We all know the feeling. You wake up to a to-do list that feels about five miles long. You’ve got fifteen minutes until you need to be out the door and on your way to work but you can’t find your car keys because they’re buried under a pile of last week’s junk mail. You feel stressed, hurried, like there isn’t enough time in the day.
You’re worried about burning out and it seems like the vicious cycle just won’t stop.
Fortunately, there is a way out.
Simplifying your life is often a sure-fire way to get rid of excess stress and create an environment that allows for enhanced relaxation, more time and greater happiness. In celebration of National Simplify Your Life Week, we’ve gathered a selection of the greatest tips for simplifying and starting fresh this month. Keep reading to learn more.
1) Get Rid of Clutter
Unneeded clutter is a great way to find yourself feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, frustrated and short on time. Fortunately, getting rid of stuff is easy and it only takes a few minutes to banish undue clutter. To start with, take two bags to your car and fill one with garbage and the other with junk that doesn’t belong in the car.
Spend five minutes in your closet and pull out the items you don’t often wear to donate to charity. Box up duplicate or unused kitchen items and either donate them or store them. Getting rid of clutter leaves you with only the most needed items and, in turn, allows your days to function smoother and with less frustration.
In today’s society, we are ever connected. People expect to be able to get ahold of us at all hours and under any circumstances, but this isn’t exactly healthy. Being perpetually available or feeling the need to check your email five times during dinner produces stress and anxiety and indicates that it might be time for a social media detox.
To counteract this and take another step toward simplifying your life, unplug completely for at least one hour a day. Take a walk in the woods without your cell phone or enjoy a yoga class or a run. No matter how you choose to unplug, giving yourself some time each day to disconnect from the virtual world can work wonders for stress levels.
3) Evaluate Your Relationships
As humans, we have limited resources. It is impossible to give all of our love, patience, enthusiasm, energy and attention to everyone all the time without feeling exhausted and drained. This is especially true when we find ourselves putting our energy into life-sucking sources such as bad friendships, abusive work environments or poor relationships.
In order to simplify your life and make more room for the things that matter, take some time to think about your relationships. Identify which relationships are uplifting you and contributing to your overall wellbeing and which ones are stressing you out and making you feel bad. Begin to detach from the latter and pay more attention to the former. In addition to making you feel better, this simple practice will free up space in your life for new hobbies and better scenarios to spring up.
4) Automate as Much as Possible
There is nothing quite so stressful as realizing that you’ve forgotten to pay a bill and it’s now a week overdue. To avoid this, consider automating as many details of your life as you can. Place bills on auto-pay and paychecks on auto-deposit. Input appointments, obligations and important dates into a digital calendar for convenient reminders. When you spend less time worrying about the minutia of your daily life, you have more time to spend living.
5) Make Time for Fun
In Italy, there is a great practice called “La Dolce Far Niente” or “the art of doing nothing”. We could stand to learn a thing or two from this. A large part of simplifying daily life and making more space for enjoyment entails learning to slow down, have fun and create openings for hobbies, recreational activities and aimless happiness.
While you certainly don’t have to “do nothing” in the literal sense, it is important to make space for fun. This is especially important for those in the busy and often stressful home care field. In order to be a better person, partner, employee and support system, it is important to make time for yourself and what you need. After all, you can’t give when the well is empty.
There is nothing simpler and automatic in the world than breathing but, some days, we forget to do even that. If you work in the home care field, there’s a good chance that you often have days where you hardly sit down because you are so busy. Unfortunately, being so busy you cannot take a moment to simply sit and breathe is not beneficial for you or your clients and often leads to negative emotions like stress, anger, frustration or feelings of burnout.
Learning to take a moment to breathe during your day will go a long way toward making you a more patient caregiver as well as a happier person. The great news about breathing is that it’s easy to sneak it in anywhere in your day. If you’re rushing between clients, take five minutes to sit down (outdoors, if possible) and simply take in the world around you. These “sit and breathe” sessions are like psychic power-naps and have the power to help you recharge, prioritize, improve your mood and simplify your day.
There are plenty of studies that clearly observe the correlation between exercise and happiness, better decision making, less stress and better sleep. In order to simplify your life and cut out the excess static of the everyday, make it a priority to slip some exercise into your schedule.
“Exercise” is a fluid term and it can take whatever form you want it to. If you don’t enjoy the gym, take a walk outside, play a game of soccer with friends or swim some laps at the local pool. Regardless of how you choose to exercise, including some predictable physical activity in your everyday life will help you decrease stress, cut to the chase and simplify your schedule.
The Case for Simplification
Simplifying your life goes a long way toward reducing stress and increasing enjoyment and the best part is – it is easy! You can apply these simplification tactics to any aspect of your life at any time and it is likely that people in the home care field will find these tips helpful. Whether you’re seeking to get rid of clutter or making prioritizing important, simplification techniques can help you feel better, serve your clients better and reduce everyday stress levels.
Happy National Simplify Your Life Week