Self + Care

Mindfulness Challenge: 7 Days of Slow Living

Mindfulness Challenge: 7 Days of Slow Living | The Bold+Balanced Life by Alex Benkast

These days, it doesn’t take much to distract us. We have ever-increasing choices and never enough time. We’re always busy, always looking for the next best thing. And yet, despite all the busyness, there’s that nagging fear of missing out. So how do we counteract the constant noise that leaves many of us feeling drained?

mind·ful·ness: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

A little mindfulness a day keeps the doctor away.

I’m actually serious about this one. When I tried to recover from my first burnout a couple of years ago, my then therapist gave me The Mindful Way through Depression. I was skeptical, but also desperate enough to give it a try. Not only did this book introduce me to meditation, but doing the suggested exercises (such as the body scan, mindful eating, and walking meditation) helped me get off the anti-anxiety medication I had been taking at the time.

So when I caught a lingering cold a few weeks ago (which usually happens when I’m overextending myself), I knew it was time for a refresher course. Coincidentally, one of my favorite YouTubers, Sadia Badiei, posted a 7 Days of Slow Living challenge right around that time (see video below). And funny enough, she needed to recover from a cold as well.

Your body knows best.

Catching a cold usually means I’ve been ignoring my body’s early warning signs. That’s teeth-clenching and irritability for me. For you, it might be tension headaches, nail-biting, itchiness or insomnia. In fact, the American Institute of Stress identified 50 common signs and symptoms. Knowing your body’s early warning signs allows you to slow down before things get out of hand. If you’re someone who suffers from PMS, that week should always be a week of slow living in my opinion.

Slow living = intentional living.

I highly recommend watching the video below and checking out Sadia’s printable guide, but here’s a quick overview:

  1. Engage the senses: take a moment and notice what you can see, feel, hear, smell, and taste.
  2. Take a deep breath: from the book I mentioned above, I recommend an exercise called The Three-Minute Breathing Space Practice.
  3. Eat mindfully: prepare a wholesome meal without distractions (no phone or Netflix!) and then savor each bite as you eat it.
  4. Organize your space: declutter, tidy and clean your home and workspace—without distractions.
  5. Spread the love: write down the things you’re grateful for and spend some quality time with your loved ones.
  6. Listen: create a playlist of songs you love and enjoy an uplifting podcast or audiobook.
  7. Practice self-care: go for a walk in nature, try a new hobby, or read a book. Need more inspiration? Here you go.

Further reading:

How to Reach Goals Without Getting Overwhelmed

SIDE NOTE: While I’m a firm believer in preventative measures, life’s a bitch sometimes. Unforeseen things still have the potential to push me off track, which is why for the first time in 14 weeks, I wasn’t able to stick with my Sunday posting schedule, let alone keep up my good habits. My kiddo was really sick and that always scares me more than anything.

Image: João Silas

Mindfulness Challenge: 7 Days of Slow Living | The Bold+Balanced Life by Alex Benkast