It's safe to say that we're all here on a journey to find joy in our daily lives. However, sometimes we get caught up in the daily grind and life becomes a little overwhelming. This month, we hope to help you slow down and simplify as you follow along with our Simplify Month challenges.
So far this year, we've focused on cleaning up our wallets as we Focused on Finances. We've made a greater effort to grow and nurture relationships as a part of the February challenges. In March, we made an effort to get into better shape as we focused on fitness. Hopefully after last month, your house is feeling a little bit more organized! This month, we just want you to focus on being present and soaking up every single moment.
It sounds pretty easy, but we've found that slowing down, embracing the moment and keeping life simple is one of the hardest things for people to do these days. Especially for those who are constantly taking care of the needs of those around them… we're calling it:
So who is ready to take a few things off your plate? Keep reading to find out how to take a few baby steps to simplifying your life this month!
Simplifying can be a mighty big challenge.
From the words of Eckhart Tolle, “In today's rush, we all think too much – seek too much – want too much – and forget about the joy of just being.” In order to really enjoy the present, we need to slow down and embrace the little things.
SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
Step 1. Print the Simplify Month calendar – if you're not already on the mailing list, SIGN UP HERE to get the May calendar emailed to you.
Step 2. Follow along! Each week there is one main challenge for you to focus on all week. Plus a bonus challenge, tip or helpful habit to keep you focused half-way through the week. Then of course, wrap up the week with a simple date or family night to help keep you focused on the people that matter most.
Step 3. As always, adapt the calendar to work for your needs and help you get the most out of the monthly challenge.
Who is ready to join the challenge!?
Need a little extra encouragement? Brene Brown says, “It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.” Have courage, my friend!
Since May starts mid-week, there is a Bonus Challenge before the weekly challenges officially begin. This is the perfect opportunity to sit down and take a good 5-10 minutes to think about what you want to get out of this month. We call it a “Thought Download.” Simply open a notebook, grab your favorite pen and start writing in response to the prompt!
“SAY NO” WEEK
It's time to get down to business. Choose 3 things to say no to this week that don't really fit your schedule. I know you might be a habitual yes person, but sometimes you just need to know your boundaries. If you're not used to saying no, it might seem awkward at first, but just remember that YOU matter just as much as the person you are saying “no” to!
There are many tough situations that we need to say no to, but don't know how. Here are a few ways to say “no” while still being kind:
- “This week won't work. Do you have any time in your schedule to meet next week?”
- “I'm sorry, but I can not do that this week. My schedule is already full.”
- “No, that doesn't work for us.”
- “I'd really love to help you out with that, but this is not a good time. Please ask again!”
- “Thanks for thinking of me, but I have too much on my plate right now.”
- “I'm honored that you asked me to go with you, but we already had plans.”
Bonus Challenge for this week is a super helpful habit to get into. Plug your phone in at 8pm and don't touch it for the rest of the night. Not only will this help you sleep better, but this will allow you a little time to unwind without any distractions, which means you might be able to get more done the next day!
Choose 3 things you can delegate to someone else this week – then get to delegating! We all have a lot on our plates, but we're surrounded by people that have skills. We don't have to do everything on our own. What can you easily delegate that will actually make a difference?
Here are a few ways that you can successfully delegate:
- Ask kids to help around the house – check out this list of chores kids can do by age!
- Enlist your family to help with dinner each night.
- Hire a teenager to watch the kids so you can get some free time.
- Find a carpool group you trust and take turns dropping the kids off instead of doing it every day.
- This is a little out of the box, but Get Your Pretty On will take over the daunting task of deciding what to wear everyday! Let them hook you up with a wardrobe plan that is beautiful and easy to follow!
- Have Walmart Grocery employees shop for, bag up, and load your groceries into your car!
- Do a meal swap! Get together with some friends and make ahead several meals and swap them out. You'll all go home with easy dinners.
Bonus Challenge: Simplify meal time. Instead of running away with your hands up or crying in the corner during the most hectic and sometimes dreaded part of the day, make dinner easier! Take a few minutes and prep easy meals that your family loves. Use the crock pot, prep double and freeze for later, or have brinner aka breakfast for dinner. Do whatever you can to make your meal time easier and more enjoyable for YOU!
Take a deep breath because this one might be hard for some of you. Schedule 30 minutes every day this week just for you-time. Breathe! You can do this! It might be the last 30 minutes before you go to bed or it might be on your lunch hour, but take time for YOU this week.
Understandably, there might be huge obstacles to this task, but you deserve the time, friend! Put it on the calendar, find a friend to trade babysitting with, or wake up early – you are worth it!
Here are some affordable self-care ideas:
- Read a book
- Read a magazine
- Paint your nails
- Take a bubble bath
- Catch up on your favorite show
- Give yourself a facial
- Call a friend and catch up
- Meet up with a friend for lunch
- Go on a walk
- Take a nap
- Get outside for some Vitamin D
- Do something you used to love as a kid
- Trade massages with your spouse
- Listen to your favorite music
- Sit alone in the quiet
Bonus Challenge: Set aside a “power hour” to take a nap or do something for your soul. You might want someone to join you and that's okay. Whatever you do, make sure it's life giving and brings you joy!
CLEAR THE AIR WEEK
For the last challenge of the month, we're encouraging you to take something that is weighing you down… and tackle it! This might be the hardest challenge of the month, but you're going to feel like a million bucks when you're done.
Interestingly, these things can be weighing you down in two different ways, physically and mentally. Physically, you might need to go through your junk draw or that one scary corner in your closet. Mentally, you might need to mend a broken relationship with a friend or loved one.
Either way, take some time to think of the things that you feel are weighing you down and try to fix them. Call that friend or family member and make amends. Letting whatever it was that was bothering you go will make you feel so much better. Likewise, you'll feel a lot better when you don't have to search through 5 million items to find a AA battery in your junk drawer! Whatever you do, take note of how you feel before and how you feel after you tackle it!
Each weekend be sure to make time for the important things like family time and date night. We encourage you to keep your family activities super simple this month. Go out for ice cream or make a treat together. Make an extra effort to connect in simple ways like game night, which is fun and encourages friendly conversation.
We are also challenging you to schedule in a “do-nothing weekend” where you literally clear your schedule of all outside obligations and relax together as a family. Sounds crazy… but these kind of weekends will save your life as they allow you to recharge and deepen emotional connections.
When all is said and done, just remember these words from Greg Mckeown – “Instead of spinning your wheels trying to get everything done, focus your effort on getting the right things done.”
HOW DID SIMPLIFY MONTH GO FOR YOU?
Be sure to take a minute to do another thought download and reflect on how your month went. Reflecting now will help you see how far you've come and might help you decide to make a few of these challenges into habits.
What did you enjoy about slowing down? We'd love to hear all about your month and what you learned about yourself in the comments!