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Stressbusters 2021: Let’s Slow Down

At this time of the semester, schedules begin to change in a strange way. It suddenly seems that meetings are thinning out and the calendar has more open spaces. Yet (curve ball!), the pressures of deadlines, of finality, of the holidays seem to squeeze those “extra” minutes dry. The vision of a vacation on the horizon seems to make the stretch of reading days and final exams even harder to process.

Let’s slow down.

Right now.

I will confess that I have been consuming information like my French bulldog inhales food. (Check out our stressbusters page to see more furry friends). I listen to class readings at 2.5x speed on the Speechify app while running errands. I skim books looking for relevant information or further questions to pose in term papers all while feeling the clock ticking towards due dates.

The funny (not funny) thing is that this academic exercise of scheduling plays out in the real world, leaving a great deal of harm in its wake. Carlo Petrini discusses this in his Slow Food Nation, why our food should be good, clean and fair. I first read this book while taking a summer course in Florence, Italy. The vibe of Italian culture is largely to slow down, adagio, and simplify. I would pore over this book while enjoying a single piece of lasagna in Piazza Santa Croce for an hour or so. (Books make the best dinner dates!). This is not a book to cram, but to savor. And the prose in turn brings mindfulness to the interaction with food itself, where it comes from and what it does in culture. For more on food’s backstory, check out Becky Diamond’s recent post Food Behind the Scenes.

For more opportunities to slow down, check out some other activities at NBL on the Books We Read Stressbusters page.

This week, we will have two chamber music performances in Douglass Library on December 13th and 16th.