19 Successful Career Women on Slowing Down and Enjoying the Present

Stop speeding through life, and make the small moments count.

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Our brains have been wired by society to juggle large mental loads each and every day. As we strive to check off our to-do lists from the workplace and at home, it leaves us with barely any room to pay attention to the little details that actually make life what it is.

From the smell of your early morning coffee, to the quiet breath of your sleeping child on your chest, let’s do more to celebrate these wonderful small moments. Slow your pace, and be plugged in to the subtleties and nuances that make our lives truly special. 

Here’s how even the busiest women entrepreneurs and professionals make the time to slow down and cherish the moment.

Breathe in.

“I find that if I don’t remind myself to breathe, I am tense and don’t fully recognize the intensity and negative affect until hours later. I try to practice deep breathing for at least 1 minute every 2-3 hour, and while breathing in, I think of all I am grateful for. I remember my family, friends and how thankful I am to be able to dream and create changes in my life as I learn and grow.”

– Laurie Dunham, CEDRD, RD, Nutrition Therapist, Cincinnati, OH

Move to connect.

“Starting the day with my favorite exercise class really helps me slow down and appreciate my body for what it can do. We all know that movement is important for physical health, but I find the benefits go far beyond that. It’s a chance to challenge myself, work on being totally present, and also offers human connection.”

– Leanne Ray, MS, RDN, Nutrition Coach, Denver, CO

Celebrate all wins.

“A favorite practice that helps me stay present is to celebrate the small things that I do throughout the day. It’s so easy to frenetically cross off one item from a to-do list and jump into the next. Instead, I take the opportunity to celebrate, which gives me a chance to pause, breathe and really appreciate every little step along the way.”

– Linda Ugelow, Presentation and Confidence Coach, Boston, MA

Carve out the time.

“As a mom of four and business owner, life can easily get overscheduled and overcomplicated. I find that I have to set specific times for my work so that I can enjoy my time with them. I also have set times with them which means I might miss out on work opportunities. When I feel organized in this way, I am present. I am able to savor rocking and reading to my youngest, or having a conversation in the car driving to dance.”

– Devrie Pettit, MS, RDN, Registered Dietitian, South Jordan, Utah

Give yourself a break.

“Whether you have a scheduled lunch break or not, make it a priority to take a screen-free break during the day. Not only does this give your eyes much-needed rest, but you’ll likely return to work energized and more productive. If you can manage to get some movement in, such as walking, attending an exercise class or even just some light stretching, that will amplify the energizing effects of your break.

– Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN, Registered Dietitian, Chicago, IL

Love your pets.

“I work at home so many of my days I try to carve out blocks of time at my desk. Whenever I plan on running to grab a snack, my two pugs can often be found directly next to the wheels of my chair. It often reminds me to slow down and pet my cuties. The pause gives me time to remember that I am loved and appreciated – by more than just my dogs.”

– Melissa Burton, RDN, RYT, Non-diet Dietitian and Yoga Teacher, Los Angeles, CA

Breathe in your care.

“Whenever I feel stressed at work, I will use my favorite spearmint eucalyptus essential oils and give myself a small massage. The scent freshens me up so I can focus on how I am releasing tension slowly from my body. This self-care gesture reminds me that work is important, but it’s more crucial to take care of myself first!”

– Janice Chow, MS, RD, Dietitian and Mindfulness Coach, Chicago, IL

Enjoy the peace and quiet.

“As busy professionals, our to-do list is never-ending. As a result, we just “do-do-do” and never just stop, breath and appreciate. One of my favorite small moments is the quiet early mornings that I spend alone with my 9 month old baby before the frenzy of being mom of 5 and entrepreneur begins. The quietness along with the joy of just being present with my baby helps me really cherish and appreciate all the wonderful things in my life.”

— Sitinee Sheffert, Founder of Giving Artfully Kids, Park City, UT

Set your boundaries.

“Setting boundaries is key to unplugging. Turn off email notifications, check email during limited time frames, and create a cut off time to mentally be “done” with work for the day. These small disciplines and habits have really helped ease my day, increase productivity, and unplug from unnecessary stress.”

– Whitney Eaton MPH RD LD CPT, Nutrition Therapist, Midland, Texas

Wake up positive.

“First thing every morning before even getting out of bed, I say three things I’m thankful for, one of which is about myself. Doing this every morning before anything else puts me in a positive state of mind and keeps me keep my spirits up, no matter what the day brings.

– Jessica Kelley, MS, RD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, St. Louis, MO

Shift to the present.

“I used to wake up and check email before my feet hit the ground, but I no longer do that. Now I get up, enjoy my coffee, and get my kids ready for the day. When I am ready to engage with my work—then I check my email. It is a small shift in my life, but one that creates a drastically different result in my day—allowing me to be fully present for my family and for myself.”

– Regan Walsh, NYU-Certified Executive & Life Coach, Columbus, OH

Stare into their eyes.

“When my little one wakes up in the morning, he always stares at me with his beautiful eyes and gives me his best smile. And each and every single time, it makes me feel lucky, loved and alive. I would make that moment eternal!”

– Fabienne Raphaël, Online Business Consultant, Speaker, Podcaster, Montreal, Canada

Fill your cup up.

“Something that I’ve found helpful is reminding yourself that you can’t pour from an empty cup; you have to take care of yourself to be efficient and productive. That means taking breaks and coming back into the present moment. Remember: we work to live a fulfilling life, not live to work.”

– Hannah Turnbull, RDN, Nutrition therapist, Denver, CO

Be with nature.

“My solace is nature. I love to go to a nearby park, kick off my shoes and get grounded. I love the sounds of the birds and beautiful flowers. I will sometimes take a few minutes to lay in the grass and watch the clouds float by, or find a nearby fountain and sit at its edge listening to the water. Being in nature is a great way to slow down, unplug and recharge.”

– Joyce Blue, Self-Empowerment Coach, Boise, Idaho, USA

Stop and enjoy the view.

“Someone once said to me: ‘People get so wrapped up in going faster and being first that they miss all the little things. But it’s finding joy in little everyday things that will keep you going.’ To this day, I love to stop and watch the sunrise, no matter where I am.”

– Mandy Snell, Business Coach, Virginia Beach, VA

Savor every moment.

“Put your phone away when you’re with your kids, and savor the precious moments with them, whether at the playground or the dinner table. Be fully present when you’re with them. And when they’re away, you can be fully present at work.”

– Lainey Younkin, MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian, Boston, MA

Walk and unwind.

“For me, it’s making time for an evening walk on most days of the week. Even if it’s just a quick 10-minute walk around the neighborhood, enjoy the quiet time outdoors at the end of a busy day.”

– Emily Holdorf, MS, RDN, LDN, Registered Dietitian, Charlotte, NC

Be intentional.

“A helpful reminder is to approach things with intention. Whether it’s sitting down to respond to work e-mails or reading for leisure, when I’m coming from a place of intention I feel grounded and am reminded that I am where I need to be in that moment.”

– Kaycie Lindeman, RDN, Nutrition therapist, St. Paul, MN

Know you’re enough.

“I’ve found it incredibly helpful to look at a few mantras I keep right at my desk, such as “You have come a long way” and “Be productive, but calm.” These small reminders bring me back to the present moment and keep me grounded in the fact that the work I do is already enough.”

– Jessica Patel, RDN, LDN, Dietitian Nutritionist, Chicago, IL 

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