When I have back-to-back trips, as I have the past few weeks, I start to feel like I've barely gotten one foot in the door before I have to pack up and head out again. It can leave me feeling hectic. It can make me feel perpetually rushed. I find that when I get into overdrive like that I need to be very deliberate about slowing down and re-calibrating, and mealtime is the perfect opportunity to do so.
It takes concentration to stop from whizzing through the meal at first. I think about each bite as I assemble it on my fork. Occasionally, I even put my fork down altogether to really listen to what my husband is saying across the table or, if I'm alone, watch the hummingbird hover outside the window or inhale the scent of my neighbors' orange blossoms. At first, the individual actions can feel plodding and exaggerated. But as the days wear on, I begin to feel like my feet are touching earth again, like my breath is reaching my fingertips again. It feels so good I wonder how I could ever have let myself become otherwise.
This week, I challenge you to slow down and take twice as long to eat as you normally do. Start out with a baseline by timing how long it takes you to eat dinner tonight–from plates down to plates up. Then, for the rest of the week, set the kitchen timer for twice that amount at mealtime. At first, it may feel like an eternity. But notice the effect it has on you–what you eat, how you go about your meals, how you feel, and even what you choose to make for dinner–throughout the week. It's a great chance to catch your breath before the rush of summer is upon us.