An Update and The Slow Down Challenge

Wowza.

The first week of school has been fun, tiring (I’m talking to you, insomnia), and busy. I’m so thankful for all of it though. I can already tell that blogging and blog-reading will not be happening quite as much, but I do love posting for things like MIMM and WIAW, so I’ll try to do those as much as possible along with other super-duper posts! 🙂

So I told you that I would do a little Slow Down Challenge recap! As I’ve said before, I found the Slow Down Challenge through Lindsay at Cotter Crunch. I can be an uptight, go-go-go kinda person (probably the reason for my insomnia…), so Jeff Goins’ challenge definitely intrigued me as he explained how we need to “stop and smell the roses” more often. I truly think that following the simple, 5-day challenge has helped me to be more aware and thankful for the very little things in life. Cliche, I know, but it’s not often that I can genuinely say that. It helped me to be more at peace. There are no intricate steps in this challenge, so you don’t have to worry about digging holes in your yard to find the meaning of life or anything. I especially loved that I could incorporate my faith into this challenge.

You can sign up on Jeff Goins’ post about the challenge, and you will get email updates each day starting the day you sign up. Here is what the challenge looked like:

DAY 1: #NOTICE

Some content from the email:

“Life is not a race. It’s a walk around the block, a casual stroll through the park, a deep abiding in where you are right now.”

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A few things I noticed:

  • The peace of eating breakfast with the sun peering through the kitchen.
  • The sizzling of food in the pan.
  • Dad lookin’ spiffy for an interview. So proud of him.

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I liked making that little extra effort to let the blessings in my life sink in. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day, and it’s always nice to embrace the peace of the morning. Hearing the sizzling of food in the pan brings me comfort and gratitude that I have home-cooked meals to eat. Finally, seeing my dad walk out the door with his suit and tie (Justin Timberlake) fills my heart with pride and admiration.

DAY 2: #SAVOR

Some content from the email:

“Our lives become nothing more than constant task lists, which cause us to move from one thing to the next without really enjoying any of it. But what is the point of a life like that?”

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Some things I savored:

photo

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Man oh man did I savor that Whole Grain Pizza Quiche. Like I said, it took me nearly an hour to finish that little thing, and I loved every nibble of it. I really did feel 100x more satisfied at the end. I tend to eat pretty fast, so this was a nice change of pace, and I definitely want to savor my food more often. Even savoring seemingly trivial moments in life helps change your perspective for the better. It puts things in slow motion so that you can appreciate every aspect of what you’re doing.

DAY 3: #FOCUS

Some content from the email:

“When you try to do more, you accomplish less. When you multitask, you’re not only communicating a priority; you’re diluting your focus. As Confucius once said,

Man who chases two rabbits catches neither.’

There is a cost to our constant productivity. When we try to do too many things, we end up doing them poorly.”

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Some things I focused on:

  • Eating breakfast outside on the perfect September morning without Food Network or blogging.
  • Writing my college essays.

I was sooo tempted to keep Food Network on while I was eating my breakfast, but I forced myself to just go outside in the fresh air to enjoy my hot bowl of oatmeal. Oh my goodness. I could not have been happier with that decision because the minimal distractions not only helped me to FOCUS, but they also allowed me to NOTICE and SAVOR. Three in one, eh? Also, doing work without distractions is much easier said than done especially if your work is done on the computer. Talk about self-control!

DAY 4: #LETGO

Some content from the email:

“We need to learn to fall in love with the whole process of life, not just a particular event.”

“Why do we need to surrender to these moments that frustrate us to no end? Because:

  • They teach us to let go of control.
  • They remind us life is not just about “me.”
  • They help us become more patient.”

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Some things that I let interrupt me:

  • Two younger boys (our neighbors) who wanted to play with Ben and me
  • My little cousin in California who read and talked to me over FaceTime while I was doing some work

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[source]

I love children. I’ve been called “mother” many times by my friends, brother, and even my dad since I’m that kind of person who shows motherly concern all the time. Like nearly everyone else though, I don’t always appreciate being interrupted by children. However, Jesus himself said that we must be like children in order to enter the Kingdom. Playing with the neighbors may have made delayed me from eating dinner and slightly over-bake my banana muffins, but I had a fun time with them. Same goes with my cousin. She did a wonderful job reading many of her books to me, and was understanding when I told her I was listening even though I may not have been looking at her. They all give me a good laugh too 🙂

DAY 5: #GRATITUDE

Some content from the email:

“Say ‘thank you.’ Don’t just think it or tell it to yourself. Actually speak the words — and mean them.

Be grateful for the moments that slow you down, the ones that cause you to take your time. Use these opportunities to appreciate what you already have and tend to miss.”

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Some things I was (and am) grateful for:

  • My family
  • Breakfast (recurring theme…)
  • A beautiful day
  • Seeing friends
  • A good first day of school

I’m going to be honest–this week was rough because of my insomnia. My family and friends have been nothing but loving and supportive though, and that nearly erases the misery of my exhaustion. Offering up my suffering for those who are in greater pain than me also helps to make it more bearable. I’ve also tried looking at how good my school days have been despite my tiredness, because they really have been great. It’s also fun to see my friends every day again 🙂

So there ya have it! This was my experience during the Slow Down Challenge. I absolutely loved it and would recommend that anyone and everyone try it. I hope that it helps to open your eyes and slow you down like it did for me. For me, it was a prayerful experience, but even if you’re not religious (heck, you could be atheist), this could help you zone into the little things that truly make you happy in your life. I find myself going back to these five things daily now, and I’ll probably do this challenge formally again. I’m subscribed to Jeff Goins’ blog now and his In-Between Book has more about slowing down if you’re interested too!

Have a lovely Sunday!

So tell me: Would you try the Slow Down Challenge? What is one thing that you’re grateful for today?

 

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8 thoughts on “An Update and The Slow Down Challenge

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