Mindful May – A lifestyle challenge

Cass and her husband, Rafael, in the woods.

Cass and her husband, Rafael, in the woods.

My husband is referring to May 2017 as “Mayhem May.” It is true he and I have full plates these next 31 days, and we know we are not alone, May is a month full of wrapping up projects, graduations, and a big transitions. Many people move or change jobs in May.  Each shift we take in life requires a great deal of mental energy, so whatever you have in store this May, perhaps you feel a need for extra time and space.

Why is it “Mayhem May” for us? Well, we are planning a wedding reception, and doing it all on our own – the inexpensive route that is paid for with time, energy, physical work – and decisions. Since this party is all ours, each and every decision, whether big or small, is on our shoulders and in our minds. And man, that is exhausting! After a day at The Studio, full of management choices, my mind is barely open for another decision – even a simple one like what to make for dinner while tackling my wedding to-do list. At the end of the day my mind is simply ‘over’ making decisions. I can only assume this is a common thread amongst all of us. Which is why we often turn to television or the internet – to browse and zone-out , rather than choose and decide.

A few years ago I read an article in the New York Times describing decision fatigue. Essentially the article explained that humans only have so much metal energy and will-power, so as we make decisions throughout the day (big ones, for work and school – and small ones, what to eat, or wear), the ability to make good, clear-headed  choices wanes as more decisions are made, and as we get tired. (Read the article here). So as I have been in depths of decision fatigue, I have decided to shift “Mayhem May” into “Mindful May.” And challenge myself to dedicated time each day to be free of decisions and free of screens (since they are the easy way out).

Will you join me and The Studio? 

Here it goes:

Starting today, on May 1st, we challenge you to dedicate 1 full hour per day to screen-free, decision-free time.

Every. Damn. Day. No excuses. IMG_0988

The cool part is dropping into a yoga class counts, it is a wonderful way to be fully in tune with yourself and your body while being fully disconnected from the decisions life throws at you. But what about those days you can’t make it to class? That is where the challenge begins. We ask you to take an hour before work, after dinner, or smack-dab in the middle of the day to be free of decisions, plans and screens.

Sounds easy right? Prove to yourself that you can make down-time a daily practice. We are asking you to take up this challenge to inspire leisure, mindfulness and more peaceful living in your daily lives.

 

What fits: 

  • A guided yoga class.
  • Going for an hour-long walk, hike or run without an agenda.
  • Reading a book for fun.
  • Listening to music and doing nothing else.
  • Meditating.
  • Guided exercise, because it feels good.
  • Yoga at home (follow a book or a pre-planned sequence).
  • Laying in the grass.
  • Restorative yoga.
  • Self care, such as a bath or treating yourself to a massage.
  • Anything else that is screen-free and decision-free, and doesn’t feel like work.

 

What doesn’t fit:

  • Reading or listening to the news (it causes stress).
  • Social media (it’s on a screen).
  • Watching TV (that’s also a screen).
  • Planning.
  • Shopping.
  • Cleaning.

There are lots of things that can fall inbetween, like gardening, cooking, hanging out with your kids or crafting. So we ask you to make this challenge yours – and consider: What feels like luxurious down-time for your brain? Give yourself the gift of an hour of luxury each day for the month of May.

How to participate? Simply commit to the goal of this practice for all of May.

I (Cass) am leading this challenge so find me at The Studio and let me  know how it’s going, or shoot me an email if you have any questions. We hope you join us on social media to encourage each other, build community, and share your experiences. If you plan to participate on social media:

  • Use #mindfulmay and tag The Studio so we can see your posts and share a few that inspire us.
  • Please prioritize your hour of mindfulness by not posting during your screen-free time. Take an ‘after’ or ‘before’ shot, or simply post a list of your recent decision-free activities.
  • You can post every day if that helps you stay motivated, or you can post a few times throughout the month. I expect to post once or twice a week.
  • Social media is a fun way to stay connected, but please know this challenge is for everyone, so join in any way you want to.

We can’t wait to get started!