Welcome to the middle path
- Jana Svoboda, LCSW
- Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.
Friday, January 25, 2013
January 25th Challenge: Slow the heck down
Don't you ALWAYS?
Crazy busy is a cultural theme-song, and it's time to change our tune. The average American now works more hours than almost any other industrialized nation. In 1965 a senate subcommittee predicted that thanks to labor saving devices, the work week would be reduced to 20 hours. Instead, between 1973 and 1991, it went UP-- by over 160 hours per year. Meanwhile the percentage of two-working-parent households also increased, from 20 to over 70%, meaning the actual out of home labor per household was up several hundred hours per year. Read more here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-03/americans-work-too-much-for-their-own-good-de-graaf-and-batker.html
There are some things we Americans are doing less, a lot less than we used to: attend community events, faith gatherings, take vacations. In 2011, the average US worker abandoned over 6 days earned vacation time per year. In 2012 it was estimated to be over 9 days.
Being overscheduled can lead to doing many things poorly. We may not have a lot of choices about how much we work. As jobs are outsourced to other countries or technology or budget cuts, those left working have increased roles and responsibilities.
But we can still rebel against an ethos that tells us faster is always better. If nothing else, we can notice when we are hurrying out of habit instead of need, and Just. Slow. Down.
We can do this by taking time to chew and swallow our food before we load the fork up with the next bite. Don't think you do this? Test it out today.
We can spend our time stuck in lines or traffic relaxing our posture and breath, instead of obsessing about our hurry. Either way, the line moves the same speed.
We can notice if we are moving or talking rapidly for no particular reason and intentionally decrease our pace to a more peaceful place. If we are rushing through a meaningful moment with a friend, child, sweetheart or ourselves, we can notice. And Just. Slow. Down.
We can thoughtfully consider our priorities and make decisions on whether those extra hours at work are a necessity or a lifestyle choice. And then we can look at our lifestyle and see if it is in resonance with our priorities and values. Sometimes it is truly easier to do without the things that money can buy than rob our lives to get them.
Where are you moving too fast in your life? Where is your choice in that pace? And is it really the only choice?
How can you slow down in a meaningful way today?
Some wonderful related resources:
Slow Food movement: returning values and pleasure to eating
Take Back Your Time movement
Slowing Down to the Speed of Life, a book by Richard Carlson
The Power of Patience, a book by M.J. Ryan