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10 Tips to Slow Down and Encourage Deep Rest

It’s 7am and my alarm goes off. I hit the snooze button and start thinking about all the things I need to do for the day. My mind is racing and I anticipate when the 9 minutes of my snooze time is up. My phone sounds again and with a little sigh I pick it up and hit stop. I open Instagram to see what happened in the world whilst I was in slumber land.

I procrastinate getting out of bed as I dive deeper into a scroll hole. Eventually I talk myself into starting my morning routine. That picturesque list of things I “need” to do to achieve all the amazing goals I set out fI finally get out of bed, still feeling a little tired and start my day. My head subconsciously filled with all the information I consumed from my phone.

In my ideal world, I start my day in a slightly different way. I wake up at a time that feels natural. I take my time to make something nice to drink, and spend a couple of minutes journalling on what I'd like my day to look like. I get out of bed feeling calm and refreshed, ready to start my day.

Recently I've shifted to my ideal world scenario. It’s made a difference to how my day flows, and how I react to what life throws my way. Admittedly it’s a small change and it’s not perfect, but I've noticed, as a result, I'm consciously choosing to slow down throughout my day.

Whether this small change is for you or not, the idea is take some time to slow down and check in at some point in your day. This could be what helps you get through your day with some flow and ease.

Allowing yourself to peacefully enter or exit your day is a great way to allow for this.

Here are a few tips that have worked for me. Hopefully some of them might help you to slow down and encourage deep rest.

10 tips to Slow Down and Encourage Deep Rest

We all lead busy lives, myself included, but recently I've made a point not to glorify the busyness. I have used the tools that I've learned from yoga to help me find what works for me.

Yoga has helped me to approach things from a calm space and take time to absorb before I respond. I'll share the small things that I’ve done to allow myself to slow down and reset.

1. Block out time in my calendar

I'm naturally anxious and this has been a calming source for my anxiety. As a yoga teacher I often find myself working on many projects simultaneously. Having a blocked out time in my calendar that allows me to focus on one thing at a time has been life changing.

You might be wondering how this relates to yoga. I learned this skill through my mindfulness practice. I realised that when I focused my attention on one task at a time it allowed me to complete the task with more precision and efficiency. This means that I get to use my time efficiently and I feel less anxious about my long to do list.

At the beginning of each year I write out the headings of specific projects that I will work on for the year. I then add a big to do list under each project. As yoga teachers we want to say yes to everything. Having these clear project headings has helped me to work on things that are close to my heart and turn down anything that doesn’t fall within a project.

Once I have my big to do list, I break these down into quarterly lists/goals. At the beginning of each quarter I use this list to plan out each month, week, and day. So I am only working on 3 months at a time and this helps me feel less overwhelmed and focus of the process for each goal in detail.

This process takes a bit of time to set up but once it’s done I feel in control and very clear on what I need to do each day, week and month. It’s also very satisfying and I am able to get through my to do list without feeling overwhelemed.

2. Midday Yoga Nidra

One of the sections I have in my calendar is called self-care. I block time out for this to remind myself, as it’s easy to get stuck into something and forget to look after yourself. Even as I type this my reminder is popping up to do my midday yoga nidra and I keep snoozing it as I am in a flow at the moment. Haha!

The reminder is great though, as I know that even if I don’t do it now, before lunch, I will do it after lunch. I've found that 20 minutes of yoga nidra between the AM and PM block helps me to reset and shift to a new project for the afternoon.

I don’t know about you, but I usually hit a little energy slump after lunch and find that I need to drag myself through the rest of the afternoon. Yoga nidra helps me to refocus my energy and gives me the boost I need for the rest of my day.

Here is one that you can try out:

3. Slow morning routine

One of the luxuries of being self-employed is you get to choose how your day is set up. For a while I found myself feeling drained after long days of teaching and doing a variety of tasks. Then it hit me, I'm the only one in control of my schedule and I get to choose how I want to utilise my energy. It seems so obvious now but at the time it was a revelation.

Slowing down my morning routine has helped me to set the pace for my day. I spend about 10 – 15 minutes of my morning journaling whilst I sip on some hot lemon water. I use a very simple journaling process that I learned from a Jenna Kutcher podcast.

She suggests writing down '10 tiny delights' and '3 things you want to achieve' that day. Simple but effective and it doesn’t take a lot of thought.

Admittedly it can be challenging to think about 10 things that are making you happy on some days, but it’s a great practice to set your mind on a positive train of thought first thing in the morning.

