10 Benefits of Slowing Down
In a recent posting on his Study Hacks Blog, the great productivity expert Cal Newport asked a question that we should all be asking ourselves from time to time. Students especially.
The question: what would happen if we slowed down? It’s a testament to how fast-paced our society is that the question would even be necessary. But here we are, 2021, instant gratification and all that.
Maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at the many benefits of slowing down. We think it is. And once you do, we believe you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do it sooner. Let’s begin!
1. More Time for Building Friendships
The friends you start college with are often not the same ones you take with you through the rest of your life. Still, it’s necessary to take that time to get to know people. Give each other a proverbial test-drive to see if you’re the right fit.
The thing about widening your social net is that you’re mature enough to handle a variety of relationships. Not everyone has to be a lover or bosom buddy. You could do just as well making acquaintanceships for now with the right people.
Slowing down gives you time to explore those different levels of interest. As a result, you can make something even more valuable than friends. You could make connections. And if friendship grows out of that, even better!
2. Figuring Out What You Want
Something else that might be immediately apparent to you when you start college is this. You have no idea what you want out of your career or life. That’s okay. Few of us do.
At least, not right away. But taking time to slow down from the busy pace of the full-time college student will also give you time to figure those things out. Steal every moment that you can in between classes, homework assignments, studying, and hanging out with friends to contemplate it.
If you can hone in on one thing, great. If not, don’t worry about it. Some jobs that you end up doing may have not even been invented yet. Giving thought to the skills and knowledge that attract you, however, will ensure that you’re ready whenever those job opportunities start to appear.
3. Enjoying Simple Things
The constant demands on our time, the pressure to “get things done,” can make a person start to feel guilty. Don’t you dare! If you feel like you need some downtime, take it.
Slowing down gives you a chance to explore your interests more through reading, movies, and other forms of entertainment. What seems like “goofing off” to some can be inspirational. It can help you to single out certain things to start modeling your life upon.
So, every book you read, show or movie you watch, or hobby you take part in, is a way to realize more who you are and what you should be doing. You can’t figure this out without first slowing down and making time for it.
One other thing that you can do when you start to slow down and take time away from the rat race is to take care of yourself. Part of that means a regular exercise routine.
“Exercise,” for some, is a dirty word. However, that’s only because they’ve yet to explore the different types of exercise. There is something for everyone, provided you give yourself enough time to explore and develop.
Some people enjoy running and hiking while others would rather be on a bicycle. Still, others get the most out of weights/resistance training, while the more creative strap on a pair of rollerblades. Whatever you have to do to motivate yourself, do it. Start by slowing down and trying different activities to see which ones are the most tolerable.
5. Seizing Control of Your Health
The other part of the health equation is what you put into your body and how you treat your brain. Staying away from processed foods is always a good idea. Eating more vegetables is another.
Whatever you do, make fiber and protein a core part of your diet. Also, try to keep your calories under control. These steps will help you feel full without gaining weight, and it will make it easier to lose weight for the average human being not suffering from a thyroid condition.
Furthermore, till the soil of your mind. Make time to connect with positive people and disconnect from negative ones. Meditate, pray, enjoy the pleasures of simply being alone. All these factors will help you get your wellness under control.
6. Getting Your Resume Ready
The modern job hunt looks much different than it did 20 years ago. Two decades back, you could not find legitimate work-from-home opportunities. Most wanted you to pay them to work.
Furthermore, the gig economy wasn’t even a thing. Most people had a Monster account, and they would post their resume on there. But long job applications were still very much the norm, and it was a hassle.
Today, there’s a chance the employer will find you before you even go looking. You just have to be ready for them. Being ready means taking the time to create an updated resume. It also means culling out negative factors on your social media accounts (i.e., political opinions, embarrassing photos, foul language).
Do these things, and it’s easy to approach and be approached for employment. Unfortunately, many people get so wrapped up in the rat race that they fail to take care of these responsibilities. The result is missing opportunities.
7. Learning a Skill or Craft
Another major perk of slowing your role is that you can take time to really think about the things you’re missing. This could be specific skill sets pertinent to the career you want to be in.
Or, it could be something you’d just like to learn for the fun of it. Think about the things you think would be cool. Make a list. Consider how much time it would take to become proficient.
Now, resolve to setting aside time each week to explore those possibilities. Start with 15 minutes each day and move up from there if you’re pleased with your choices.
8. Meeting New People
It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Not everyone you meet has to stay in your social circle to edify you. You can learn something about yourself from one meaningful conversation or argument. But you’ll never get there if you fail to take the time to explore who these people are.
Go to as many gatherings as you can make time for without hurting your studies. Make a point of striking up a conversation with someone you wouldn’t otherwise talk to. You could end up learning a lot from each other, even if you never speak again. You’ll be the better for it.
One of the best possible uses that anyone could make of their time is to help someone in need. When you’re not slowing down long enough to look at the needs on campus or within your city, you’re leaving tremendous opportunities on the table.
Opportunities to better yourself as a person, to meet community leaders who could put you in touch with your first serious job, and opportunities to enrich the lives of someone else. Volunteering gives you access to all of this.
Start with your local chamber of commerce or your student services office. See what organizations are near you. Pick something that holds your interest, and get involved!
10. Being Alone
Finally, take some time to really understand who you are. Many people go through high school and college living with other people, never taking the time to learn something about themselves.
Slowing down long enough to enjoy your alone time will keep you from wasting your time with people who drain your energy. It will also teach you a lot about what you are and aren’t willing to accept from a friend or spouse.
Slowing Down Is Needed Now More Than Ever
We hope you can see and understand how important slowing down is to your career, grades, happiness, and life. Without it, it’s tough to function.
Now it’s your turn, readers. What are some things you learned about yourself when you took time for yourself? Sound off in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]