. Peace and joy is what I feel anytime I’m in nature. So why not immerse more in that experience?
If you too are experiencing stress, overwhelm and feel overworked, maybe just maybe consider slowing down. Slowing down does not mean being lazy. Slowing down does not mean stopping or pausing either. It means you do things in slower pace, giving yourself breathing room. Life is not a sprint it’s a marathon. Having a steady pace is a great strategy isn’t it?
Well, then what if you were a sprinter? Sprinter don’t run in a sprint for hours do they? The sprint lasts only a few minutes! So why should we be sprinting all life to goals and dreams?
Slow down. Think of ways how you can in your own unique way bring in a bit calm, peace and serenity to your life.
Share with me in the comments below, what are your favorite go-to acts of self-care?
?Talk again soon,