For the majority of my life, learning how to slow down has been very much a work-in-progress. Several years ago, I was completely unfamiliar with the concept, however, due to various life circumstances, I've had regular opportunities to re-examine my pace in life and to make choices as to what would work best moving forward.

This last year or so, I chose to exercise really hard, to work even harder, and to fill my weekends with social engagements. Then, three months ago, I found out I was pregnant and everything started to change - again.

As a goal-oriented woman who prides herself in knowing what she wants and making it happen, I felt extremely grateful to be pregnant - especially since this is not a guarantee in life. I was very excited for about a week - I called immediate family to share the news and was unable to contain myself when I saw friends in person. I thought I had it all figured out. Think again.

I quickly started to experience severe pain that left me on the couch for two weeks. I was diagnosed with three different pregnancy-related conditions that not only caused pain but left me completely exhausted - much more than the normal first-trimester fatigue (not to mention the all-day bouts of nausea).

I realized that my body was providing me with my next opportunity to learn how to slow down and I had to make some choices - quickly. I decided to greatly minimize my work commitments and to give up my intense hour-long daily exercise routine (it was just too painful). I also scaled down my social calendar, selecting fewer and more easy-going activities.

To say that all of this has been a challenge and a learning experience would be an understatement. Here are a few lessons I've learned, in hope that you can apply whatever you find helpful to your own life.

Sometimes a packed schedule can give you the feeling that you're accomplishing a lot, really successful and in high-demand. While all this action and busyness may make you feel important, it's still possible to feel successful without killing yourself. It's less about quantity and more about quality; less about ego and more about substance. Also, if you don't learn how to slow down on your own, your body may take matters into its own hands. Last, slowing down is a body/mind/soul/heart experience. You can't just say you're going to slow down and make it happen. All of you has to be on board (or forced to be on board) or it won't work.

5 Benefits of Slowing Down:

1) You experience the present more fully and are able to be here now without worrying about what's next.

2) The days and weeks feel longer and you gain a truer understanding of the value of time.

3) You're better able to notice the people, the moments or the situations that give you the most energy and fulfillment and to prioritize these moving forward. When you choose to spend time with people, you're better able to connect with them and on a deeper level.

4) You're able to get back in touch with your creative, strategic side that allows you to think big and create a vision.

5) You remember what you're grateful for because you have time to think about it.

As you think about how slowing down may serve you, ask yourself a few questions. What's the easiest thing you can do this week to slow down? What's the benefit? What's the cost? What are you learning about yourself? What will you do differently moving forward?

You may find that learning how to slow down is a wonderful gift you can give yourself, your loved ones, and your career. Or you may discover that you're at a point in your life where slowing down simply doesn't serve you. The important thing is to do some honest, careful thinking about what works best for you right now and to know that you always have a choice moving forward. You're worth it.

Author's Bio: 

Amber Rosenberg is a professional life coach who helps high-achieving working mothers manage their guilt and stress and re-define success on their own terms. After 12 years struggling to create her own work/life balance in the corporate and non-profit worlds, she is passionate about helping women actively choose how they want to spend their time. A popular speaker and frequently interviewed for national print, TV and radio media outlets, Amber co-authored the book Inspiration to Realization with a chapter on "How to Manage Your Love/Hate Relationship with Time". To sign-up for a complimentary coaching consultation, order a signed copy of her book or sign-up for the Working Mothers' FREE monthly e-zine, go to