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Experiments

Slow Living in a Fast Life – An Experiment

Exhausted. Restless. Overwhelmed

These are probably my most used words of late. For over a year actually. And it’s concerning.

From the beginning of 2023, there is just too much on my plate and there is a constant rush. How much ever I do, there is always more to do. The unshakable feeling that I should be doing better in every aspect of my life. And it’s all just…

Exhausting.

There it is again!

I tried to fix this last year and managed to change it from ‘Do-I-really-have-to-do-these-crap’ tasks to ‘I-love-doing-these’ tasks. But January 2024 taught me that too much is too much even if all of it is things you love doing.

My brain and body deserve better than to be on a constant overdrive and not enough nourishment.

Situation Right Now

I’m doing work I’m passionate about and I’m learning dance. I tend to overdo things I like. As a result, I have two gigs and dance practice from which I don’t really have proper off-days.

I also take the pressure of doing things amazingly well, even if it is a passion that I’m pursuing for the love of it. Because when is it ever enough to just enjoy it?

So, I find myself waking up anxiously thinking about work and struggling to sleep because I’m too excited to be doing more. I love every single thing I’m doing currently which is why I’m struggling to let go any. So what am I compromising? Food, keeping my place clean, and quality rest.

Not sustainable at all.

Hence, this project.

The Negative Factors

According to my analysis and reflection, these are the factors contributing to the problem:

  • Overstimulation and constant dopamine hits from social media – I had started being active on my Instagram and the response has been great. But that also led to me constantly seeking that response to feel good.
  • High self-expectations – Textbook perfectionist here!
  • Taking life too seriously – Why is it so hard for me to do something (I mean dancing) just for the love of it and not try to be the best at it? Why does it feel like I should do as much as possible and as soon as possible?
  • Losing sight of why I’m doing what I’m doing – If my passion is causing me more pain than joy, what’s the point?

Let’s Fix This: Slow Living in a Fast Life – An Experiment

I want to slow down and be able to enjoy everyday things. Give my brain and body enough breaks and nourishment so I can follow my passions sustainably without burning out.

So, we are taking action!

For the next few weeks (I’m estimating 6) I will work on one or two small changes each week to slow down. I’m not stopping until I feel calm and content regularly. I know the expected result is vague but it is what I seek to achieve and not exactly quantifiable.

Week 1 – Feb 12 to Feb 18 – The Social Media Detox

12/02/24

Focus of the week

I’ve just realised how addicted I have become to social media. My work is on that. I handle 3-4 Instagram accounts and that’s what’s paying my bills. But I have also been spending too much time on my own pages.

I have been giving the excuse that I want to grow on the platform (which I do) but I have also been doom scrolling, feeling worthless by looking at how well others are doing, getting a million ideas on what I could do next and what not. And all the positive engagement I have been getting there has also left me always craving for more.

I hate to admit this, but of late, I have been feeling like I’m not getting as much reach or growth as I deserve.

Uff…

Action Steps

As someone who is working as a social media manager, I cannot quit Instagram. But I can take a break from my accounts.

  • For Piqued Pilgrim, I’m doing a week off.
  • For Dancer Loading, I’m planning a month off. Maybe even until the end of March. That’s where the most overstimulation and high expectation thing is happening. I think even my focus has shifted from growing as a dancer to growing that page, which isn’t a good thing at all!

End of the Week Update

18/02/24

I did pretty well!

Without Instagram and constantly watching what others are up to, I felt less FOMO and my self-expectations were less suffocating.

In addition to this, I also skipped weekend dance workshops (which usually means 4 – 8 hours of dancing a day) to allow my body and brain to rest! I also spoke to one of my clients and got myself a two-day break each week.

Overall, great progress! Definitely starting to feel better and my sleep cycle is grateful for it.

Week 2 – Feb 19 to Feb 25 – The Break!

19/02/24

No particular agenda this week as a 4-day trip to a Goan village got pushed from the first week of Feb to this week!

So, just as my brain is getting de-fried, I’m hoping this will be a good break from routine and help me reset the pace at which I’m running.

End of the Week Update

25/02/24

It was just the thing I needed!

Four days in the beautiful Goan village of Aldona with not too many things to do in a beautiful Homestay where people are living a slow life! It ended up being a slow-living retreat of sorts that really helped me calm down and reaccess my approach to my goals.

You can read about the beautiful experience in Aldona here.

More on this coming up!

Enjoyed Reading? Do Like and Share 🙂

Author

  • Nivetha Kannan

    Nivetha Kannan is a joyous soul who loves to follow the flow of life with a open and curious heart. With 5 years of writing experience and a useless law degree under her belt, she hopes to inspire and encourage people to live a life of simple curiosity. As a passionate writer, dancer and traveller, she loves to tell stories through her words, moves and journeys.

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Nivetha Kannan

Nivetha Kannan is a joyous soul who loves to follow the flow of life with a open and curious heart. With 5 years of writing experience and a useless law degree under her belt, she hopes to inspire and encourage people to live a life of simple curiosity. As a passionate writer, dancer and traveller, she loves to tell stories through her words, moves and journeys.

1 Comment

  1. Amulya N says:

    I’d like to give some unsolicited advice about the dance thing, if you don’t mind, because having a passion that’s becoming a burden is something that I relate to. I would recommend a book called ‘Ikigai’ (or you could just Google the concept of it). The book is about a Japanese philosophy of being in the state of flow. First, ask yourself what you think about when you’re dancing. Is it how much progress you’ve made, or how much you are improving? Or do you have lesser thoughts and you just live in the moment? Thinking about progress and constant improvement while doing something removes the focus on the present and pressures you to constantly keep achieving and going up. If that’s the case with you, especially since you dance for long hours at a time, remember to stay in the moment while pursuing your passions and really let yourself loose and loose yourself in it. In due time, progress will be made on it’s own. To quote a beautiful dialogue from 3 Idiots, don’t run behind success, but run behind excellence. Then success itself will come after you.
    Hope this helped!

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