What is time really? For millions of years we existed in what was essentially a ‘timeless’ zone. Animals live their day to day lives not by clock watching and scheduling, but by their own timings. They eat when they're hungry, sleep when they're tired, hibernate when they’re cold. So why as humans have we resigned ourselves to such a restricting concept of time? Who decided that ‘work time’ should be 9-5, that ‘lunch time’ is at 12 o’clock, and that ‘tea time’ should be three hours before ‘bed time’ which incidentally must last eight hours before waking up for ‘breakfast time’. Our lives are on pre set 24 hour loops with no room for movement or adaptation. Where we used to measure time in long periods such as moon cycles, or by the height of the sun, nowadays we are so fast paced and stressed out that some of us plan each day out minute by minute. We are constantly in a rush, glued to screens, neglecting our wellbeing, running from one place to the next. And in all this pre-orchestrated chaos, when do we ever actually stop and schedule ‘me time’?
What baffles me the most is we are constantly looking for ways to save time; we are a society obsessed with speed. We want fast fashion, fast food, fast internet connection... but really these 'fast' things aren't saving us any time, but just providing us with more things to cram into our already hectic lives.
The problem? Our bodies and minds are not coping with the lifestyle that we have created for ourselves. This progression from cave men to technology dependent millennials, despite being an amazing evolutionary path, is not without its flaws, as more people than ever before are having to take time out due to depression, anxiety, stress or feeling over worked. It's rare to actually meet someone nowadays who has never suffered with one of the above, and you can argue that the pace and nature of our lifestyles is not the cause of the rise in people seeking help for mental health, but you can't argue with the fact that taking some time out to enjoy life at a slower pace is certainly a beneficial way to improve mental wellbeing. And a few weeks ago I did just that. Me and my mum went on a girls trip to Mallorca, and during our trip, spent a day in pure relaxation at the Holistic Son Brull Hotel and Spa. Starting the day with a yoga and stretch class before enjoying a healthy gluten free salad for lunch and an afternoon of complete relaxation and full body massage.
Obviously, as gorgeous and relaxing as this break was (I HIGHLY recommend a visit if you're ever in Majorca), it's not always possible to just take time off work and get away. Therefore I have compiled a little list of more manageable ways to help slow down the pace of modern life...
001. Unplug - Coming from someone who is constantly glued to my phone this is probably the post hypocritical point that I'm going to make in this blog post. As a blogger I am constantly replying to emails, uploading to instagram, tweeting etc... however, I ALWAYS have time in my day when I put my phone down and allow myself to step back from technology. Usually in the form of a nightly relax in the bath, or a lovely long swim at the gym. We are all different, for you this might mean enjoying dinner with your partner with no phones allowed, it might be reading a book before bed, it might be going on a walk or listening to music. Find what it is that makes you relax away from a screen and dedicate some time to it every day.
002. Remind yourself how to 'single task' - We are so used to juggling so many commitments that multitasking becomes somewhat second nature to us. Every now and again be aware of this and allow your mind to focus on one singular task. This could be something at work, it could be cooking dinner at night, what ever it may be allow your mind to remain clear of everything else on your to do list and dedicate that time solely to completing that one task to the best of your ability, instead of trying to tick off five things at once. Taking more time and consideration over these tasks will teach your mind to slow it's pace down, and surprisingly you may find that you actually become more efficient and avoid silly mistakes whilst doing so!
003. Learn to be in the moment - hand on heart how often are you actually fully present? If you're anything like me then your brain is constantly in overdrive, either thinking over past situations or worrying about future outcomes. Going over your to do list, trying to mentally tick off tasks in your head. It is extremely hard to focus on nothing but the moment you are currently in, and it takes a lot of skill and practice to master. With the help of iPhone app 'calm', meditation and mindfulness are two things I have been working on and for ten minutes or so every day* (*or the days when I actually remember), I try to think about nothing else but the present. It's definitely not a skill I'd pride myself on just yet, but hopefully with practice this ability will become stronger.