For introverts, slow-paced living is a key to a happy and contented life.
For a long time, I believed that if I wasn’t busy all the time, then I wasn’t successful or secure. Sometimes I still believe that. However, everything I have learned from developing my wellbeing practice has shown me that the opposite is in fact true — slow-paced living is what makes for a happy and contented life.
Slowing down is crucial for us introverts because we can become quickly overwhelmed and burned out by day-to-day interactions — open plan offices, public transport, work meetings, and socializing eat into our energy stores. Slowing things down, giving ourselves time to think, process, and recharge will allow us to make lifestyle choices that are introvert friendly, and ultimately live a happier, healthier life.
So, here are six ideas to help you slow down your busy life and enjoy it more.
How to Slow Down and Enjoy Life More
1. Make time every day to just be.
Do you find that the more things on your to-do list, the faster time goes? Do you try to be organized and schedule downtime, only to later ignore it? Once the stress kicks in, do you disappear into social media oblivion? Me, too!
So, my first tip is to take time out. The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 mindfulness exercise is a great way to create your own bubble of calm even in the midst of a busy day. Simply take a moment to notice the following:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can hear
- 3 things you can feel
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
- Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I am calm”
When I start to feel overwhelmed, I take my dogs for a walk or I lie on the floor with them, and we talk to each other in blinks and sniffs (am I the only one who does this?). I sit with a cup of coffee and drink the whole cup! And then, I go back to whatever it was I was telling myself was so important… or I don’t.
2. Keep your creative stuff handy.
We are all creative. All of us. Doing some kind of creative activity is nourishing, especially when we’re feeling time poor. It doesn’t matter whether what you produce is “good,” it only matters that you take the time.
I have my “making things desk” set out in an old bureau in my living room with all my paints waiting so I can grab five minutes to splash color about or glue paper to things anytime I want. I’ve found that if I have to haul everything out and tidy it away every time, I don’t do it often. It can just be a coloring book and some pens, but make it easy, and you’ll be much more likely to grab a little introvert time.
I also write. I absolutely love to write, but for some reason, I care more that my writing is good (I’m trying to care less), so I use painting to get me tuned in to a slower pace. Then I go play with my writing.
Reading… I’m creating in my imagination, so it still counts? Right? My absolute favorite slow-paced indulgence is to spend a whole day on the sofa (preferably in pajamas) with the fire on, a great book, and endless cups of herbal tea. “Candy books” are my favorite for this practice. Books where you know it’s all going to end well; everybody is lovely except that one person you know you are meant to hate, and there is a bit of conflict to keep you reading. Anything by Nora Roberts is a big yes from me.
I also love books that challenge me and make me wish I’d written them; Annie Proulx’s writing is beautiful, and The Shipping News is one of my favorite books. Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing is another binge-worth beauty, with writing so gorgeous you can almost taste it. If non-fiction is more your thing, then I highly recommend Jane Alexander’s Spirit of the Home. Jane really understands the introvert’s need for slow-paced living and the sanctuary of our homes.
3. Combine one of your favorite slow-paced activities with one of your favorite people.
As a “card carrying” introvert, I’m the world’s worst when it comes to making plans with other people — I often end up canceling to stay home! I love people, I honestly do, but I find the typical ways of socializing to be overwhelming and exhausting. So, I take time to see my friends and family one on one or in small groups. Even better, if socializing can include sweatpants and Netflix, then these are my kind of people! Try planning a “lounge night” with one (or some) of your favorite people. That way, you can still get in your “people time” (even we introverts need meaningful relationships) without the overstimulation of a loud restaurant or a big party.
4. Buy a slow cooker.
I have a confession. I love to cook, but I work late most evenings, so I rarely have time. One of my best purchases has been a slow cooker. Most meals are so quick and easy to cook from scratch, and your delicious, nutritious meal is hot and ready when you get home from work. My absolute favorite meal is Deliciously Ella’s Black Bean Chilli; not strictly speaking a slow cooker recipe, but I throw all the ingredients in the pot in the morning, leave it on low, and it’s perfectly cooked when I finish work. Or, for your “lounge night,” why not try some deliciously indulgent Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate? Heaven in a cup!
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5. Try slow, gentle exercise.
Slow-paced exercise is a wonderful fit for the introvert life. For example, yin yoga is soooo slow you could take a nap during a posture — bliss, bliss, bliss! There are lots of apps available if you don’t want to attend a yoga class; Daily Yoga is great and Gaia Yoga has something for everyone. If you do want to venture out, I’ve always found the energy of a slow-paced yoga class to be very suited to the introvert pace. Walking is also wonderful and an opportunity to meet other people, for short, introvert-friendly chats. Beach walks and sea glass hunts are other favorite activities of mine.
6. Develop a morning and evening routine.
Having both a morning and evening routine will make a big difference in your day. Allowing time in the morning carries that relaxed mood into the rest of the day, and slowing down in the evening will help you sleep better. Here’s what I do:
- My morning routine starts early with many kisses from Daisy, my pug. I like to get up at least three hours before my first client so I can drink coffee, have breakfast, write my morning pages, meditate, read, walk the dogs, and have a good think about the day ahead.
- My evening routine can differ depending on what’s happened throughout the day, but on an ideal evening, I take the dogs on a walk, have a bath, read, do some yin yoga, take time to be grateful, drink some herbal tea, and go to bed early.
Create a routine that works for you. A good routine will make you feel happier and more relaxed, not stressed or guilty that you haven’t followed one of the steps. (Here are some tips to help you create an effective morning routine, even if you hate waking up early.)
Dear introvert, take the time to smell the coffee (or the dogs), make something, read something, relish the occasional TV binge, have a stash of great pajamas, create effective routines, and most importantly, clear out space in your life to do nothing — absolutely nothing — those lying on the carpet, blinking at the dogs, knowing there’s nothing else you have to do and nowhere else you need to be moments just might be your happiest.
You might like:
- 6 Things My Therapist Taught Me to Stop Bottling Up My Emotions
- Why a Clutter-Free Environment Is Important for Introverts
- How Meditation Helps Me Thrive as an Introvert
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