One of the first steps toward living a better life, a more fulfilling life and essentially, a successful life, is to simplify your life.
Why is simplifying your life important? Everything in your life takes up space. Mental space, physical space, calendar space. And you only have so much room.
Our lives happen in small transactions. If you are someone who values your time, spending time on a menial task like finding that pen you love but misplaced, is precious time wasted. In the same way everything you own, everything you do, and everyone you spend time with costs you something. And when you have an abundance of stuff, it ends up costing you a lot.
Examining your life and simplifying it where you can will give you more time, space, and energy. And the more space you have, the freer you'll be to truly enjoy life.
Simple living can mean different things for each person, but in general, a simplified life means that you get rid of any extra mental and physical clutter, so that you can have more time for the things that really matter to you.
I want to make this process as easy and simply as possible to implement. So let’s look at the 3 steps necessary to start simplifying your life.
STEP 1 - DECLUTTER
“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one's hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it.” - Marie Kondo
Decluttering may seem like an overwhelmingly huge task. But the key is to start. Just start. Think about the areas in your home that need decluttering. Your pantry, your tupperware cupboard, your closet, your office space, your email inbox, your storage space, your make-up drawer, your hobby area, your linen closet, your garage. Then order them from smallest and least intimidating to biggest. Start with the small ones and work your way up. Get rid of anything that you have not used in a long time, that has expired, the things you kept because maybe you could use it in the future but never have. And if it does not spark joy when you hold it, toss it!
While you’re working at decluttering spaces in your home, think about what’s happening in your mind. Are you occupied with thoughts and ideas that serve you well, ones that actually pay for the mental space they take up by adding value? If you have thoughts and ideas occupying your mind that bring you down, that do not add value to your life and well-being, you need to get rid of them too. This takes some time and introspection and while you're decluttering your physical space, you might just be in the right mental space to have a closer look at what’s happening in your cranial space.
Ridding yourself of these thoughts and ideas is not necessarily as easy as filling up boxes with unwanted items and donating it to charity. If you need help with this process, please remember that I’m available and a quick 1:1 session might be all you need to declutter your mind.
STEP 2 - DESTRESS
Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. So it is no surprise that the current lock down can contribute to our stress levels. In order to start the process of destressing it is important to examine your own personal stressors. Common causes of stress include traumatic events, the death of a loved one, injury or disease, loss of a job, increasing financial obligations and emotional problems. Stress can also have internal origins like fear and uncertainty, unrealistic expectations and attitudes and perceptions.
To get to the root of your stressors, you will have to think and explore your thoughts. Then you will be able to identify your very own personal stressors. Now you can start making changes and doing things that will put you on a less stressed path.
One of the first things that usually makes a big impact is to identify which of your stressors are things you can do something about and which of them you simply cannot do anything about. Accept the things you cannot change. You cannot change for example, the current situation in which we cannot leave our homes. What you can change is what you do to give yourself what you need. So while you cannot go for your usual daily walk, you can watch an online video and do some stretching exercises in your living room.
For some of us giving away too much of our time and making too many time commitments cause a great amount of stress. If this is true for you, you will have to learn how to say no and thus taking back more of your time.
Doing this mental work, delving in and finding the great stressors in your life, can be difficult and sometimes people need guidance. If you find yourself stuck in the process, remember that you can also practice a few of the proven methods to alleviate stress. Be still, quiet your mind and breath deeply and slowly for a few minutes every day. Or get some vitamin N. Nature! Sit in your garden, or find a spot in the sun. Get your fingers in the soil and pull out a few weeds.
As always, if you find that you need guidance or a helping hand, please give me a call. I’m always available and often, a quick 1:1 session is all one needs to start making progress and get on the right track.
STEP 3 - DETOX
To detox your life you will need to get rid of toxins. There are toxins in all the aspects of our lives. Anything that does not add value in a positive, productive way could potentially be a toxin. So let’s have a look at a few aspects of our lives that we could easily rid of toxins.
Detox your diet: You may think this is a hard one, but really, all you need to do is start with one healthy habit at a time and upgrade over time. For example, add a glass of water to your morning routine, or one smoothie per day. One bowl of fresh salad per day. Consistency counts. Consistency builds habits. And healthy habits = a healthier lifestyle and a healthier body. If you don’t buy processed foods or unhealthy snacks, they’re not in your fridge or pantry to tempt you. Go back to cooking from scratch again. It can be fun to include the family and it is a great way to spend quality time together.
Social detox: Become aware of people you spend time with. Some people are habitually negative and negativity is contagious. Limit time with such people or if you can, avoid them completely. Make sure that you set healthy boundaries in relationships so that other people do not drain too much of your time and energy. Try not to spend too much time on social media where people often present their lives in a picture-perfect way, making us feel like our lives are somehow lacking. Unfollow, delete and block anything on social media that does not add value to your life.
Detox your mind: The challenge here is to be completely honest with yourself. Again, you are going to have to be willing to dig deep and delve in to find out what negativity you have been hanging on to. What negative emotions are you clinging to? Are you holding a grudge? Are you hanging on to toxic ideas about yourself? If you are able to identify a few things you can start dealing with them by grabbing a pen and paper and write down whatever you feel or think about each of these. This is not for anyone to read, it is just for you to slow down your mind and really process whatever it is you have been hanging on to. Just write down all your thoughts and feelings until you have nothing left to say about it. Very often this process ends in enormous relief as you will finally be able to let go of negative thoughts and ideas.
You might find detoxing certain aspects of your life easier than others. And again, remember to reach out if you need a helping hand or any kind of guidance.
The advice in this blog serves as a general guide or a starting block. It may very well help you get on a better path towards a simpler, less stressed and ultimately happier life. But everyone’s circumstances are not the same and I cannot presume to know every reader’s specific situation. Please try these steps and if you want to know more about implementing these steps successfully, reach out to me. You can contact me on my website at www.adedreyer.co.za or on my Facebook page Adél Dreyer Motivational Speaker and Life Coach https://www.facebook.com/actionstrategist/ .
Good luck and much love.