By Alisha Ramos

Editor’s Note: We originally published these thoughts in our weekly newsletter and found the response so overwhelmingly helpful that we wanted to keep the conversation going here. Below you’ll find my original note plus some helpful responses from our community.

In 2019, I want to commit to living more slowly. Burnout and exhaustion are certainly motivators — and is something that’s more recently been brought to attention by Anne Helen Petersen’s piece on burnout. My maturity in life and career is another — long-term goals are becoming clearer and my self-compassion more frequent as I understand that it’s okay to fail, take a break, and be a real human being.

To live more slowly means to be more present in life, rather than focusing on obsessively “optimizing” it, as Petersen puts it.

So far, living more slowly has meant adjusting certain routines and perspectives in my life, both big and small. For instance, we decided to try “no screens Wednesday” last night in our house. No TV, no cellphones, no laptops. We worked on a puzzle! It was the best.

I’m figuring out what else “living more slowly” will look like for me this year. I think it means doing less instead of doing more. I think it means finding more time to read books. I think it means — from a business and career perspective — learning how to be patient and taking baby steps. I think it’s posting less on Instagram. I think it’s being comfortable with unstructured time. I think it means more nights in. 🙂

Is anyone else committing to live more slowly? Let me know your thoughts, tactics, and any tips you have. <3

Community Responses:

“My New Year’s motto is ‘I am in control of how I spend my time’ - being ok with doing nothing all day, not feeling guilt for resting, and choosing what to do out of genuine enthusiasm rather than pressure to be busy.” - Clemency

“My word for the year is contentment. That goes hand in hand with slowing down this year.” - Heather

“I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland, and this reminds me of a common adage in siSwati - ‘kancane kancane’ which translates to ‘bit by bit”. It’s my favorite phrase and a mantra I try to live by now, along with ‘do less, be more.’” - Katherine

“I had a quad bike accident while traveling in Morocco, and as a result, I’ve had to relearn how to do very basic functions. My recovery has been amazing but I’m needing to slow down, to be patient with myself both physically and mentally. There’s nothing wrong with feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. I just make sure that while I feel these things, I also take the time to celebrate the victories.” - Dionne

“What am I doing to make things more slow? It’s a whole range of things. I’m either laying around in my PJs, catching up on the shows that I’ve been recording, reading a book, Facetiming an old friend I haven’t talked to in a bit, or trying out a new recipe. Fridays have become all about me, and in 2019 I’m going to be okay with that!” - Rachel

“My teenage son and I are going back to board game Tuesdays! He misses it and so do I. I also went back to reading hard backed novels – something I always loved and got ‘too busy’ to do. Now, I force myself to take a lunch break and read.” - Paulette

“After spending the Holidays in LA and observing how everyone was way more relaxed than the average New Yorker … I decided to slow down myself. If I’d usually run down the stairs to get to the train, now I just walk - if I was in a car stuck in traffic, I couldn’t just jump over the cars around me - and if it takes longer, I’d be okay with that.” - Mari

“My family schedules No Media Days at least once per week. Literally whole days with no screens or audio (I usually listen to podcasts and audiobooks incessantly). This has really helped me learn to listen to my own internal voice and connect with myself. I hope this practice helps our 4-year-old daughter realize there is more to living than television!” - Ashley

“I struggle with the thought of moving more slowly while also treasuring my time as an active person – marathon training, rock climbing, yoga. But, I’m realizing that I can fully show up to those activities and still move more slowly in the day-to-day … Unstructured time has been my nemesis for as long as I can remember, and I want to learn to enjoy it and soak it in.” - Jill

“Living more slowly for me means taking 30 minutes - 1 hour for myself in the peace and quiet of home after my two-year-old has gone to bed. This could include literal quiet time (where I’m just laying on the couch and listening to the sounds of my house), reading, writing (working on my first book) or a combination of those. I also try hard to avoid screen time after I’m done with work (unless I’m working on my book).” - Eloisa

Lede image by Alisha Ramos.

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