Sometimes you just need a hot minute when life gets busy. And that’s okay. Learning how to slow down, giving yourself permission to do just that, grounding yourself and becoming more mindful are all so important in living a more balanced life.
- Have you ever gotten so caught up in “needing” to be productive during slower times to the point of paralyzation and instead, you end up doing nothing at all and beat yourself up over it?
- Have you ever felt like you’re hanging by a tiny worn out thread and your lingering anxiety is just waiting to come crashing down?
- Do you ever feel a disconnect between what you want to be doing and what you should be doing? Do small, minuscule incidents snowball into a full blown downhill slope of overwhelm?
Me too. We all have moments of anxiety, stress and overwhelm – no matter if they’re warranted or not. And it doesn’t matter. As frustrating as these emotions may feel, it’s times like these to allow yourself to slow down and reset.
While I haven’t mastered being perfectly content and in tune with myself all the time (is anyone?), I’ve found a few things to make a huge difference in how I feel – both mentally and physically. Hopefully these tips will show you some ideas on how to slow down and ground yourself!
Tip: Don’t let yourself feel pressured by others who are doing more, being more or producing more. Self-care looks different for everyone and whether you’re watching old reruns of Friends for the 12th time or cranking through an entire online course in a weekend – there’s no right or wrong.
Listen to your body and what feels good to YOU.
1. Simplify Your Life And Eliminate Clutter
I’m a firm believer of simplifying your life whenever and wherever possible. Clutter adds unnecessary and subconscious stress to your already loaded plate. There is surprising gratification and clarity that comes from simplifying your life and slowing down.
Clutter doesn’t just refer to a messy collection of things. You can have a cluttered inbox, phone homescreen or brain jumping from millions of thoughts so fast people usually can’t keep track (guilty!). Because clutter can be everywhere, it’s important to take a close look of where and how this might look like in your life – and then tackle it.
Where Does Clutter Show Up?
- That junk drawer that holds everything from half-used candles to stamps and an old Tamagotchi? Go through it.
- The pile of unopened spam mail by the entryway? Throw it out.
- 38 apps on your homescreen but you only use 7? Delete them.
- A closet full of stuff you forgot you owned? Take everything out and examine one by one which is worth keeping.
My love for a clutter-less life stemmed from moving around a lot and not wanting to have to drag tons of belongings with me each time. I can’t properly focus on work when my bed is unmade, dishes waiting to be washed or my desk is messy. (That’s exactly why I created my signature online course Clear Your Way To Calm!)
A clean and decluttered space is proven to help with anxiety and better thinking, so even if you don’t go Marie Kondo on your place, try it in a few areas and notice the differences in your well-being. Worst case you end up with a cleaner house.
2. Create A New Self-Care Routine
Everyone has routines in their lives, and for some they are working better than others.
For the longest time, I’d set my alarm just in time for me to snooze once, shoot out of bed and rush out the door in 20 minutes, starting my day far too hectic. I didn’t want to compromise sleep but had “too much to do” (spend time on Instagram until 1am) to go to bed earlier. I was stuck in my own hamster wheel. There was time, I just didn’t prioritize it. I was stuck in a vicious cycle made up of bad habits shaping my daily routine without even realizing.
Try and identify some of your bad habits that are part of your routine. It might help writing them all out to find some patterns and either eliminate or replace them with something else.
Visualize Your Ideal Day
What really helped me was starting to visualize my ideal morning and day. What would you be doing if you didn’t have to go into work or rush your mornings? If there was nothing on the agenda for the entire day, what would you want to fill your time with?
While this exercise is simple, most of us still rush in the mornings, take a coffee to go or don’t do any of the things they know would make them happy. Why? Because habits are hard to break.
Tip: This article is great if you want to learn more about reprogramming your subconscious mind and how habits are formed. If you’ve always wondered why you can’t seem to stop procrastinating, this article breaks down why procrastinators procrastinate.
Mornings are a great opportunity to set yourself up for success for the rest of the day. Find a routine that works for you – and stick with it. Even small changes can have a big impact.
Add these to your morning routine:
- Drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning (promotes hydration, digestion and skin quality)
- Take ownership of the day by doing things that are in your control (making the bed and taking supplements)
- Set yourself small and attainable daily goals (researching a topic you’re curious about or exercising for 30 minutes)
- Change into your workout clothes and exercise right away. That way you’re done and don’t have to dread and procrastinate it for the rest of the day.
Miracle Morning is a great book with rave reviews by Hal Elrod covering 6 habits to transform your mornings.
TLDR; here’s a great Miracle Morning summary.
3. Prioritize Self-Care
There was a time I was constantly under the weather or fighting off one of my many tonsillitis infections. My health was quite frankly pretty shit. I’d sleep an average of six hours, eat more chocolate and cookies than any other food throughout the day and live in a constant state of stress about my ever-growing to do list.
I was given Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker and it completely opened my eyes to the importance of getting adequate sleep.
Catching enough zzz isn’t just helping you function, it’s also lowering chances of getting potential diseases – and it sets the foundation of a strong immune system. Just one hour less sleep can majorly impact your ability to fight infections and cardiovascular health.
Getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep is now my baseline priority for my self-care routine. Though self-care looks different for everyone, the basics like sleep, exercise and nutrition should be the first things to get right.
9 Simple Ways To Practice Self-Care
One of my absolute favorite ways to decompress is pampering myself with skincare. Serums, peelings, masks – you name it! I just ordered the Dreamy Skin Retinyl Oil from Discipline and Dr. Dennis Gross Peel Pads that have already done wonders to my skin (smoother skin texture, smaller pores and diminishing fine lines)!
Take a bath! I haven’t lived in an apartment with a tub in a while, so know that I’ll be extremely jealous while you soak in bliss.
Invest in non-toxic, natural skin care. A little over a year ago I discovered Primally Pure and have been a loyal customer ever since. They carry the only aluminium-free deodorant that works for me – and I’ve tried a lot.
Make a homemade face scrub. Mix a body scrub and cleansing oil for some R&R for your face and use once or twice a week. I like to use this Sea Soak with lots of minerals and clays and this facial cleansing oil.
Stretching not only feels amazing, it’s also great for tension headaches, relaxing your mind and improving posture and flexibility. I like doing it after working out and right before bed because it helps me sleep deeper and better.
Be present with yoga. Great for deeper stretches and practicing being in the present moment by focusing on each movement. Yoga is one of the only things that help me quiet my mind. If your mind does wander, it always helps me bringing my attention back to my breathing.
4. Deep breathing exercises
Practice deep belly breaths. Most of us breathe into our chests instead of our bellies. Breathing into our stomach promotes a state of calm and deeper relaxation. Next time you’re commuting or watching TV, pay attention to your breath and redirect your breathing from chest to belly.
5. Grounding first aid kit
Create your own relaxation first aid kit filled with happy memories. It can be anything – your favorite tea, that lavender essential oil you love, the small heart-shaped rock you found at a beach in Portugal, a locket from your grandma, a face mask or an inspiring quote. This is your safe space.
Pick a dedicated time for reading. Whether that’s 20 minutes with breakfast or 15 pages before bed – you choose. Taking time to immerse yourself in a book can be a wonderful distraction and way to shut off our brain for a little while.
Journal at night. Many guides will advise you to journal in the morning, but I’ve never found that to work for me. Instead, journal right before bed and recap your day. Everything that bothered you or things you enjoyed – write it all out. This is a great way to “take the trash out” right before bed so you can fall asleep without tossing and turning since you got it all out of your system and on paper.
7. Update your home
Upgrading your home might be the most fun way to practice self-care, especially the not so obvious items. When was the last time you treated yourself to new plants, replaced pillows, towels or bed sheets? Can’t remember? Then it’s probably time for an update.
Though I live rather minimalistic, I love switching out items in my home (one out, one in) and my current obsessions are plants and bedding. Because I’ve been moving between countries so much, I haven’t invested in high quality bedding since it’s too bulky to move with.
I decided it was time for nicer, “grown-up” bedding and my research led me to ethical UK-based Bedfolk. I was intrigued by their simple designs and promise of high-quality from their northern Portugese mills and wanted to give them a try. Selling duvet covers, pillow cases, sheets, and bundles of all three in three different styles (relaxed, classic and luxe), I chose the relaxed range bundle* in the color snow – and boy was it an upgrade. The relaxed range is a more laid-back version to the usual crisp cotton style and features a modern and effortless crumpled look.
I slept amazing from my first night on and have been looking forward to going to bed.
You know how they say new workout clothes make you want to work out? Try that, just with new bedding. Even though they’re offering a 60-night sleep trial for all their bedding, I can’t imagine anyone actually taking them up on that.
*Bedfolk kindly gifted me one bedding bundle in exchange for coverage on this blog, all opinions expressed are my own
8. Invest in yourself
Take an online course. Learning and developing your skills are a great way to invest in yourself and is a much underrated form of self-care. Whether you want to learn about video editing or crocheting, there’s many resources like Skillshare, YouTube and Coursera on every possible topic.
Psst: My signature course Clear Your Way To Calm helps you simplify your life for more calm and grounded routines so you can stop chasing your tail.
Learn how to be happy. Yale university opened its doors to their most popular course for a limited time only about The Science of Well-Being. I’m in the middle of it and have been really enjoying being the student again.
9. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries is so important in keeping your sanity. Whether you communicate boundaries with your clients around available hours, go on a social cleanse and get rid of/mute people not making you feel great, or tell your mom you don’t want to answer questions about when she can expect her first grandchild for the 679th time. Setting boundaries is totally okay and necessary for your well-being, so make sure others know and respect them.
I hope these ideas are helpful to you and have sparked some inspiration in better understanding and learning how to slow down. Start incorporating them into your lives, relax and reset. Remember, even if you do experience periods of stress and overwhelm, don’t try and dismiss it. Let yourself be. Things will always work itself out one way or another, and if we can practice some great habits to take care of ourselves along the way – even better.
If you’re looking to go even deeper and commit to simplifying your life inside and out for more calm, grounded and slow routines, check out my course Clear Your Way To Calm!