I am writing this entry from our new home in Providence Forge, Virginia. Never heard of it? You have lots of company…most people are not familiar with this very small town. It is halfway between Richmond and Williamsburg, there are very, very few shops and restaurants and one needs to drive miles to get to a supermarket. To say that the pace of life is slower here compared to Northern Virginia/D.C./Maryland and other major metropolitan areas is a major understatement.
Personally, I grew up in New York City and after my stint in the U.S. Navy, I lived in Fairfax County for 35 years. I am used to a MUCH faster pace of life and it is quite an adjustment to this much slower pace that my current location provides. I am very much embracing this change of pace and I am noticing a profound lowering of my stress levels, my blood pressure is lower and I am sleeping better.
Having many things go on at the same time produces a fast pace and this usually equates to a heightened level of stress. Stress, in turn, leads to a number of detrimental physical and psychological impacts including stress eating, higher levels of cortisol, elevated levels of blood pressure and anxiety.
It is pretty easy at the later stages of life to advise people to “slow things down”. When you are not at the age of working a full time job, caring for custodial age children, having mortgages, car payments and other financial obligations, “slowing things down” becomes a pretty easy task. However, when all of the aforementioned responsibilities do exist, “slowing things down” becomes a monumental task.
Overall health is improved on many fronts when stress levels are lowered. Perhaps there are some responsibilities/obligations that are able to be shed even if you are at those stages of life when there are many reasons why it is difficult to “slow things down”. Take a step back, examine your pace of life and see if this feels like a healthy or unhealthy pattern. If you deem this is unhealthy, try to find ways of “slowing things down”.
And with the theme of “slowing things down”, I do remember in college at the parties, the “slow” songs were a welcome time to get very close to the person you wanted to embrace, and the first one I remember from freshman year was “Color My World” by Chicago. Ah, the memories of youth!