Slow Down

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Hello!

My meeting with the director of the Harbourside Organic Farmer’s Market went well! I was pretty anxious about the meeting beforehand, like I always am before meetings. When will I learn that things are not as scary as I imagine them to be?

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Susan got a box of Glo Bars to sample and take to the board members.

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She also got a sample of my up and coming Gluten-free and Raw Glo Bar.

The market sounds perfect for my Glo Bars. It is a smaller market, but it features organic vendors. It sounds like there is going to be a wonderful mix of farmer’s and bakeries too! I am told it is the type of market where you really get to know your customers and develop great relationships with them. Often the farmer’s know their customers by name too!

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I have a lot to do now! My next step is to fill out the vendor application and submit all of the required documents. If the board approves me, I have to purchase a 10’x10’ canopy tent, a 6’ table, design marketing materials/signs, and HIRE some help! We also have to figure out the logistics of how to get the table, tent, and boxes of bars to the market each week (will they fit in our compact cars?) all before June 19th!

Breathe, Ange, breathe! ;)

A perfect lead in for my next hot topic…

Slow Down

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First a couple questions for you…

  • How many times a day are you doing several things at once?
  • How many times a day are you just focusing on ONE task?
  • How many times do you try to do things as fast as possible and when you finally stop you notice that you are on edge or holding your breath?

[My answers: All the time, rarely, all the time.]

This week I came across a great article on the Huffington Post called 10 Ways To Bring Meaning Into Your Life by Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. The article talks about the importance of slowing down in our lives. Many of us live each day at mach speed as if we are racing against the clock. Don’t get me wrong, getting things accomplished and crossed off the To-Do list is a great feeling, but do we always have to go about it at such a frantic pace?

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Goldstein’s article was a breath of fresh air for me. Since I have been back from vacation, I have been playing the catch up game.

Any time that I feel that I am behind in my work, I automatically feel a sense of internal urgency.

I work as fast as I can to catch up and this often leaves me feeling stressed and tense, both of which we know are not good for productivity and creativity.

I loved the tips in this article and I decided that I would start today and try out a couple! Today I tried the following:

1. Slow Down

Goldstein says,For five minutes: Whatever you are doing, just do it slightly slower. At work, we are all given tasks to do. One time per day, for five minutes, do that task a little bit slower. Do not do the task in slow motion, or take breaks from the task, simply do it a little bit slower.”

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Simple yet genius, right?

I Tried It:

I decided to try this for five minutes as I was doing my shipping and customs paper work this morning.

For US shipping I have a lot of paperwork and electronic files to submit before I can even print the shipping label. I need to do a FDA Prior Notice, a commercial invoice, a business invoice, and a shipping label all for just one US parcel. My current system right now is quite frantic- I am going at mach speed, filling out different forms all at once. It is not a pretty sight at times.

Today, I decided to take 5 minutes and ‘slow down’. Instead of filling out multiple forms at once, I would tackle one at a time and finish it before moving onto the next form.

VERDICT: This worked great! I felt calm, collected, in control, and I didn’t dread the task as much as I usually do. I even put some music on in the background to make the task more pleasant. I found that it went much better and I don’t think my productivity was compromised (albeit improved!). Instead of 5 minutes, I ended up doing the entire session at this relaxed pace and I felt like my sanity was intact.

2) Shower in the moment.

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Goldstein says, ‘Take a bath or shower. Preferably a bath if you have one, but even with a shower, you can take your moment in the shower or bath to feel the warmth of the water or feel how your body is immersed in the water. How does your skin feel? Do you notice any smells? Is your hair wet? Just be in the moment and notice all your senses … breathe.”

I tried it:

I’m guilty of thinking about anything and everything while in the shower. I am always rattling off my to-do list in my mind and often, I am in a big rush. This morning I told myself that I would not think about my to-do list, worries, or what was going on in my life. I would simply just be in the moment and use the shower as a rejuvenating experience rather than another ‘to-do’ on the list. I also used it as an opportunity to breathe deep and engage in a mini meditation. It was much more enjoyable this way!

For the rest of Elisha Goldstein’s tips see here. You may also like my recent hot topic post on the dangers of multi-tasking called ‘Jack of all trades, master of none?’

Today’s questions- Do you often feel a sense of urgency to get tasks accomplished? Do you feel tense during the day because you try to do so many things at once? Do you rush things- like eating?

It is my goal to to do things more MINDFULLY– including eating! I am guilty of eating too fast and not giving myself enough time to sit and enjoy the experience.

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We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today.  I don’t think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great.  If you’re hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time.  ~Art Buchwald

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

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Kim April 15, 2010

Oh my gosh, Angela… My work life is BUILT around meetings, and it’s a constant source of anxiety for me. I don’t know why, but something about having to be in a specific place, at a specific time, and be ready to “get down to business” in a room full of very serious people is really overwhelming to me. Especially when the meeting is with new people or important clients who I don’t already know. And the entertainment industry is so guilty of this go, go, go mentality. Just this year I started forcing myself to slow down every now and take an occasional walk to Whole Foods to remind myself and the people in my office that the world will not fall apart if I take a quick break.

