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The Importance of Slowing Down

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Chobani through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Chobani Flip Greek Yogurt, all opinions are my own.

One of my big goals this year has been to simplify and slow down. In this world of go-go-go, it’s easy to get so completely caught up in your day that you later realize it’s time for bed and you’ve hardly stopped to breathe.

The concept of slowing down and being more mindful is one that I work with a lot of my AnneTheRD clients on, so it makes sense that it’s something I have been making a priority for myself as well. I’ve written before about some of the things I’ve done towards being more present/mindful: how I’ve turned off notifications on my phone, how I now keep my phone outside my bedroom instead of on the nightstand, and how I’ve been working on doing LESS multitasking – uni-tasking, if you will. But one of the most important things that I do for myself is to add short, technology-free breaks in the day.

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We live in a culture where being busy, distracted, and juggling a thousand things at once is associated with being admirable, or as proof of success. If someone is sitting idly, we find ourselves thinking that they are lazy, or need more to do. It’s not even that we are always being productive, but that we have become so conditioned to not just sit still or focus on one thing at a time that it’s getting hard to remember how to do it. Irony: after writing this paragraph I had a strong urge to quickly glance at my email. I’m resisting!

I would argue that constant multitasking and screentime, whether it’s work or otherwise, has made us less productive and more stressed, in particular because it means we don’t take a real break when we need it. The clear sign that I need a quick break from work is when I find myself aimlessly looking around on the internet – at my email, at social media, etc. – feeling overwhelmed but not actually getting anything accomplished. I know that we’re all busy, and that it’s hard to make time for a break – but if you give yourself the quick break that you need instead of wasting time because your brain is fried, you will counter-intuitively end up being more productive in the long run.

In addition to making short technology breaks (especially walking breaks, now that the weather is better) a priority, I’ve also been making sure to take real, technology-free breaks when it’s time to eat. Last year, I found myself getting into the bad habit of eating in front of my computer, particularly at breakfast and afternoon snack time.

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Not only does taking a real break to eat help a lot with stress, but it’s also important for mindful eating, of which you know I am a big proponent. (See also: How to Eat Intuitively | A Guide to Mindful Eating.) Because how are you going to eat mindfully if you aren’t even paying attention? When I used to eat breakfast/snacks in front of my computer, I would suddenly realize I’d already eaten all of what was in front of me – and that I seriously didn’t remember eating it, much less what it tasted like. This meant that I a) found food less pleasurable, and b) sometimes ate less or more than I actually needed at that time because I was so checked out.

I tackled breakfast first, noting that I found days to be noticeably less stressful if I waited to check my email/work until after I had eaten breakfast. Turns out the world does not end if I get to my to do list 15 minutes later than usual. Who knew?

With breakfast more calm, the afternoon became my new focus, and I’ve gotten a lot better at forcing myself to take a minute to chill out when I have my afternoon snack. If I’m working downtown, I relocate myself to the lunch room, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, so I’m not tempted to look at my computer. At home, now that the weather is nice, I’ll usually sit out on our porch with my snack. As for what I’ve been eating, I’ve been enjoying snacking on Chobani Flip Greek Yogurt lately. Love the interesting flavor combinations, and that they are all a great mix of protein and healthy fat to keep me full! Also – three cheers for no preservatives, artificial ingredients, or artificial sweeteners.

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It’s amazing what a difference it makes to take a real break and actually savor what I’m eating. Not only do I enjoy the delicious yogurt more, but I come back feeling much more refreshed and calm.

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So, all of this to say – let’s focus on being a little more mindful and on slowing down, especially when food is involved. Who’s with me?

Comments

  1. 1

    Amen! I’ve been trying to do a lot of these things lately too. My nighttime routine is the most important. I’ve either been reading or resurrecting this giant book of sudoku someone got me ages ago that has sat untouched in my nightstand for years. I refuse to look at my phone once I’m in the bedroom to sleep (I should probably just leave it downstairs) and need to make more pointed breaks like that during the day!

  2. 3

    I haven’t tried the flips but I’m curious about them! They look yummy! And yes, I’m really working on slowing down! I had a day like that on Sunday and at first I felt so unproductive but I think it was just what I needed!

  3. 5

    I love this post. It’s so true as well – I HATE to believe that slowing down can be beneficial, but when I get super overwhelmed from working to hard at the blog, at work, and everything, I remind myself that a break is justified!!

    xx Jill

  4. 6

    I’m definitely trying to stop myself from multitasking – especially after I watched a couple TV shows while also reading/surfing on my tablet and realized I had missed 50% of what had happened in the episode. Focus is a good thing.

    I also agree about the busyness aspect. My boss is really big on “while you’re at work, you should be working every minute” which can get really stressful. Sometimes I just need to take a break and read a website or play a game of sudoku before I can get myself geared up to start my project again.

