I am back with more tricks and tips about reducing stress and use minimalism and organization as a tool for it.
Why do I say it is for the family? Well because it does involve reducing clutter that your children “own” like we talked about in our article last week and we want to organize the house for little ones and adults in order to feel more at peace. This is more about physical clutter.
Today I would like to bring more insights about what is happening inside of our body, our brain especially that also leads to stress.
MENTAL CLUTTER (also called Mental load)
It can honestly be on both parents depending on how much they have going on in their life. If you have children and a house to maintain and a job or even just 2 out of the 3, then you life might already be quite full and adding more for “pleasure” leads to stress.
It’s about making decisions. Intentionally (once again). Principles are the same than with physical clutter, what you decide to keep or ditch needs to be intentional. You put things down on the table (metaphorically) or on paper and you decide what should stay and what should go or it needs to be divided among other members of the family or our circle of friends/colleagues.
You feel like you are running from or after your life and nothing seems enough and you end up exhausted, annoyed and stressed. I have been there. Still working on it honestly.
Areas to look at: FAMILY, FRIENDS, SOCIAL ACTIVITY, JOB (which could be separated in meetings, financial loads, time put in etc)
Where are your priorities? What are your priorities?
Write down the answers to these questions and decide what goes and what stays?
Where is your time going ? Do you spend your beloved time off running from one activity to another for you, the kids, to visit friends, to be everywhere when you cannot? Think about it, write it down and review. Does it bring you joy ? Is it absolutely necessary?
Examples of culprits:
Family: What is more stressful for you… going to visit people and have a say in how long you will be there or not having to go anywhere and have them over ? Can it be simple and short instead of long and stressful? Think grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins…
Friends: Sam as above apply. Do you need to see people all the time ? If you are introverted, probably not. Learn to go with your flow as well instead of feeling obligated. Friends are here to support and/or have fun. If you feel like your relationship is negative and bringing stress then review accordingly.
Social activity: You love going to the movies and have a drink and go to the restaurant and practice martial arts? Do you need it all to be fulfilled and happy ? If the answer is yes, then you need to get organized around it or choose to ditch a couple one weekend to breathe at home and re-schedule. If you don’t need them all. Adjust.
If you have children and this is a stressful situation then, I will be honest and tell you that children do not need to be up and about doing many activities, they need to be at home and learn how to be with you and by themselves doing things they like or just learn to be bored… it leads to creativity. Denay Barahona (author or Simple Happy Parenting) says that each of her children has one activity at a time and so do the adults of the house. I agree, I had only one activity myself (music lessons) and we would be home the rest of the time playing, doing chores but we were together so it was good. We were living life not running after it.
Job: Too many meetings. Too many responsibilities. Work emails on your phone that you read at home. What can you ditch to feel better?
For all of the above: DECLUTTER your life from what is not essential. Keep what you can handle for you and your family. You do not need to do it all. It’s too much. It’s stressful.
Choose to use pro and cons lists to make choices if you like it.
Use a calendar/planner/agenda with colours/stickers so you know what is coming and nothing overlaps. I love my passion planner – I plan my life on it and can review priorities every month.
Use a to-do list but don’t make it too long. I use a long term to-do list (longer but maximum 10 things to do over weeks) and a daily to-do list (maximum 4 things on it) so it remains reasonable. You want your list to be doable, feasible not impossible to get through. That leads to stress. You want to feel good about your accomplishments at the end of the day.
Once again, you do not have to tackle all 4 areas today. Work on it, one at a time. Make changes. Adjust. Appreciate what you have to do and what you do. Ditch the rest. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a real thing but if you can let go of that, your stress level will thank you. You don’t have to be everywhere and deal with a lot all the time.
This is what I am doing right now. Reorganizing so we can keep our life simple and happy. I am using Shawna Scafe The Life On Purpose workbook. It helps me review different areas of life. What I get from it is:
1-Set your values and vision.
2-Set goals and habits to go after.
3-Think about what stops you from going forward.
4-Create a plan to start over.
5-Select what to work on – because we can’t do it all at once.
So if you feel like Life is too stressful and you want a change, then go for it, make a change. It can only come from you.
When I work with families who feel like there is too much going on, I help them look at the culprits of stress and go from there. I help with understanding how children develop, what can be done in our life to unload and review our vision and goals for our family life. Together, we can do it.
If you feel like using meditation and yoga to help you, it’s great. It does not take long to help and have a positive effect.
What are your tips to feel less stress ?