009. Five Ways to Slow Down The Weekend

5-Ways-to-Slow-Yourself-Down-This-Weekend | Blake Blankenbecler.jpg

The Back-To-School hustle and bustle is in full swing. My husband and I don’t have kids and yet we can still feel the energy shifting from the more mellowed out pace of summer, to a more hurried pace of fall. Football, parent-teacher evenings, a pile of new work projects, small groups starting back up to name a few. We all know the list goes on and on.

I find weekends are a great time to mindfully slow myself down and press the reset button. More often than not, I find the tone and intention I set for the weekend overflows into my weekdays. I don’t know about you, but I do so much better when I don’t feel pressed for time and like I’m operating from a place of scarcity.

Taking and setting aside time over the weekend communicates to yourself, others, and the world around you with unspoken words that you’re living in a place of abundance and there is enough time for you to quiet your soul, engage your heart, and take care of your body.

While it may not seem like it, taking time for yourself is a risk. This risk names, “I have faith and I trust the time I am giving myself right now will be multiplied so I have more presence, kindness, and service to offer.”

So how could you practice this today or tomorrow? So glad you asked! ;)

One. Wake up at the same time you wake up during the weekdays.

So lame, I know, but hear me out! One, waking up consistently is so helpful for our bodies to begin with. Secondly, Saturdays and Sundays for a lot of us (but not all of us, I see you fierce women committing to the #sidehustle) mean we don’t have work commitments. You may have a little more space. Waking up at 6:00 am or 7:00 am on a weekend means you just gave yourself the gift of one or two slow hours to sip your coffee, not hearing anyone else talking at you, and getting to do whatever the heck you want to do.

Want to do nothing? Great! Do that.

Want to bake your grandmother’s famous blueberry muffins? Go for it!

Want to take a bath? By all means…do it! And a bath with the sunlight peeking in to start the day is really glorious. Please try if you haven’t yet!

Two. Go to your local farmers market to buy fresh produce for the week.

This is one of my husband and my favorite things to do on a Saturday. We still have a few more months to enjoy the rich colors and produce that these markets have to offer. There is something about being at a farmer’s market that slows me down and allows me to linger longer. I actually touch the produce, admiring the textures and colors and smells. I talk to the local farmers to hear about how their season was, what the land is like, and any stories they feel like sharing that day. Knowing where our food comes from and getting to talk to the very people that have loved their land, nurtured and tended to their crops shifts my approach to the food I eat. It invites me to slow down and savor the fruits of their labor, literally! My husband always says, “you can tell when food has been made with love.” The same is true for produce: you can tell when food has been grown with love.

Three. Keep the TV off in the evenings.

Y’all. I love me some TV. Truly. Give me a cloud-like couch, a soft blanket, Parenthood reruns and I am down for the count for hours. This practice of turning and keeping the TV off in the evenings is definitely hard at first, especially if you love a good zone out session like me. However, the things that happen when the TV is not on is nothing short of astounding. The kitchen gets cleaned, the laundry gets done, a game with your people gets played, the conversation gets to be had, and to top it all off, I guarantee you will find yourself going to sleep so much earlier. Luxury is finding myself asleep by 9:30 pm to be able to wake up early and rested for the most favorite part of my day: coffee and silence!

Four. Set a timer for thirty minutes and read a book.

When is the last time you didn’t look at your phone for thirty minutes?

When is the last time you read a book for thirty minutes?

Well, wham-bam, here is an invitation to do both. Set yourself a timer for thirty whole minutes, place your phone far enough away from you that you actually have to get up and walk to it. Plop yourself under a tree outside or nestle yourself into your favorite chair. Enjoy that book you’ve had starring at you on your nightstand for the past few weeks.

Reading is so, so, so important for us! Kelly Corrigan, author extraordinaire, did a TEDx talk on reading. She shared a statistic that 33% of high school graduates never read another book after they graduate. That is tragic. There are also physiological benefits to reading such as better sleep, reduced stress, and decreased memory loss. Hello! Sign me up for those benefits!

Also, if you’re looking for a good book to read, Kelly’s book Tell Me More will feel like a delightfully funny friend came over, cracked open two beers for the both of y’all, put her feet up on the couch and told you stories that made you feel so much less alone!

Five. Have a connecting conversation with your partner, friend, parents to share how you’re doing and how your people could support you in this particular season of your life.

Connection is instantly grounding. Do you recall the last time you went out to coffee or lunch with a good girlfriend only to look down at your phone and realize all the time that had passed? That is the gift of connection! It’s important to create space in our weekends to have intentional conversations where we move quickly through the obligatory chitter-chatter and into the real matters of our heart. To be known and cared for exactly where we are is one of the kindest gifts we can offer ourselves and others.

New research is coming out that says loneliness is one of the leading causes of early death. We simply cannot survive without connection. Additionally, connection helps us to create resiliency against depression and anxiety.

Self-care is certainly costly, but it need not be so expensive that you can’t afford it. Give yourself the gift of time this weekend. Take deep breaths, maybe a bath, and observe the trees bending but not breaking as they dance in the wind with nothing to do but be completely themselves.