3 Simple Ways to Slow Down During the Day

09/21/2016 09:54 pm ET

Life is busy. There’s no getting around it. Everyone has different responsibilities, people in their life to care for, jobs to do, and sometimes second or third jobs. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness and rush of every day.

That fast pace can cause alot of stress and can leave you feeling helpless, maybe even hopeless. But there are ways to breathe a little peace into your day and slow it down a bit.

Create a schedule.

In the morning, or even the night before, write out a list of all the things you need to do that day. (Don’t panic when the list is three pages long! You can do this.) Begin by prioritizing the list; is there anything that absolutely cannot wait until tomorrow? That goes to the top of the list. Move the things that can wait to the middle or bottom of the list. It doesn’t mean you won’t get to those items, but if things get crazy during the day, your world won’t collapse because you didn’t accomplish them.

Now begin scheduling specific times to do each item on the list. This will look a little different for everyone, depending on your life situation. Finding what works best for you might require a little trial and error. Give it time, adjust what didn’t work today in tomorrow’s schedule. Be flexible.

Once you have your schedule on paper (or on computer, phone, etc.), try to focus on one thing at a time. You don’t need to be thinking about that 5:00 pm task when it’s only 10:00 am. Allow yourself to be present with each task and move from one thing to another.

Take a break and stretch.

This might sound a little silly at first, but it’s the quickest way to relieve stress in the moment. This doesn’t have to be a big olympic warm up stretch routine. Just take five minutes. Step away from your desk, if you can. Or move to another room for a moment. You can also just do this right where you are.

Stretch through the arms and legs. Reach up high, like a sleepy morning stretch. Roll through the neck and shoulders. You’d be amazed at how much tension you didn’t even know you held there. If you’ve been sitting at a desk, peel your shoulders back and stand up tall, paying special attention to your posture. Stretching will help you relax and focus as you move through your schedule.


It’s awesome to incorporate this into your stretching, but if you don’t have time for anything else, just breathe deep. Take five slow, conscious breathes. Inhale as deeply as you can, into the belly. Exhale just as long. Close your eyes and listen.

Connecting to your breath is a game changer. You can do this during your commute, while you’re sitting at your desk, or while you’re waiting in line (maybe don’t close your eyes if your driving, you can skip that part). It truly helps calm the nervous system and slows your heart rate. If you need a quick fix to slow down or de-stress, just breathe.

It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of busyness but it’s important to slow it down sometimes. Sneaking in these moments to prepare, stretch and breathe will help you to stay present, slow down and stay in control of your day.

To read more articles like this, check out Courageous Writing.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.