We’ve all seen the bumper sticker, “Slow down, this isn’t the Mainland.” But even busy residents wonder how to do it with so much on our plates. If you’re not sure but would like to find out, consider the following suggestions for a slower, more peaceful lifestyle.

Identify the most important. Plan no more than three things for yourself in the day. Hone in on what’s important to you and resist the temptation to add more to the list. This requires being honest and realistic with the time and energy you have for the day. Ease into your morning gently and set expectations you can meet without feeling rushed or stressed. A quick self-check can help you get back on track. Ask, “Is this essential to me?”

Release your FOMO. The fear of missing out on something is nothing more than it suggests, it’s just fear. Take that emotion out of the equation by letting it go. Will your life change for the worse if you don’t make that event? Trust that what you need to do is take care of your own needs for that moment, that evening or week. In the big picture, you’ve not missed anything. You’ve just stayed in your flow!

Be ok with saying “no.” Learn to say no and don’t feel guilty about it. If you’re a habitual people-pleaser, this may take practice. Try saying, “No, this doesn’t work for me,” but anything else like, “right now” suggests you may say “yes” later. This means you’re only postponing dealing with uncomfortable emotions that often come with setting boundaries. Most people will eventually come to terms with you honoring your own needs first.

Meditate. Unplug from your device, switch off the voices in your head, and tune in to your own spirit. Meditation is an effective way to reduce stress, control anxiety, and promote emotional well-being. Even scientists have agreed it has many benefits. If getting into a meditative space is a challenge for you, start by finding a quiet room, taking some deep breaths, and turning your attention inwards for a few moments. Think of it as a muscle, the more you practice, the easier it becomes.

Slowing down your hectic schedule is essential for a healthy body and mind. Let go of the unimportant and take time out for yourself to achieve a more balanced life and a pace that suits your needs. You’ll feel much better for it physically and emotionally.—RG