A couple of weeks ago, I came across 7 Days of Slow Living over at Pick Up Limes. This week long set of exercises is designed to slow things down and allow ourselves to appreciate the present moment. Each day has a focus: senses, breathe, taste, immerse, little things, listen and self. For example, on the senses day, you should complete the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise: notice 5 things you can see; notice 4 things you can feel; notice 3 things you can hear; notice 2 things you can smell; notice 1 thing you can taste. Each daily exercise comes with its own set of questions to ask yourself at the end of the day, such as if you would incorporate anything into daily life.
I decided to make brief notes about each day, to see how the suggested slowing down ideas worked for me. I have to say on reflection that I found some of the exercises easier than others for different reasons, mostly to do with what else was going on that day and how I was feeling in general.
Some days were easy to fit into a working day schedule, for example the senses and breathing exercises. Some I had to remind myself to do (on the taste day, I had to make an effort to notice what I was eating for lunch at work, for example). Some exercises just didn’t fit the day or mood (I moved immerse which was about clearing space and clutter in the home to a Saturday, and then couldn’t be bothered). Little things was an exercise in gratitude that I might continue, and listen was interesting as I honestly hardly ever listen to music these days, just podcasts (oh and bird song). Day 7, self, I found quite easy to do, taking a moment for oneself: walking to work through the Botanic Gardens, Pilates class, picking up a book, talking to our cat. This for me is so important with the amount of work travel I am doing at the moment.
What I learned: I found some days easier than others, not just because some exercises were shorter, but also because some just didn’t fit my mood, or were difficult to do on a work day (which is a lesson in itself in why we need to slow down….). I had to swap days around to fit my schedule, yet found the self day very much in tune with my Saturdays. However, the breathing exercise I have already incorporated into my life, and have made more time to taste and take a moment to express gratitude.
My tips are:
- Pick the right week when you know you will have space to think about each activity. In a way this defeats the object of the exercise, but if you know you are not going to be at home, there is no point in doing the exercise, immerse, which is about the space in your home.
- You may have to swap days around to suit.
- It can be hard to do when your life is busy with the normal every day things…which of course is the point of the exercise.
Three things I learned:
- We don’t appreciate what we have around us.
- It is good to slow down, even for 5 minutes, each day.
- I don’t listen to music as often as I used to.
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