Of all the “No-Fail Friday” mindfulness challenges we’ve done so far, this one might be the most weekend-friendly of them all. I mean, obviously, they’re usually about centering, relaxing your body, and taking time for yourself, but this one’s got summer, weekend, and exhale written all over it. Of course, as you know by now, these challenges may be simple, they may be accessible, but even when they seem easy, (surprise!) sometimes they’re not so much. This is one is special, though, because if you do it right, you’ll get an A+ for zero effort.
Well, ok, not exactly zero. One of the challenges of mindfulness is that it’s hard for us to let go of things, including our racing thoughts and the go-go-go pace of our lives. This week’s topic of conversation was downtime, and using your mindfulness skillset to really, truly unplug when the occasion calls for it. It’s no simple task for most of us, because while we all love some time off, we tend to fill it by either not really disconnecting from our work, or shifting our attention to other distractions, which is often as simple as closing one app and opening another. We never have to be bored, which is great, because boredom is so, well, boring, right? Well, not necessarily. Not if you’re paying attention.
Your challenge this weekend is to disconnect. Not for the whole weekend (unless of course, you can manage that. If so, tell me all about it! It sounds dreamy.), but for a period of time. You decide when; you decide for how long. For this period of time, you are going to do nothing. Sit, breathe normally, let your body sink into your seat. Let your knees, hips, shoulders, neck, and even your tightly-clenched jaw relax. When the little invisible magnets on the tips of your fingers start pulling you towards that phone, TV remote, or random piece of junk mail on the counter that has suddenly become fascinating, just tell yourself “not right now.” It will be there.
Also, great news: you can let your mind wander during this time. The effort is just to be without external distractions, but this could be a great time to daydream, think creatively, or just imagine. Or not – up to you. It’s your downtime. There’s no agenda, there are no goals. Just be. If you think you’re not doing it right, then I have one key piece of advice for you:
Photo credit: Tim Marshall