From Parenting 24/7: University of Illinois Extension


Slow Down - Enjoy Life

Posted , updated Jun 07, 2005.

Slow Down - Enjoy Life

How many times do you catch yourself saying phrases like "just a second," "as soon as possible," "grab a bite," or "I've got to run?" Kirk Jones, Ph.D., and author of the book Addicted to Hurry: Spiritual Strategies for Slowing Down points out these phrases promote hurried living along with behavior like finishing someone's sentence, feeling anxious while waiting and dashing through a yellow light before it turns red.

Chronic hurry can impact your well-being and diminish the quality of time you spend with family and friends. Think of small things you can do to slow down. One way to start is to plan a "family night in."

What is a "family night in?" It's doing something together at home that everyone in the family can enjoy. It doesn't have to be a major event. In fact, simple things are often the most fun and relaxing.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about your family night in.

  • Have a backward evening. Wear your clothes backwards, eat dessert first at mealtime and make the evening fun.

  • Try eating your meal together with chopsticks or have a finger food meal. Everyone can pitch in and make carrot sticks, radish roses, cheese cubes, broccoli trees, etc.

  • Have fun creating "dough art" together. Start with frozen bread dough that's been thawed. Divide the dough and work on a clean, floured surface making your own dough sculptures. You can even paint the artwork with water and food coloring. Let the artwork raise in a warm area on a greased baking sheet until about double in size, then bake and enjoy eating your art!

  • Make a leaf collection of all the different leaves you can find in your yard, park or neighborhood. Make your own wrapping paper by painting the underside of the leaves lightly with washable paints, press the leaves on plain paper then carefully peel them off and you will have unique paper for fall gifts.

  • Play together. Outdoor games like volleyball, badminton, or horseshoes are options or go indoors and play dominoes or a board game.

Don't get bogged down in the preparation and planning. Spending relaxed time together with no schedule to keep or jobs to do can be wonderful. Just make certain everyone in the family gets a chance to enjoy some special time together.

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