So glad you’re allowing yourself to slow down. I’m still working on it myself. And I’m still guilty of multi-tasking in the shower. :)

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Lynne April 15, 2010

I always get anxious before meetings too. And as for job interviews – I start worrying days in advance! I know that it is never as bad as I think it will be (to be honest, it couldn’t possibly be!), but somehow I always end up fretting! I am getting a bit better, though. (I am now 34!). Perhaps by the time I’m 50, I’ll have got a grip on it! ;-) Great post, Angela.

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Lauren M April 15, 2010

I’m studying to be a teacher and I have SO MUCH to do/turn in by the end of May before I can get my credential. If I don’t get these things turned in…no credential. I have absolutely no idea how i’m going to finish everything and it has left me in a bit of a frantic rush and panic. I’ve thought about waiting until the August deadline instead of May, but that would put off a lot of potential job offers. I’m trying to tell myself every day “You’ll get it done. You always do. You’ve never turned in anything late in your whole life.” Which is true. I ALWAYS panic and rush, but in the end I ALWAYS get it done. So this time I’m trying to bypass the panic step of this process and “just do it”

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Amanda April 15, 2010

I tell myself to calm down, especially at work. I work in the lab of a busy hospital and last night I was in blood bank. I don’t let myself multi-task too much in blood bank: there are too many situations where mistakes are not tolerated. So I just take a deep breath and address all the urgent things first ….. except last night we had too many urgent things at once. Oh well!

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Kris April 15, 2010

Because so many blogs are written by individuals in their 20s, I notice a frantic quality. I get a sense of trying to accomplish so much, whether it’s in job, fitness, personal life (marriage, children, family) or even blogging. I can say that no matter how frantic you get, life will happen. A lot of what happens will be out of your control. In the end, you will find yourself older and wiser, and wondering why you drove yourself crazy in the process. No one has to be superwoman or superman; life is not supposed to be a crazy competition. Take it day by day, stop to smell and flowers and enjoy the sunshine. Breathe and enjoy the ride because you only get to do it here once. You don’t want to look back and wonder why you were bashing your head against a wall.

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Paige @ Running Around Normal April 15, 2010

I definitely multitask. And I definitely have a sense of urgency throughout the day. That’s been ingrained in me from being in the journalism field all throughout college – gotta get the story in by the deadline no.matter.what. Sometimes having a sense of urgency is good, because it means I’ll do what it takes, but it also leads to stress and sometimes even high blood pressure!

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Lauren (Health on the Run) April 15, 2010

Thank you for sharing this awesome article! I love it! I am always doing too many things at once (even if they aren’t productive things). This morning…like so many others…I ate my breakfast in a rush while I was getting ready for work. I feel like I am constantly racing to get things done in my non-working hours and that I can never keep up! This article (and your post) was a great reminder to slow down.

I especially loved #10 (“Remind yourself that you are a miracle….) Cheesy, yes? But oh so true. :)

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Erica April 15, 2010

I am always multitasking and trying to get too many things done at the same time! Thanks for the pointers! I will have to try them out next time!

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Heather @ Side of Sneakers April 15, 2010

I find a lot that the anticipation of things is “worse” than the actual case :)

Thanks for the reminder to slllooooww down. I’m so guilty of over multitasking and not living in the moment. Sometimes I get to the point where I can’t shut down at night and my brain keeps reeling while I try to sleep, so I try to read a good book when I get in bed, even if only for a few minutes, just to help transition.

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Ana April 15, 2010

I am also very anxious, very hard to control that but I found that breathing deep through my abdomen relaxes and calms me down when I am feeling to anxious about something. It calms me to the point that I can think better and focus on trying to not be so anxious. (does this make sense?!!!)
On the multi-tasking subject, I do things fast, I am a quick person full of energy by nature and I can multitask and do more than one thing at once, easily. However, I know that my best work comes out when I am doing one thing at a time, but I only came to learn that now that I am 30! Seriously, until I reached my later 20’s I would not even think about stopping and breathing and focusing. Now I am much more aware of who I am and how I work best in many situations, so I can stop and breath, give myself 5 minutes when I need to, and that does wonders to me!
I enjoyed reading your post today, I do believe that allowing a few minutes to yourself is really important.
I guess all this sort of comes as we mature and start to figure out ourselves for real!
Ana

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Jennifer April 15, 2010

Ok, GUILTY of just about all you mentioned. It seems I always eat standing up in the kitchen. I love when I take the time to sit and enjoy my meal but I rarely do that. I’ll work on it!

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Therese April 15, 2010

Thank you for this post, Angela! I work full time, go to university part time and try to manage 5-6 days of exercise a week on top of family and social life. I am ALWAYS running all over the place and recently started working out early in the morning so I can fit everything in. Due to this I constantly forget to just.slow.down.

Thanks for helping me remember to breathe!

