Reflections from a Therapist: On Slowing Down

It’s so easy to get lost in our own lives.

This last month in quarantine has taught me so many valuable lessons, especially in the art of slowing down. Thus far, I have been blessed with a fast paced life, filled with love and joy. As I slowly approach 40, most of my life until now has been rushed. I always felt as though I never had a moment to sit with my thoughts, to truly process it.

After college, I got married. I started graduate school that same summer and while in grad school, had two children, 16 months apart. I soon added a third child, and have been raising three children while nurturing a career and founding and running a company. A meaningful life both blessed and very full.

When I would feel overwhelmed, I repeated the mantra to myself–”Just keep moving forward.” I’ve worked so hard to get here and have been blessed, I don’t have time to look back now. I would take short pauses like vacations, refresh, then move on. I never allowed myself to think past that.

Until now.

All of the sudden, my reality has suddenly changed. I have started to learn to be present and thankful. I have so much time! I sit, play, read and chat. I “go” to school and laugh with my kids for hours on end. I’ve learned to cook, and have found out, I’m actually a decent cook. I light candles in the evening in an effort to enjoy the simple pleasures. I get outside and go to the park with my husband and kids. We go to a lake down the block from my house daily, a place I had only visited a handful of times before. I started reading three books. I rest in cozy clothes. I work from home and have created a comforting workspace. I have not been late or rushed for work or social events. I drink my coffee slowly versus rewarming it several times. I take care of my plants. I am able to keep up with my five daily prayers. I meditate and I recite verses from the Quran. Suddenly, I have free mental space.

While coronavirus has brought much sadness, frustration and pain, it has also brought some good. It has come with the realization that slowing down, stopping for a moment, is a valuable endeavor. That there are things close at home that are worth enjoying. That time for ourselves is important. That there are many small things that bring great joy.

I have learned that slowing down is a gift in itself. That I will not falter in my achievements if I take a moment to reflect–time to enjoy what I have around me.

May you also find comfort and joy in this time of slowing down.

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About The Author
NoreenNoreen Iqbal, LCSW is the founder and therapist at Olive Branch Therapy Group. Noreen works with adolescents, young adults, adults, families and couples.