I’m sure we can all agree that life is quite complicated at times. With the hustle and bustle of working, raising kids, running errands, doing chores and more, the levels of stress can pile up high. In fact, chronic stress is a big reason for many common ailments like headaches, high blood pressure and body aches. It’s not uncommon to scratch your head and wonder to yourself, “How on earth did I get so busy?”
Being busy is not necessarily a bad thing but busyness does not always equal productivity. Some people are busy just for the sake of feeling like they are doing something productive, all the while not really producing anything but stress. It was Socrates that said, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” What he meant by that was that sometimes when you have a lot on your plate, you’re just striving to feel some sort of purpose or feeling of accomplishment, when really all you’re doing is just scurrying around. When all is said and done, you still feel barren inside.
A Detox of Sorts
The first step to stopping all the madness is to actually slow down enough to take a look at it. If you’re struggling to keep up with everything life is throwing at you, you might want to start by finding some peace and quiet. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Relax your entire body for a moment. Now, take a minute to really think about your life. Do you feel like you are too busy? Do you feel stressed out more than you’d like? Do you wish you had more free time to do the things you love to do?
If so, it’s time to learn the art of simplifying and letting go — the core concept of minimalism. What this means is taking an honest look at your life and cutting out the things that you don’t absolutely need. You will say no to the status quo and keeping up with the Joneses. (Which, by the way, whoever said that they are the ideal model? They may look good on the outside, but they may just as well be swamped in debt, stressed to the max and feeling empty inside.) It’s time to stop wasting your energy on things that don’t really matter and start maximizing the time you have.
What Does It Look Like?
Simplifying looks differently for every person. For the person who is just zooming around with hundreds of things to do because they feel like they have to be busy to be productive, it will mean cutting that list down to maybe 20 things. For another person it might mean working 40 hours a week instead of 50. For another it might be taking one day each weekend to staying home and relax instead of running around all weekend long, only to end up exhausted and frustrated come Sunday evening. Still, for another it might just mean decluttering the home, downsizing and learning how to meditate.
Cutting back may not always be easy but the overall gain is worth it. Here are some great ways you can begin to simplify your life, so that you can feel less stress and experience more fulfillment. After all, that’s the kind of life we all want to live.
- Stop doing time-consuming things that are not serving you well. If you are strapped for time, make a list of what you are doing and cut out the things you can live without. Do you really need to spend hours on Facebook every day when you are so pressed for time? Do you absolutely have to get together with your friends for several evenings in a week when you really want to can relax more at home? Does working those extra hours really make a huge difference?
- Declutter. Go through each room of your home and get rid of what you don’t want or need. This can signify your commitment to living a more simplistic life.
- Stop buying things you don’t need. I know it’s tough, but we could all benefit from not giving in to impulse purchases and buying things just because we have extra money. Throw the money in savings instead and you’ll thank yourself later.
- Meditate. Just sit quietly for a few minutes every day and gain some control over your thought life. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Enjoy the silence. It’s surprising how much lighter you will end up feeling.
- Do more things you love. When you stop doing things that only stress you out, you inevitably free up time to actually do the things you love.
- Go on a spiritual retreat. Those that go say the money is definitely worth it!
It’s time to free yourself from the energy-depleting snares of everyday life. Start your list today of what you are willing to let go. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. Smile. This could be your beginning to a more beautiful, peaceful and joyful state of existence.
Have you used any other methods for simplifying YOUR life? Feel free to share your tried and tested ways of keeping stress at bay in the comments section below.