Each month I happily publish a healthy living column in my neighborhood's magazine, Kingsbury Living.
We have a fabulous community and I am grateful to share my experiences and expertise with dear neighbors and fellow friends. Take a peak below to view February's article, "Simplify, Simplify, Simplify."
Read Full Article:
Throughout December and January, I delivered a presentation titled “In Balance and In Health: 9 Life Enhancing Practices” to a few different audiences. The practice that got the most interest was “To Simplify.” This could be due to the fact that it was top of mind—as getting organized is a new year’s resolution for many people. However, I think it is because we are realizing that our over-stuffed calendars, homes, and lives are actually not working for us.
Too much physical and mental clutter is often a symptom and a cause of stress. From the time it takes to get dressed in the morning, to the quality of our sleep, mental clutter affects every facet of our lives. It affects managing our household, our mood, our health, and our overall enjoyment of life.
To reduce this clutter and simplify our lives, here are some basic rules:
If you don't need it or it doesn't serve a positive purpose in your life—get rid of it. This can apply to physical possessions, relationships, or beliefs. A great guide to decluttering your home and life is “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by professional cleaning consultant and best-selling author, Marie Kondo.
Stop buying new things you do not need. Simplify by stopping the accumulation of stuff in your life. Before you buy anything new, ask yourself "Do I really need this?" Just because you found a good deal does not mean you should buy it. There is no value to an item that sits in a closet, garage, or basement.
Identify bad relationships, and work to fix them or end them. Do not waste time keeping up with friends and family who bring you down. Be very discerning about who you spend your priceless time and energy with.
Simplify your finances. Nothing gets more complicated than money. If you can, simplify your finances as much as possible by consolidating your debts, and setting up your bills and savings to debit automatically from your bank account. It’s a huge time saver to not have to write checks and mail them out each month.
Be willing to say “No.” Knowing when to say no is a huge lever in simplifying your life. Here are a few ways to determine what should go on your calendar, whether it is being asked to volunteer, taking on an additional work project, or attending a social event:
Focus on what matters most. Examine your obligations and priorities before making any new commitments. Ask yourself “Is the new commitment important to me? Is it something I feel strongly about? Does it align with my core values and goals?”
Weigh the yes-to-stress ratio. Is the new activity a short- or long-term commitment? For example, making a batch of cookies for the school bake sale will take far less time than heading up the school fundraising committee. Don't say yes if it will mean months of added stress. Instead, look for other ways to pitch in.
Take guilt out of the equation. Don't agree to a request out of guilt or obligation, which you would have otherwise declined. Doing so will likely lead to additional stress and resentment. Thinking you are a bad person for saying no is a symptom of "the disease to please."
You will be surprised how much lighter you will feel as you begin to clear away the clutter and simplify your life. I know of a few resources if you could use a professional organizer to help you out. As always I would love to hear if you put any of these recommendations into practice and if it makes a difference for you. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!