9 Signs It’s Time to Slow Down

relaxing in hammock

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

This recognizable quote from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off can be helpful to remember when we find ourselves saying things like:

“I simply can’t keep this pace up for much longer.”

“There just aren’t enough hours in the day.”

“Stop the merry-go-round. I need to get off!”

Often, we miss the signs that we’re moving too fast or that we’ve got too much on our plates. Sometimes our tendency is to switch to autopilot, and we may become suddenly unaware of what we’re doing in a given moment.

To help foster self-awareness, here are nine important indicators of when you might wish to slow things down before they go awry:

1. You’re always late to appointments.

You might think that slowing things down will only cause you to be later. However, if you take a few moments to check your schedule and budget the appropriate amount of time to get from place to place,  you won’t constantly be racing and apologizing for being tardy. Always build in a few extra minutes for travel in case of traffic or delays that are beyond your control.

2. You keep losing things.

The first time you lose your keys, glasses, or wallet, you may simply let it go. The second time it happens, it’s a sure sign that you’re moving so fast you’re not aware of what you’re doing. You put things down without a thought and then don’t know where to retrieve them.

It can help to have a designated “home” for your belongings, but if you seem to be rushing lately and have tunnel vision, slowing the tempo can also help you stop misplacing things and find them more easily when you do.

3. You don’t know how you got from point A to point B.

Ever drive somewhere and wonder how you arrived? A little scary, right? What that means is that you weren’t focused on the task at hand and were too distracted be be engaged with your surroundings.

4. You’re not getting enough sleep.

You need to give the tasks in front of you the proper attention they deserve to tackle them efficiently. Otherwise, they could end up costing you more time. Listen to that spilled milk or stubbed toe when they tell you that you need to slow it down.Sleep is required to fill your tank so that you can face the challenges of each day. Of course we all are short-changed sometimes for various reasons, but if it’s happening for an extended period of time, it’s often a signal that something has to give. Take it down a notch if at all possible.

5. You have no time to eat.

If you don’t slow down long enough to nourish yourself, you’ll find that you will eventually come to a screeching halt, regardless of how much you desire to keep going.

6. You’re plagued by clumsiness.

Are you frequently dropping things, bumping into things, tripping, spilling or breaking things? That’s a strong indicator you’re moving too fast. You need to give the tasks in front of you the proper attention they deserve to tackle them efficiently. Otherwise, they could end up costing you more time. Listen to that spilled milk or stubbed toe when they tell you that you need to slow it down.

7. You’re forgetting appointments.

“Where are you? You were supposed to be here 10 minutes ago.”

Heard that one lately?

Missing an appointment feels awful. You wind up disappointing both yourself and others. It can put relationships at risk and cost you money. If you’ve missed a meeting, you might want to decelerate before it happens a second time.

8. You’re always multitasking.

You might be an amazing multitasker, but once in a while it’s important to discover what it’s like to put all of your focus and energy into just one thing. With multitasking, it’s possible to spread yourself too thin. If your schedule seems to ruthlessly demand multitasking, see if you can delegate things to others or at least assign each activity its own time slot.

9. You’re repeatedly getting sick.

If you find yourself feeling ill a lot more often than usual, it’s likely your body’s way of letting you know you’ve got to slow things down and rest! Listen to what your body is saying and don’t wait for your health to decline further.

Taking notice of just one or two of these meaningful signs should be enough to ease your current pace, which will serve you well in the long run.

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC, therapist in Denville, New Jersey

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 9 comments
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  • Bess

    Bess

    August 25th, 2015 at 9:29 AM

    Well at least 7 of the 9 apply to me right now… guess it’s time to ask for a vacation!

  • Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC

    Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC

    August 25th, 2015 at 6:52 PM

    Bess, I guess so!

  • anthony

    anthony

    August 26th, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    I can always tell when I am getting mentally worn down because I start having mysterious little illnesses, nothing serious but like colds all the time or it seems I just catch every little bug that comes around. I know that the mind and the body are intertwined but sometimes you have to get flat knocked down on your bottom before you actually see that it really could be time to take a time out and rest.

  • Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC

    Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC

    August 26th, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    You’re right Anthony. Sometimes we miss the “whispers” our bodies give us and wait to get hit over the head with a frying pan. Hopefully, paying attention to these indicators will keep us from getting completely “knocked out” before we get the message to slow down.

  • anthony

    anthony

    August 27th, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    Whispers… what a great analogy. yeah I usually don’t listen too well until I get the shrilling yells.

  • Amy

    Amy

    August 28th, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    That being late all the time?
    That is what my sister in law does, not because she is over worked but I would dare say under worked.
    She does little to nothing all day and still can’t be anywhere on time.
    I seriously think that that is her passive aggressive way of letting the rest of us know that she considers her time far more valuable than she does ours.
    But I guess that’s for another story.

  • maria

    maria

    August 29th, 2015 at 11:52 AM

    Reading that list, it makes me stressed out just thinking about how any one or two of those things would make me feel so out of control

  • Dell

    Dell

    August 31st, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    I have led this life before I retired and it would never be what I would choose to live again. I could have slowed down, but not slowing down allowed me to retire early. That wasn’t always fun, but I have to say that I am happy that I can take a break now and financially know that I am ok because I kept my nose to the grind for so long.

  • Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC

    Laurie Leinwand, MA, LPC

    September 1st, 2015 at 5:30 AM

    Thanks to those who have shared their thoughts and experiences in connection with this topic. Amy, for many, being late IS about the respect and honor you show yourself and others. Maria, I’m sure you need only 1 or 2 signs to correct course – my guess is you’re very attuned to when you need to slow down. Dell, I appreciate the choice you made. For others, forgoing the “carrot” (early retirement) might come with too many costs associated with it. It always boils down to making conscious choices on behalf of YOU and paying attention to whether your choices are working for you along the way. Again, thanks for sharing.

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