Slowing Down and Self-Care

In a rushed and chaotic world, self-care for me often is all about slowing down and getting back to the basics. Even with all of the technological advancements that are supposed to make our lives easier and faster, people are busier and more stressed than ever. Politics, media, and employment culture are to blame for a lot of it. However, we as individuals can take steps in our every-day lives to help remedy this situation. Even our hobbies are often more stimulating and less relaxing these days — for example, playing video games, watching graphic/over-stimulating/violent movies and television shows, or browsing the internet rather than more traditional pastimes such as reading, writing, communing with nature, or even watching older films/documentaries. I notice in myself a major shortening of my attention span and loss of memory capabilities, which alarms me. I have to wonder if entertainment today is specifically meant to help us forget about our problems, avoid introspection, and numb us, if just for a short time.

The remedy for this situation is to use free time more wisely in order to foster a sense of calm and rejuvenation, instead of hyperactivity and speed. Activities such as taking walks, reading uplifting or educational material, and playing a board game are all fun, healthful, and allow one to fully participate. This is in contrast to watching an action film or playing a video game, which are both fun, but also raise blood pressure and heart rate and relegate one to the position of spectator instead of participant. Of course, playing board games or taking a walk are also better for our social and physical health, respectively, which are important parts of a holistic self-care regimen.

For me, this blog is part of my self-care. I allow myself the time to carefully put into words what I’m feeling and thinking. I’m in a quiet environment and I’m able to focus inwardly, pushing the outside world away if only for a little while. I don’t rush myself and many times come back to edit a post several times before publishing it. This gives me time to ensure I include all my thoughts on a topic and communicate them effectively. Doing so helps make more sense of my often-jumbled thoughts and also invites others to perhaps be introduced to a new perspective or to realize they are not alone in how they feel. After blogging, I feel calm, confident, relieved, capable, and accomplished. I plan to incorporate a nightly walk around my neighborhood into my self-care routine. More on this later.

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