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Diana April 15, 2010

So glad your meeting went well! :)

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AGS April 14, 2010

I used to multitask constantly (and still do at times), but not I tend to work in focused spurts on specific tasks (20-30 minutes on a task, switch to another, then to another, etc.). I find that I gain momentum from seeing things get done, and systematically making progress keeps me in a positive frame of mind, rather than flipping back and forth. Still, I find I don’t have much time to eat during the day, and if I do eat, it’s horribly rushed and uncomfortable. So I schedule a couple of 10-15 minute breaks into my day with a decent snack/hot tea, rather than a single lunch period.

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Carrie (Love Healthy Living) April 14, 2010

You are doing so awesome and you are living your dream! So, be sure and enjoy the journey. You are going to rock the farmer’s markets, I know it. Can we get your bars at my market in California?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2010

Does a free, one-way ticket come included with that offer??? :)

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Jenn April 14, 2010

Multi-tasking, adding one more item to the to do list, packing my “free” day with as much stuff to get done as possible so that I can have an “extra minute” later….Guilty.
Even guilty of this frenetic pace when running. I have been working on scanning myself to make sure that I am enjoying my run and focusing only on that run. Sometimes I enjoy letting my mind wander if it gets tough, but otherwise most of the time, I focus on how I am feeling, from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment so much more after!
Now, just to take some of those tips and try them during my normal day!

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Dana April 14, 2010

I find your posts come at the funniest timings! When I read your post on quinoa curry the other day I had just made one. And then this post came right after I watched a short clip on slowing down called “Just Stop and Think” – by one of my favourite authors, Francis Chan
(http://crazylovebook.com/videos_stop.html).
Hope you are feeling 100% soon! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2010

Total Blogger ESP ;)

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Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow April 14, 2010

This article comes at such a good time. I was reading today through my wellness coaching training book and one of the major focus topics during this program was the practice of being mindful.

Being mindful in your moments throughout the day. Not only do I focus on that before coaching someone but I try to be more mindful so I can savor my moments, really experience them! This takes SUCH practice I tell ya! We are programmed to move at warp speed, rarely taking a breath let alone smell the flowers! :)

But I will say this, the more I focus on being mindful and slowing down- the more I enjoy the simple, perfect moments each day. This has created a very cool sense of gratitude for me.

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Lizz @ leadingthegoodlife April 14, 2010

My girlfriend is a firefighter so they are always on edge – you never know when a call will come in! Because of this, she eats soooo quickly. Sometimes when she and I are eating together I start feeling like we’re in a rush because she just wolfs down her food! I have to remind her to slow down. She agrees that when she takes her time at meals she eats more reasonable portions and feels much better afterwards!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2010

My brother is a fire fighter and I can relate to that a lot!

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maria April 14, 2010

Yes, yes, yes! I am always doing a million things at once, but every once in a while I like to take a few minutes to just be. To just breathe and clear my mind. It’s so helpful for me and really pulls me back to reality. :)

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Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind April 14, 2010

Actually, I usually feel SO compelled to do SO much…that I do nothing. I get myself so worked up about tackling EVERY item on my To Do List, that I start dreading even starting, so I don’t.

It’s the all-or-nothing mentality. Something I really need to work on!

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Samantha (Foodedu) April 14, 2010

Angela,

I found your blog today and have gone through some of your archived posts. I am really able to identify with your weight loss story–your posts are so honest and real, and I felt like I was reading about myself. Although I am not vegetarian or vegan, I love your healthy living message! Best of luck to you and your bars at the Farmers Market. I have seen your bars on other blogs and never knew where they came from!

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Rachel April 14, 2010

Hey, wanted to tell you I just found your blog and I love it!!

And while I don’t find myself holding my breath when I’m stressed, I do clench my jaw. And then all of a sudden I notice that I have a headache or my jaw hurts, and I have to consciously unclench it. This has been the beginning of a lot of migraines!

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Eunice April 14, 2010

I love that article! Thank you for posting it. I am so, so guilty of doing a billion things at once. I think it’s partly due to the fast paced world we live in. Everything is so immediate and sometimes I feel like I can’t do enough to keep up. Even right now as I’m “relaxing” I’m watching TV, reading blogs, checking Facebook, etc. I think I’m going to log off now lol.

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday April 14, 2010

I’d rather not slow down in the shower. It’s just a waste of water and gas (for heating the water). I love a fast shower.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2010

I don’t interpret it as taking longer showers, just more mindful showers :)

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Lauren April 14, 2010

Love it Angela! Life is flying by so fast. We need to hold onto every moment and savor it. Especially you! You’ve come so far and had so much success. Enjoy and be so proud of yourself! There are so many that would give anything to be in your position :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2010

Thank you for your kind words :)

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Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary April 14, 2010

I wish I did it a little less than I do… I tend to pack as much as possible in. Always wishing for a few more hours in the day…

Love this post :) Thanks Ange!

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Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life April 14, 2010

Oh man, multi-tasking is my middle name! I’m ALWAYS doing more than one thing at a time, and usually if I’m trying to just do one thing, I start to feel incredibly anxious like I’m not doing enough! That’s something I’ve really got to work on…just step back and smell the roses (or just one rose at a time) :)

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