Simplify your life. Easier said than done right? Every time I go to a hallmark store I see the word simplify everywhere. The word shows up on coffee mugs, greeting cards, books, wall art and home decor. Quite honestly, I sometimes feel like it is tough to go shopping without a reminder to simplify my life. Yet, I find myself struggling to do this seemingly simple task every day.
Life is busy and actually, life can feel ridiculously hard. Schedules are full and sadly, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. So how do we simplify our lives when we are constantly buried in chaos? How do we slow things down and as a result, remember to breathe?
Simplicity sounds nice but it can be a difficult thing to find and achieve. As the years have passed by I have become much more aware of just how busy my life is. Sunday nights roll around and the familiar tug of anxiety settles in the pit of my stomach. Insomnia kicks in and regardless of how hard I try, I cannot shut off my brain. Work, kids, appointments, schedules, bills, errands and a million other thoughts clutter my thoughts. Consequently, simplicity is the farthest thing from my mind. In fact, simplifying my life feels impossible as I dread the beginning of yet another stressful and busy week.
And so it goes. The vicious cycle of chaos repeats itself week after week. Blurry eyed I wake up and jump back on the crazy train going nowhere fast. Looking around the room, I focus on the mess. Stuff lies scattered on my desk, files are on the floor and my bed is unmade. Laundry needs to be done, backpacks and shoes are thrown everywhere and of course, the cat has thrown up on the floor. There are bills to pay, groceries to buy and appointments to make. And, lets not forget about the conference calls, blog posts to write, emails to return, calls to make and a plane to catch later that day. The bottomless to-do list seemingly never ends.
As a result, I was often feeling exhausted and arguably, I felt stretched much too thin. There was no simplicity and sadly, the busyness of life overshadowed what mattered the most. Sound familiar?
Most people feel too busy, overwhelmed and at times exhausted in their daily lives. People struggle to find balance and most yearn for a simpler and slower paced life. Yet, despite the desire to slow down, the simple life often feels out of reach. The quest for a simpler life is not always easy and I myself continue to hunt for those paths that can in fact simplify my life. Over time, I have slowly discovered nuggets of wisdom to help me do just that.
While there is always more to learn, I am happy to say that there are things that all of us can do to reduce the burdens of stress. There are steps that you can take to simplify your life despite the chaos.
It is impossible to change something if you are not first aware that a problem exists. Pay attention to your surroundings and recognize those things that are creating clutter in your mind and in your space. Remember, you can’t address an issue if you fail to recognize that it is there in the first place. Ignorance is sometimes bliss but not when it comes to clutter!
Change does not happen overnight. It can take years to develop a habit regardless of it is good or bad. Be realistic and accept that it takes time to change and in truth, old habits die hard.
Set small goals.
It can feel overwhelming to tackle one problem area yet alone several at one time. Identify those things you would like to change and then set realistic goals to work on each one. Prioritize and target an area that bothers you the most. As crazy as it sounds, I heard that making your bed each morning can reduce stress and start the day off right. I now make my bed every morning and this one small change has made a huge difference in my life.
We exist and live in a society that is always wanting more. Inevitably, there are a lot of people in the world that have far too much stuff yet lack in the important things we all need. Courtney Carver shares great back to basic tips for decluttering. Getting rid of stuff and learning to live with less can be hard but in the end it is so worth it.
Spend time alone.
There is a big difference between being lonely and being alone. I have found that one of the things that helps me to simplify my life quickly is to take a break from everything and spend time alone. Granted, it is not always easy to find the time but I am learning to make my alone time a priority. I need it and I am guessing you do too. Make a date with YOU once a week. Go for a walk, head to the gym, take a bubblebath, curl up by the fire with a good book and sip a glass of your favorite wine. One of my favorite things to do is to sneak away on a rainy afternoon and go to a matinée movie BY MYSELF. This simple pleasure brings me simplicity and peace every time.
Forgive and let go.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for people to do and frankly, an inability to forgive sucks our simplicity tank dry. If you find that you are obsessing about something, holding a grudge or drowning in regret, it is time to let it go. I can promise you that all of those toxic and negative thoughts are cluttering your mind. Clear that clutter and you will feel better in no time.
Just say no.
Setting boundaries and saying no are difficult for some people. However, a lack of healthy boundaries and never saying NO can stand in the way of living a simpler and stress-free life. If you are feeling over-scheduled and like your life is too busy and full it might be of benefit to establish better boundaries and learn to say no more often.
These are just a few tips that I have learned in my search for simplicity. So much of what is most important in life gets lost in the messiness of stress and chaos. We fail to embrace each and every moment and sadly, we are too busy to notice. It is never too late to change and with awareness, patience and commitment, you too can simplify your life.
You deserve to have a life of simplicity and I absolutely believe that a life of simplicity can bring you peace and joy. In my heart and mind, it doesn’t get any better than that.
In Peace and with Love,