Healthy Minds, Healthy Souls: Slowing Down, Being Mindful

You know it’s funny, I heard it said the other day that when asked, “How are you doing?”, the new “Fine,” has become: “Busy, but good.”

This truly resonated with me, because I find myself uttering that exact same statement more often than not. I find myself frequently wishing I had just a little more time in my day to get everything done. Days are often spent moving through the demands, seeking the end of the day when we can finally kick our heels up and relax.

We move throughout our day mindlessly: task focused, like mice on an exercise wheel, going through the motions, doing what each subsequent moment demands of us without contemplation. Does that sound familiar?

What if it were different? What if as we moved throughout our day, we paused at subsequent moments to ask, “Does what I am about to do make sense for my peace and wellbeing?” “Is it something that ‘must’ occur?” “How am I doing?” “What do I need right now?”

Let’s examine the answer someone gave me today when describing their typical afternoon and evening after coming home from work:

“Errands have to be run; dinner has to be made; clean up has to happen; quality time must occur with my children and spouse; we have to pick up around the house; the children must have gone to school and their various practices; help with their homework must occur; I must read with them every night; calls and texts that have come in earlier must be returned, and then I typically sit down.”

I thought, wow, that’s a lot! And it all makes sense. It all seems necessary, right? But, then I thought for another moment. Was there truly nothing that could put off for another time? Was there truly nothing that could be eliminated or altered in some way?

Did dinner really have to be made every night, or could they just choose to pick up something pre-made that day; or make a fun filled breakfast for dinner, that takes half the time of the typical pre-planned spread? Couldn’t the cleaning wait until a time on the weekend when everyone could pitch in? Did all children’s practices have to be attended every time they occurred, or was it okay to occasionally make the call that today is just too much, and slowing down seems a better fit for our family?

These are tough calls. But they are only calls to be made when we force ourselves to check in. Mary and Martha remind us that Christ desires nothing for us, than to literally “sit down” and connect with Him. He desires for us to be at a place of peace and mindfulness. But we have to pause and reflect to be able to do this. I encourage you to try this out tomorrow. Make it a point to “check in” during your typical busy routine, “reflect” on your true priorities and “actively choose” what makes the most sense for your peace and well being. Make an intentional decision rather than following the rote routine life so frequently demands.

We try to do it all, yet we wonder why we walk around stressed, angry, exhausted, distracted and yearning for more space in our day to just relax. I encourage you to listen to your body, listen to your soul and make a choice. Then, you will be in such a better place to fulfill the demands of the very next moment—and trust me, they’re coming!

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