Slow Down On The Go
Her World Singapore|June 2020
Hit pause and take a few steps back. In these stressful and anxiety-ridden times, slow living principles can help you keep calm and focus on what’s good for your mind and body.
Hayley Tai

FERINA NATASYA AZIZ

The founder of meditation studio House of Pause advocates taking time out to do things that are important for your well-being.

With more time on your hands now, keeping yourself on the move and being busy aren’t the only ways to feel productive. Instead, you should be more mindful of your body and focus on calming your senses, says Ferina Natasya Aziz, 32, founder of meditation studio House of Pause, which is also a guide to slow living.

“Many Singaporeans are resistant to slow living because they think of it as living life in ‘slow motion’,” she points out the misconception.

“Slow living is really about taking time to do things that are important to you, and to concentrate on those things.”

For instance, while working on your fitness is important, that doesn’t mean you should spend three hours on a HIIT workout.

Ferina says: “Many are going into autopilot mode and pushing their bodies during gym sessions just to feel that ‘high’ or that escape. But they fail to notice the subtle signs of stress.

“Our bodies can only hold that much stress before it accumulates into a strain or chronic pain.”

Ferina speaks from past experience – she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder six years ago.

Then, the former magazine writer lived life in the fast lane and thought it was the only way to go. She didn’t make time to take a break in her daily routine.

“Being busy seemed to be my default. I brushed aside my tiredness, and even when I needed sleep, I’d just carry on with work,” she shares.

“I could go for days with just four hours of sleep each night.”

She recalls: “I wanted to fill my portfolio with as much experience as possible, but I didn’t realise that I was drowning in my own expectations. When I was diagnosed, it felt like the universe was telling me to slow down and find what truly made me happy.”

That became her wake-up call and later, she founded House of Pause.

Ferina’s current routine consists of a weekly “check-in” with herself through journalling, making tea and enjoying the whole process, practising ashtanga yoga daily, and doing other exercises on the side.

While she knows that most women have hectic lives, she encourages them to find that quiet space in their lives – no matter how busy they are.

“I know not everyone has the luxury of time, but what I want to share here is that you need to find your own little activity that will bring the focus back to yourself, instead of what you’re used to doing at a fast pace,” she says.

In these pandemic times, it helps to take things slow and stick to a routine that won’t burn you out, says Charlotte Mei, a trained nutritionist who believes in spending quality time with her food, practising sustainability and maintaining good mental health.

She tells Her World: “I tend to be rather ‘kancheong’ (anxious) by nature... just the other day I cut my hand because I was rushing to prepare dinner, when I really had no reason to rush. So I’m always reminding myself to do things at a slower and more mindful pace.”

The 27-year-old, who’s based in Singapore, has found meaning in what she loves – food. She says she started making most of her meals at home last year when she stepped back and slowed down.

“Two years ago, I was working late nights and weekends nearly all the time. Then, I crashed from all of that,” she reveals. “I later realised that I was just trying to prove to myself that I could do all of those things, even when no one pressured me.”

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