Relax & Revive: Stepping Back and Slowing Down - Great Health Guide
Relax & Revive: Stepping Back and Slowing Down

Relax & Revive: Stepping Back and Slowing Down

This article is written by Catriona Pollard and is taken from the upcoming Great Health Guide (April 2016 – issue 10).

Relax & Revive: Stepping Back and Slowing Down written by Catriona Pollard

We are all very busy people. We juggle work, family, personal life and other commitments. Sometimes, it can just become a bit too much and too overwhelming. What happens then, is the beginning of a terrible burn-out. 

I’ve gone through this experience myself. I’m the CEO of my own business and a few years ago, I reached the point where I was starting to get burnt out caused by the intense pressure of constantly managing the ups and downs of running a business with the many other things I do.

It couldn’t go on this way. I did some reassessing and realised that I needed to slow down, to take a step back and let myself breathe; engage in something that was slow and meditative instead of the hectic rush and information overload I was facing. I thought I had a creative outlet because my job was creative, but what I really needed to do was slow down and find an alternative outlet. 

That’s why I decided to incorporate creativity and art into my life. I needed to find creativity that wasn’t about perfection, but more about exploration and play. I wanted to think in new ways and use creativity to gain new insights and perspectives that I could also use in my business.

1. Slowing down

I believe many women need to incorporate a form of ‘slowing down’ into their lives and creating art helps us slow down, quieten the mind and put us in touch with our inner wisdom. 

While many may think that practices such as meditation are too hard, weaving or knitting are very similar to meditation as they are such simplistic tasks that force us to do one thing at a time, slowly – the exact opposite of what we all do in our jobs every day.

I discovered sculptural basketry and have never looked back. I sit for hours at a time on weeknights and weekends just working on my weaving. It is like a form of meditation and it’s such a simplistic task – the exact opposite of what I have to do in my job every day.

2. A healthier brain and healthier mindset

Arts and craft practices highlight how differently we all see things. They help us appreciate many different points of view and expand our world view. They help us overcome business and life challenges providing different perspectives that are essential in dealing with the complexities of everyday life.

 

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What they do is create an environment where we are combining right-brain imagination with left-brain logic which increases the capacity for breakthrough ideas and insights.

When I’m weaving, no two pieces are the same, even if I’m using the same material and technique – they will be different. That’s because weaving, using organic material is about ‘listening to what it wants to be’. I may have an idea about what I’m going to create and then I’ll pick up the material and start the sculpture and ‘the material decides what it wants to become’.

3. Taking a step back from the digital

Having a hobby where you can sit down for a few hours and block out the constant noise of society, the constant email notifications and the plethora of social media accounts to catch up on, can work wonders for your mental health and bring down stress levels. Not having constant deadlines to worry about lowers cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ and engaging in relaxing, enjoyable activities heightens levels of oxytocin and serotonin in the brain.

We are so disconnected from nature in this digital world that we are barely paying attention to what’s around us. Walking down the street with your only view being of Facebook through the smart phone in your hand, means that you’re missing the moments in time that nature provides; a beautiful sunset, the sun sparkling through the trees or a leaf drifting by in the breeze. 

These moments are missed because we are no longer looking at the world around us and often completely disconnected from where we are. 

4. It’s never too late

For me, slowing down has been the key to my health. It took a very stressful period in my life to force to me find creative experiences that allowed me to see new perspectives and have a break from constant noise of a busy life. 

I sit for hours at a time on weeknights and weekends just working on my weaving. I’ve spent most of my evenings after work in the last six months sitting on the floor surrounded by leaves and sticks; because my A type personality is never far away. 

I know this to be true. We all have new growth ready to emerge and art and creativity can help you reconnect with your imagination and give you new insights and perspectives. 

I use arts and crafts as my ‘slow-down’ method to break away from our modern fast-paced life, but there are many ways to do it. Go camping. Hike to the peak of a mountain. Start meditation. Learn a musical instrument. Create a garden and grow wonderful nutritious foods. Clean out your attic and create recycled art from old trinkets. 

Author of this article:
Catriona Pollard is the author of ‘From Unknown to Expert’, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. Catriona is the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business. Further information can be obtained from her website.
 
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