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It’s always there isn’t it?

The list.

You know what I’m talking about don’t you, busy mum?

The ‘To Do list’ you keep in your head each day – the one that means you can’t slow down and waits to pop into your weary mind just as your head hits the pillow.

The one that robs you of precious sleep and rest and takes up so much of your time there’s none left just for you.

How many nights do you lay awake, mentally ticking off the list? Crossing off items you got through and chastising yourself for the things you didn’t?

I understand. And I know that list gets heavy after a while.

But what if I said you could put the list down?

Not forever, but for long enough to slow down, and give yourself permission to rest.

Long enough to let your mind relax, wind down and allow you to get enough rejuvenating sleep each night.

Sound like a dream?

I promise, it’s not.

I know, because I needed to slow down too

Like you, I have lots of things I want to get through each day. But I also know that it’s ok to cut myself some slack!

I remember when I worked more than 60 hours a week, with two babes to care for and a home to look after. I was busy, ticking off the To Do list and getting everything done. Getting enough sleep and rest wasn’t high on my list of priorities.

Then my world changed overnight.

The utter grief of heartbreak, loss and becoming a single mum forced me to look at my priorities. I had to slow down and make room in my day only for the essentials.

In recovering and rebuilding my life, I came to embrace the beauty and joy that comes from slowing and living simply.

I’m no longer forced to move through life at a slower pace, but it’s a choice I continue to make wholeheartedly every day. It’s important for me to feel fulfilled as well as achieve all the things my heart desires!

As part of embracing slow, I prioritise sleep and rest. I know they make me a better mum, friend, partner and a much better and happier me!

Do you feel like you want to slow down too, but you don’t know where to start?

When there’s laundry to do, or dishes in the sink, do you feel guilty for taking a minute for yourself?

It’s not lazy to put the jug on, have a cuppa and put your feet up for 15 – 20 minutes. It’s not lazy to read a book just for the joy of it, or take a walk in the bush. You might like to potter in the garden, or sit in the sun feel the warmth on your gorgeous face.

Your To Do list might feel as long as your arm, but taking a few minutes to relax can rejuvenate you and make it easier to tackle.

Sleep and rest is not lazy

Deepak Chopra is a doctor and pioneer of integrative medicine. He embraces the combination of traditional and alternative medicine to treat the person as a whole.

Dr Chopra writes about the importance of relaxation: “Think about the last time you did something only because it pleased you, not because it was expected. This is what makes it so sweet, and such a gift. Society has shifted toward prioritising hyper-productivity, making the notion of doing nothing seem unproductive and inefficient. If there is time left unfilled during the day, there is an urge to fill it with something. It’s no wonder people have such a hard time relaxing and enjoying moments of nothingness.”

“Contrary to what you might think, being too busy can be counterproductive. Think of a washing machine that is crammed with too many clothes. Not much actual washing takes place because there is not enough space to move and churn. This same concept applies to life in general; you can use a little more space to help connect to the pulse of life and enjoy the pleasures it has to offer, no matter how small.”

It’s funny how Dr Chopra uses the washing machine as an example – isn’t that something all busy mums can relate to?!

But it’s a clever way to look at busyness, overwhelm and the constant state of doing. Like stuffing too many clothes in the washing machine doesn’t achieve great results, neither does trying to cram too much into your day.

Take a few things off the list and leave space in your day to get the important things done.

Here’s why you need your sleep, busy mum

Are you losing sleep because you’re staying up late to get housework done? Can you switch off your busy, over-stimulated brain?

Sleep is so important to recharge. However, internationally recognised sleep expert Dr Carmel Harrington says most of us aren’t getting enough.

The Australian sleep specialist says: “We can often feel we don’t have enough time to sleep, but by sacrificing sleep for wakefulness we run the risk of serious physical and mental ill-health, as well as inferior work outcomes.

“While most of us recognise that sleep is important for our health and well-being, we have, since 1960, decreased our average sleep time from 8.5 hours per night to 6.5 hours during the working week.”

According to Dr Harrington, most adults need 7 – 9 hours’ sleep a night, but during the work week many get as little as 6.

No wonder you’re so tired!

Dr Harrington says: “Good sleep is fundamental to our physical and mental health and our ability to think and learn.

“There is a significant association between sleep and mood/behaviour. Research has shown conclusively that inadequate sleep is associated with a negative outlook and depression.

“There is a significant association between poor sleep and immune function: Research has shown that poor sleep affects immune function (a 50% decrease in killer cell activity) which results in more frequent infections in the short-term and more chronic illness in the long-term.

There is substantial evidence linking lack of sleep to chronic diseases such as obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.”

Want to start your slow-down journey?

I can hear you saying, “That’s all well and good Hiddy, but please tell me HOW to slow down?”

That’s why I’m here. To share what I’ve learned with other mums who are looking for a different way of going about their life. A way that’s more fun and joyful AND ACHIEVING, but not only about ticking off all the things that need to be done.

Have you tried to slow down, but didn’t know where to start? Have you found ways to bring pockets of rest into your day, but then felt guilty for taking time for yourself?

Leave a comment below and let me know what it is for you. Do you get enough sleep and rest? Tell me if you are keen to make slowing space in your day and why/shy not?

It might seem impossible, but I promise, you can slow down. I’d love to help you kick-start your slow-down journey and I’m super excited to share some easy, practical lessons you can implement in your life right now. If you are keen to slow down but not sure where to start, join in with my free challenge here. This is an opportunity for you to experiment and find your most suitable way for regularly initiating self care into your life.

Grab the rules for #hiddysslowdowndare here and become part of my beautiful, supportive online community as we simplify our lives and focus on our mission to slowing down and saying goodbye to the rush, once and for all!  Make slowing no longer a hassle for you, but rather, part of your everyday.

Thank you so much for being here and for adding your perspective. I love to hear how you feel and what you think. Please share this post with someone you love, because they might be in need of some slowing fun today too!

Blessings, Hiddy xx

P.S. #hiddysslowdowndare – Give yourself permission to slow down my beautiful friend!