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Let's Pause Together

How giving myself time to stop and reflect changed my way of thinking







What do you typically do to slow down and unwind after a long day? Do you allow yourself to unwind? People will often use energy drinks, caffeine or indulge in something sugary that gives us a small rush rather than sitting down and taking a well deserved rest. Our brains are constantly ticking over and working overtime to the point where we don’t actually give ourselves time to sit down and breathe.


No, you don’t have to physically slow down (but it does help), it's the thought of not being under pressure for time whenever you're doing something.


I got very overwhelmed at the end of the Christmas holidays leading into January and February but I couldn’t pinpoint what was actually going on and why I felt upset and sad all the time. I was constantly on the go to the point where my housemates rarely saw me all day and night. In the few weeks break from university I felt so exhausted, I was so tired. It was giving me intense headaches to the point where it was starting to make me feel sick, my stomach was aching all the time and I found myself not being able to eat properly because I didn't have the energy to make myself a decent meal or eat wholesome food which would nourish me. This was caused by the excessive amount of stress I had put myself under by not giving myself a moment to stop and breathe. I had also recently come out of a situationship (you know what they are like on your mental state) and I just felt so down.


Giving myself a break


I decided to take a break from social media and have an experiment for the next few weeks. The first few days were so unbelievably boring. I had become so addicted to my phone that I would average around 15 hours a day on it. Because I was constantly on my phone my brain was getting used to being flooded with some sort of content. I know I am not the only one who says I watched Tik Tok all the time. When you're bored and have spare 5 minutes, what do you do? Open Tik Tok.


However after a few days, I started to connect more with my housemates, I drew and painted the silliest pictures with them. I started to spend more time in the kitchen which allowed me to make my meals with them. It also gave me time to get things done that had been weighing heavily on my mind which relieved some of my stress. I finally was able to submit my application for Specific Learning Difficulty (SPLD) Assessment and get myself diagnosed. Being able to physically slow down will help improve your sleep and motivation.


Why should you slow down?


Why is it important to slow down though? If you don't, it is very easy to become overwhelmed. Most of us have a lot of things we have to deal with in our day to day lives. If we start panicking and trying to cope with everything all at once it becomes too much. It is important to slow down and properly deal with one thing at a time so that you can get a focused resolution and move on before dealing with the next thing. I have been living alongside my anxiety for years and I found that managing one thing at a time helps relieve some of that anxiety. I know from bitter experience that anxiety can make you feel incredibly sick when you don’t even want to get out of bed but one thing that has always helped me is putting my hands on the bottom of my stomach and focusing on making it stick out when you breathe. Focusing on something other than the anxiety that is filling your body really helps.


For me what has really helped me slow down mentally is going somewhere I feel comfortable and I know it is quiet where I won't be disturbed, then I write in my diary what has happened during the day with my thoughts and feelings. I will aim to write every night but it fluctuates depending on my mood and how much time I have. I find that keeping the diary helps me feel more in control. I also like the idea of looking back at my diary entries and being able to see how much I have grown or how I have been able to deal with a problem. Freeing up my headspace like this has relaxed me where I don’t feel the need to constantly be on my phone, it means I can fully live my life that is in front of me. I watched a youtube video years ago about how 'Slowing down to go faster' and I have only just started to realise how effective this is to live by.


Recently I have spent quality time with my family, been adventurous with my cooking ( I hate cooking!) and I have even managed to book a holiday with my friends. Things have felt much better recently. Healing properly by slowing down physically and mentally is a very calming process that has helped me learn a lot about myself and has helped me live in the present moment. I have more motivation to get on with tasks and I just feel happier in general. My confidence level has gone through the roof as I now know what I can achieve when I just give myself a minute to relax and think. I would definitely would like to keep it that way.








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