4. Get fresh air

I teach most of my classes in the evening, so some days I found myself rolling out of bed, working from home all day, and I wouldn't leave the house until I needed to leave to teach. This became a bit of a bad habit. I noticed that this gradually started to affect my mental wellbeing as I wasn't taking any time to check in with myself.

Now I try to get out for a 20 minute walk in the morning after journaling. If it doesn’t happen in the morning, I try to do this after lunch.

Some studies have show that being outdoors can reduce your levels of stress and anxiety. The fresh air helps to raise oxygen levels in your brain, which increases serotonin levels.

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for altering your mood, so getting outside is a simple way to improve your mood.

5. Listen to my intuition

One of the skills that I learned from yoga and I'm most grateful for is the ability to listen tomy inner voice that knows what's best for me, even when it.

Sometimes I feel like my body and mind need to rest and the old me would have pushed through this and kept going. In recent years I've been listening to my intuition more and taking the time to rest when I need to. This has been one of the most difficult mindsets to shift, but I've found that having the calendar blocks has helped with this.

On the days when I feel this way I shift my projects into other days and clear my calendar. It’s a great way to give myself permission to rest without feeling guilty about it. I know the work will get done later and I feel empowered for putting myself first. It’s a win win!

6. Focus on nutrition

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love my food and I'm not the same person if I'm hungry. One thing that I never compromise on is ensuring that I get the right amount of nutrition every day. I eat a Vegan diet so it’s more important now that I ensure I'm eating colorful plates of food that are high in nutrients.

This is another empowering tool for me, as it feels good to eat well and eat what I consider to be healthy for me. That’s not to say I don’t indulge in sweet treats at times. I have a weakness for the Marks and Spenser’s Plant Kitchen double chocolate chip cookies and the vegan berry croissant from Ole and Steen.

Another focus when it comes to food is slowing down my eating. I try to pay attention to all the textures and flavours and savour every bite. This does take conscious effort but it also helps me to enjoy my meals even more and slow down my eating.

7. Evening yoga

I've found that doing Yin, Bed or Restorative yoga before bed has helped me get a restful night sleep. All these schools of yoga help you to shift into your parasympathetic nervous system response, that's responsible for your body resting and digesting.

I generally do around 30 minutes, so maybe 2 or 3 poses and find it so much easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is particularly helpful if I've had a busy day or feeling a little anxious before bed.

Here is one that you can try, I hope it helps.

8. Find other ways to move my body

Finding other ways to move your body is a great way to get lost in flow and focus your attention on a single task. It can become like a moving meditation. Particularly if you move in a way that you are not used to which will require a bit more of your attention.

Recently I tried running after about 15 years of not doing it. I surprised myself and was able to go for about 3 km before I needed to stop. Yoga has helped me to increase my endurance, and for me personally, this is more due to breath-work than anything else.

I don’t practice dynamic yoga anymore, but I do walk, living in London this is the norm, and do pranayama (breath-work) at least once a day.

When I'm stressed I can feel the tension building in my body and sometimes I want to move in a different way, so I might put on my favorite music and have a solo dance party at home, this always helps to relieve tension.

9. Get organised

Getting organised in your home and work life is such a great way to take control of your day or week. For me this looks like, having a to do list, my online calendar, knowing what I'm going to eat for the day and having a clear space around me.

Whatever getting organised means to you, carve out some time in your week to get things sorted and I promise it will make all the difference.

I always find if my space is messy then everything else feels a bit chaotic and it can be counterproductive. Sometimes spending a few minutes tidying up your space can make a difference to your mindset. Although I do occasionally get carried away and end up tidying my cupboards and clearing out drawers. I find this happens when I'm avoiding a task. Haha!

This brings me to my final point.

10. Declutter

I used to work in the fashion industry so I accumulated a lot of clothing and accessories over the years. About 6 years ago I found myself feeling overwhelmed and anxious with all the stuff I had. Since then I have made a point of decluttering. I find myself getting rid of clothes and possession that I don’t use or want anymore. Every time I purge a bag of clothing or clear a drawer out I feel lighter and at ease.

I’ve sold items on Vinted, which has been helpful but can also take time and effort. If you’re going this route, make sure the items you’re selling are worthwhile. The rest of the items I donate to charity, friends and family, or up-cycle.

It’s my goal to have a less stuff and I’m slowly working my way towards a more minimal wardrobe. The goal is to make getting ready an easy task, with less choices and a closet filled with items that are sustainable and useful. It’s a work in progress.

Living slower doesn’t mean that you're lazy, it just means that you're taking the time to soak up life and focus on what matters to you.

I hope you found something here that will help you to slow down and find time for rest. Let me know in the comment if any of these points resonated with you or how will you choose to slow down today?

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott.

Love and Light




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