On a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest, I discovered the real definition of what it means to slow life down. There were fewer deadlines, less overall hustle and bustle, and an emphasis on enjoying what the day gave you.
Even in the rain, there were people strolling to the beach with their dogs. Kids were building sandcastles. Life for them seemed like a vacation.
And that’s when I realized that some simple routine changes in my life could create a “personal Island Time” of my own. Here’s what I decided to do.
#1. Consciously choose to step outside of the material world.
Money does buy happiness. For a short period of time, anyway. Maybe being wealthy can increase that amount of time. At the end of the day, however, it is our relationships and experiences that provide true happiness.
So focus on what really matters to you. Make time for the people you care about every day. Have dinner with your family with the TV off. Go shopping together. Take a walk together. Find your own beach and enjoy it, whether it’s raining or sunny, and make time to build sandcastles.
#2. Take personal control of inner being.
Finding time to make meditation a habit will also be extremely beneficial. When you’re in control of yourself, then it feels like you can be in more control of the world around you.
With that control, it becomes easier to set meaningful priorities. Watching a sunset until it’s over feels a lot better than rushing from personal deadline to deadline. Time will always want to have control over you. Be willing to explore a different approach.
Just 10 minutes of meditation per day can make a real difference. My personal preference is for 20-30 minutes each day, but even 5 minutes is better than nothing.
#3. Decide to keep it going.
If you’re anything like me, then you’re willing to let Island Time be available on weekends, holidays, and vacations right now. Once you experience a better routine, you must make a conscious decision to keep it going.
There may be some rebellion experienced when you slow life down, especially if everyone around you is operating at a hectic pace. They may want you to speed up because it is more convenient for them.
Sometimes you must do what is best for you and your family. Just don’t compromise away the benefits of a better life because you’re trying to please others. Sometimes you have to be Priority #1.
#4. Do something kind for a random stranger every day.
Kindness is something that makes a lasting impact on you, the individual(s) involved, and the people who happen to see an act of kindness performed. It gives us all hope for humanity.
So I’ve decided to incorporate at least one random act of kindness every day into my daily routine. It can be something small, like picking up trash in the park. It might also mean serving at the local soup kitchen on a Saturday. Or volunteering at the local food bank. Or spending an afternoon at the nursing home, talking to people who may have not had a visitor in years.
Be kind every day. Do it in your own way. And life will seem much better because of it.
When life feels like it is out of control, it’s usually because you’re staring at your own reflection. Take back control with these simple routines that make life better. In doing so, you’ll be able to find your own Island Time.
How do you slow life down when it seems to get too busy? I’d love to hear more about your own routines and how you discovered they could be so helpful.