  5. 7

    Hi Anne! Oh man, I am totally guilty of eating in front of the computer. But I do agree that savoring your food and just thinking is way better. At least I know my hubby and I try to do dinner at the table a few nights a week when we can. As far as those Chobanis — I haven’t tried them, but love the combo, so I should. Happy Monday!

  6. 8

    I completely agree that constantly being on the go can actually decrease productivity. I love those chobani flips… my favorite is the peach and pistachio!

  7. 10

    Yes to all of this! I used to have my Gmail Tab open all the time and found myself constantly glancing at it to check for new emails. Now I keep it closed and only check once every few hours – I find I can crank through all my other “to-dos” so much faster, not being distracted by my ever filling inbox!

    xoxo

  8. 12

    The Chobani Almond Coco Loco Flip is AMAZING. The Key Lime Crumble is a close 2nd.

  9. 13

    I’ve tried several of the Chobani Flips and my favorite flavor is the Almond Coco Loco, however I do wish they would add less sugar to the yogurt in general, I would eat it more often if it had less added sugar. :)

    • 14

      I love that flavor, too! I agree I wouldn’t mind a little less sugar, although I don’t find the taste overly sweet like some other yogurts, either!

  10. 15
    Catherine Cormier says

    Funny timing – at lunch today with a few co-workers we were saying how nice it is to actually get away from our desks each day so we’ve decided to plan a daily walk to get some fresh air and clear our minds. We start tomorrow :)

  11. 17

    I’m with you! I have been practicing mindful eating and living for a while now and I offer workshops in my area (and I am working on a webinar!) because I really believe in this practice. Not only is weight loss a side effect when you pay attention to hunger and satiety cues, but the stigma associated with food can be removed by allowing all foods into our diets, but only as much as we need to feel physically satisfied. It certainly is a practice and I love seeing other RDs incorporating mindfulness into their practice.

  12. 19

    Good tips! I eat in front of my computer and i-pad way too much. I need more walking breaks – they always clear my mind and make me feel better.

  13. 20

    I have been so guilty lately of this. I had the entire day to myself yesterday but couldn’t get through a blog post because I was doing thirty billion other things on the internet. Every email that came in I would reply to. Then I’d start searching for plane tickets for my trip in August and before you knew it the clock said 9pm and I had one paragraph written for my blog. “Lucky” for me there was a thunderstorm and my dog gets a little freaked by them so I shut the computer down and curled up in my bed with him and we both rode out the storm together in a dark, quiet bedroom. It was almost like having a refreshing nap for myself since I had no technology with me.

    Now, more than ever we need tech-free time slots.

  14. 21

    I find that I’m more productive when I take breaks. Giving myself permission to get away from my computer and phone for 10 or 15 minutes allows me the time to get out of my head and not think too hard for awhile.

  15. 22
    Roadrunner says

    Wonderful concepts/thinking…

  16. 23

    I agree, especially about the mornings. I find myself stressed before I even get out of bed if I’m reading annoying work emails on my phone- better to wait a few mins and enjoy your morning time to start your day on a good note.
    That being said, I really miss walking to work in the morning- now that I’ve moved that isn’t practical but it’s a great way to start your day and I miss it!
    I’m also lucky that on some days part of my job involves being in a room with no cell service and no computers, and on my feet. It’s a guaranteed tech break, all while working! :)
    I’m also a huge proponent of staying away from your email while you’re writing- when I was writing my dissertation I would turn off my wifi on my laptop and hide my phone for 1-2 hr sessions of writing, take notes on anything I needed to internet research later, and then give myself 15 mins of internet time and stretching legs when it was over. I found this was a much more productive way for me to write than doing half a sentence, going to look something up, ending up clicking away to some distraction and then an hour has passed and you’ve still got only that half sentence finished!

  17. 24

    Anne, I reply appreciate how you keep meaningful content in your sponsored posts!! Too many blogs end up feeling like an advertisement when the posts are sponsored but your’s does not! Great post and important reminders for everyone!

  18. 26

    Love this post and think that it is so important! We have a walking trail at work and some nice sitting areas outside so I am trying to be more intentional about setting some time to take a break from a long work day and enjoy the weather outside. When I do this even for 10 minutes, I am so more much productive and focused for the rest of my day!

Trackbacks

  1. […] friends! Thank you for the great comments on my “The Importance of Slowing Down” post from yesterday! I’m happy to report that I am writing this post with all my various email […]

  2. […] It’s been awhile since I shared a packed lunch here on the blog, huh? I only work downtown a couple days a week, so I usually use it as an opportunity to meet up with friends that work in the city for lunch. I have a coffee date this afternoon with a dietitian friend, though, so I knew I’d need lunchtime to get caught up on work. Hence, the packed lunch! (Although I still took 15 minutes to eat lunch away from my computer – so important!) […]

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