The Importance of Slowing Down

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Chobani through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Chobani Flip Greek Yogurt, all opinions are my own.

One of my big goals this year has been to simplify and slow down. In this world of go-go-go, it’s easy to get so completely caught up in your day that you later realize it’s time for bed and you’ve hardly stopped to breathe.

The concept of slowing down and being more mindful is one that I work with a lot of my AnneTheRD clients on, so it makes sense that it’s something I have been making a priority for myself as well. I’ve written before about some of the things I’ve done towards being more present/mindful: how I’ve turned off notifications on my phone, how I now keep my phone outside my bedroom instead of on the nightstand, and how I’ve been working on doing LESS multitasking – uni-tasking, if you will. But one of the most important things that I do for myself is to add short, technology-free breaks in the day.

We live in a culture where being busy, distracted, and juggling a thousand things at once is associated with being admirable, or as proof of success. If someone is sitting idly, we find ourselves thinking that they are lazy, or need more to do. It’s not even that we are always being productive, but that we have become so conditioned to not just sit still or focus on one thing at a time that it’s getting hard to remember how to do it. Irony: after writing this paragraph I had a strong urge to quickly glance at my email. I’m resisting!

I would argue that constant multitasking and screentime, whether it’s work or otherwise, has made us less productive and more stressed, in particular because it means we don’t take a real break when we need it. The clear sign that I need a quick break from work is when I find myself aimlessly looking around on the internet – at my email, at social media, etc. – feeling overwhelmed but not actually getting anything accomplished. I know that we’re all busy, and that it’s hard to make time for a break – but if you give yourself the quick break that you need instead of wasting time because your brain is fried, you will counter-intuitively end up being more productive in the long run.

In addition to making short technology breaks (especially walking breaks, now that the weather is better) a priority, I’ve also been making sure to take real, technology-free breaks when it’s time to eat. Last year, I found myself getting into the bad habit of eating in front of my computer, particularly at breakfast and afternoon snack time.

Not only does taking a real break to eat help a lot with stress, but it’s also important for mindful eating, of which you know I am a big proponent. (See also: How to Eat Intuitively | A Guide to Mindful Eating.) Because how are you going to eat mindfully if you aren’t even paying attention? When I used to eat breakfast/snacks in front of my computer, I would suddenly realize I’d already eaten all of what was in front of me – and that I seriously didn’t remember eating it, much less what it tasted like. This meant that I a) found food less pleasurable, and b) sometimes ate less or more than I actually needed at that time because I was so checked out.

I tackled breakfast first, noting that I found days to be noticeably less stressful if I waited to check my email/work until after I had eaten breakfast. Turns out the world does not end if I get to my to do list 15 minutes later than usual. Who knew?

With breakfast more calm, the afternoon became my new focus, and I’ve gotten a lot better at forcing myself to take a minute to chill out when I have my afternoon snack. If I’m working downtown, I relocate myself to the lunch room, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, so I’m not tempted to look at my computer. At home, now that the weather is nice, I’ll usually sit out on our porch with my snack. As for what I’ve been eating, I’ve been enjoying snacking on Chobani Flip Greek Yogurt lately. Love the interesting flavor combinations, and that they are all a great mix of protein and healthy fat to keep me full! Also – three cheers for no preservatives, artificial ingredients, or artificial sweeteners.

It’s amazing what a difference it makes to take a real break and actually savor what I’m eating. Not only do I enjoy the delicious yogurt more, but I come back feeling much more refreshed and calm.

So, all of this to say – let’s focus on being a little more mindful and on slowing down, especially when food is involved. Who’s with me?

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