Our day to day lives are busy. Between work, running errands, 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 what to think! In fact, it sounded downright insane. I’m a mother, business owner, wife, and friend. How in the world would I have time to slow down?
For awhile, I didn't, but as my family life became more stressful due to moving house and caring for my mom who was sick with breast cancer, the idea of living a slow and simple life began to sound like a prescription for sanity.
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 creating an attitude of mindful living.
In the two years since I began, I haven't yet perfected the art of slow living, but I've managed to shift my family's overwhelm significantly and build more moments in each day for connection,
I’ve created a challenge to help you give slow family living a try.
This is 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. Here's how I simplified my family's morning routine for school days.
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. 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. Try these tips to get started with therapeutic writing, a healing practice which will help you work through some of your mental clutter and and grief you are experiencing.
Day 5: Make a home cooked meal. This one is especially important if you rely on eating out often. Today, focus on getting dinner on the table even if it’s macaroni and cheese or eggs and toast.
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 slow down.
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 and even the season.
Day 8: No phone during work time. Put your phone on silent, turn off notifications, or place it in a different room if you have to, but don’t touch it unless it’s an emergency.
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. If you are keen to reduce your family's tech use, try this gentle 7-day digital detox plan.
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, take a 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. Today’s challenge involves, you guessed it, doing nothing. Take 5 minutes out of your day to sit, unwind, take a deep breath, and do nothing. If doing nothing is too hard, try this 5- minute meditation exercise to help quiet your mind.
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. Look at everyone's schedules and see what commitments are a must, which can be done another time and which can be ended.
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. Getting dressed will be easy, and you’ll never look back! Use these minimizing tips to sort through your wardrobe.
Day 19: Visit a farmers market. Today’s task has two benefits. First, you get the chance to connect with your food and appreciate someone’s hard work. Second, you get to enjoy fresh produce right from the source!
Day 20: Simplify your beauty routine. How many beauty products do you have and how many do you actually use? Take a few moments to clear the clutter. This will help you start each day more easily with products you actually love.
Day 21: Relax. Take some time today to treat yourself to a little relaxation. Sit on your front porch 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.