During this busy time of year, when a lot of fun and maybe not-so-fun things get added to an already busy week, it is both rewarding and therapeutic to find ways to stop and catch your breath. Slowing down, even for 30 minutes each day, is a gift of happiness we can give ourselves, thus revising Proust’s quote to: “Let us be grateful to ourselves for our own happiness. We can be the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Here are a few ways to give yourself the gift of slow-down time:
Breathe (for two minutes)
Try this simple technique anywhere for just two minutes:
Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to the count of four; Hold your breath for a count of seven; Exhale through your mouth, making the sound of wind, to the count of eight.
Read a Book (in print format)
Something about holding a tome of your choice and turning pages is incredibly enjoyable. Find an author you like and have two of their books standing by for slow-down therapy. I just bought three more of Donna Leon’s Guido Brunnetti mysteries, because I simply feel better knowing that I can visit with Guido in his world whenever I want to take a break from my world.
Dip a Paintbrush (in an easy way)
Watercolor pencils make watercoloring so easy, and you will find your breathing slow in a pleasing way. You can purchase a simple set with pre-printed canvases from Faber-Castell, either at an art shop or direct from Faber-Castell. Search for “watercolor canvas art sets” at www.fabercastell.com
Have a Beautiful Jigsaw Puzzle (and music) Standing By
William is close to completing a jigsaw puzzle of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which he has set up in the garage on a card table. He loves listening to classical music and placing the puzzle pieces. He says, “It’s a zen state I get into…” That’s meditation!