Our day to day lives are busy. Between work, running errands, listening to the world around you, managing all the household tasks, cooking meals, and trying to keep up with everyone’s schedules it’s easy to burn out fast. When I first was introduced to the idea of slow living, I didn’t know how to feel about it. In fact, it sounded downright impossible. I’m a mother, business owner, wife, daughter, sister and friend. How in the world would I have time to slow down and still live up to my own standards?
Slow living encourages us to adopt a lifestyle that focuses on savoring the life you have, fully engaging in your life every single day, and seeking meaning in the moments. Slow living is cultivating an attitude of mindful living.
In the few years since I began, I haven’t yet perfected the art of slow living, but I’ve managed to shift my overwhelm significantly and build more moments in each day for connection. Not every day is perfect and not every season of my life is perfect, but my awareness of slowing down is more acute during those times which makes my effort much more concerted. Below is a 21-day challenge that’s perfect for those of you who are feeling overwhelmed by your day to day life or feel out of the loop when it comes to your own life.
The 21 Day Slow Living Challenge
Day 1: Go for a walk each day. Daily walks are not only good for the body but also the mind. Find a place free from distractions, preferably with some green space, and go for a walk each day.
Day 2: Create a daily routine. Creating a morning and evening routine will help take some of the stress out of your day. Make a list of what is most important to you and work each item into your daily routines. If you already have a daily routine, consider revisiting it and making some changes.
Day 3: Focus on one task at a time. We live in a multitasking world, and we often try to do too many things at once and we end up not doing them well. Instead, focus on one task at a time and give it your complete attention!
Day 4: Start a journal. You don’t have to write the next best-selling memoir in here, but you should start a journal if you don’t already have one. Writing will help empty your brain after a long day. If this is new to you – writing just a single word to describe what you’re feeling can go a long way.
Day 5: Make a nutrient filled home cooked meal. This one is especially important if you rely on carryout.
Day 6: Read a book. We often let our hobbies and interests fall by the wayside in our busy schedules. Today, give yourself a minimum of 15 minutes of uninterrupted reading time to ground yourself and get lost in someone else’s world.
Day 7: Become aware of what’s around you. When was the last time you stopped everything you were doing and took the time to appreciate your surroundings? Take a minute to look around you and notice things such as the weather, the changes leaves or listen to the symphony of tree frogs in the evening.
Day 8: No phone during work time. Put your phone on silent, turn off notifications, or place it in a different room to avoid distractions.
Day 9: Make your evening free of technology. For many, this can create a sense of emptiness because we rely so much on our TVs and electronics to provide us with entertainment. Challenge yourself to make at least some of your evenings free of technology and TV time, and instead, reconnect as a family or spend some time on yourself.
Day 10: Make a list of the things that are most important to you. Our wants and needs can change almost daily. Take some time tonight and make a list of all the things that are most important to you. When you get caught up or sidetracked in life, look at this list and see if your actions are matching the things important to you.
Day 11: Quit the comparison game. Stop trying to keep up with the Jones’ and focus on the life you have right in front of you. Take today to delete or hide social media accounts that leave you feeling bad about yourself; negative feels happen more often when you are comparing yourself to others.
Day 12: Practice gratitude. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the experiences and things we own that we don’t take a minute to be thankful for them. Take a moment today and appreciate what you already have and the blessings in your life.
Day 13: Engage fully with the people in your life. Put down your phone and rid yourself of distractions. Be present in your conversations and listen to what those around you have to say.
Day 14: Do nothing. Yep, you read that right. Take 5 minutes out of your day to sit, unwind, take a deep breath, and do nothing.
Day 15: Enjoy the little things. Take delight in the little yet simple things around you. Maybe it’s a frozen treat you used to have as a kid, or maybe it’s just watching your kids play in the backyard.
Day 16: Evaluate your purchasing habits. Do the things you own thrill you? Are you spending the cash you earn on items that give you pleasure? Check in with the list you made to see if your spending aligns.
Day 17: Say no. Part of the art of slow living is figuring out what serves your slow family living goals and which need to go. Saying no empowers you to make room in your life for other things you enjoy.
Day 18: Give a capsule wardrobe a try. Capsule wardrobes take all the guess work out of what to wear by paring down your wardrobe to only the essentials. Simplify!
Day 19: Visit a farmer’s market. Enjoy the chance to connect with your food and appreciate someone’s hard work.
Day 20: Simplify your beauty routine. How many beauty products do you have and how many do you use? Take a few moments to clear the clutter. This will help you start each day more easily with products you love.
Day 21: Relax. Take some time today to treat yourself to a little relaxation. Sit on your front porch with a hot cup of tea and watch the sunset, take a nap, or even just sit still and do nothing. I love making self-care lists so when I have a few moments, I can choose something I know makes me feel great. Whatever your choice, make sure it is something relaxing, after all, one of the results of embracing slow and simple living is creating the space to enjoy life.
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