It’s just about that time – the evenings are getting darker, earlier, the kids are prepping for back to school, summer feels like it’s going by in the blink of an eye, and we’re getting ready to put away our white skinnies. It’s for this reason that I decided back in May, that this summer, I would come from a place of YES instead of my usual place of NO. “No, you can’t stay up 30 minutes later,” “No, you’re in your pi’s, we can’t go to Dairy Queen tonight,” or “No, I can’t meet you for coffee, my friend, because I have too many deadlines.” I decided that “no” was not going to dominate my vocabulary. Summer is a perfect time to say YES to our life. I woke up this morning and had a big ‘AHA moment’ as I felt the ‘No’s’ creeping in again… and want to make sure I’m still seizing the moments.
In my AHA moment this morning, I realized that we are SO MUCH IN CONTROL OF OURSELVES AND OUR LIVES. We are in control of our health, our well-being, our mental state, our marriage, our career, our happiness. Everything. It’s up to us to give ourselves the best life possible. No one else can do it for us, and truth is, it’s best when we can do it for ourselves. It was a powerful realization.
When you think about it, there are really four areas in our lives that get cluttered… our minds, our bodies, our homes, and our relationships. So today, my goal is to get your brains uncluttered as the pressures of summer-ending approaches. As we think about getting back to routine, back from vacation, and return for some, to mounting pressures, here are 22 things you can do TODAY to help calm your mind, body, physical space, and relationships. These are 22 things that I have done almost daily, for most of my life, that have helped keep me off any medication, have kept my weight in check, my relationships in order, and my house a comfortable place to live.
At the end, I’d love to hear what keeps your mind decluttered and stress-free.
1. Start your day with a tall glass of room-temp lemon water. It’s a great way to flush out toxins, prevent diseases and assist in cleansing your system from impurities. Just do it. You’ll notice a difference in your skin, your body and your insides will thank you.
2. Plan your entire week on Sundays, as well as your next day on the evening prior. This can even be done in bed, by glancing at your calendar. Waking up to a surprise TO-DO list with unexpected tasks you forgot about, can be very unnerving. A simple 20 minutes to plan your next day or week has helped in every way. If I see my week is looking too full, I see what I can reschedule for a quieter time.
3. I make sure 85% of my commitments are NECESSARY COMMITMENTS. That means, I have started eliminating unnecessary commitments from my schedule. And it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted. Practice the art of saying “no” to the things that don’t bring you happiness and fulfillment. If you’re at your human pretzel threshold, well, that won’t serve you very well. Drop what’s not absolutely necessary. You’ll get over it, and maybe next “semester” will have the time.
4. Do a check-in with those you love on a daily basis if possible, if not, every second day. That means those relationships closest to you… partner, children, parents. I “check in” with my kids every single night before bed…. is something bothering them that day, did anything great happen that they wanted to share, did they learn something new? I try and do the same with my husband… although he has a tendency to be less verbal than me. 😉
5. Create a harmonious workspace. This means, at the end of EVERY day, take the time to clean up your office, your desk, so it greets your CALMLY the next morning.
6. EXERCISE – walk, run, bike, cycle, hike, spin, yoga, pilates, strength train. Commit to being physically active at least 3 times a week, for one hour. If I only have a little bit of time to work out, I run for 30 minutes, do 20 push-ups, 20 dips, and five 2-minute plank intervals. That’s all. It takes me about 48-52 minutes. I feel like a million bucks.
7. Meditate. If you are skeptical, please read about my journey into meditation. This one is a biggie. And it’s for real. I sign up for Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge every time they announce it. It coincidentally starts today! Here’s the link if you’re curious: https://chopracentermeditation.com.
8. I prepare my snacks for the week on Sundays… I cut up vegetables in containers. I cut up fruit in containers. I make sure I have nuts, yogurt, hummus, cheese, peanut butter, everything accessible and CUT UP. This makes it easier when I’m hungry and want to grab junk snacks.
9. Which leads us to…Dejunk your fridge and pantry. Just STOP buying crap for your house. I don’t buy soda, I don’t buy any chocolate, rarely buy ice cream. Yes, I buy a few of the “healthier” cookies and some chips, but overall, my house is healthy. I let cheats be OUT OF THE HOUSE. I don’t let cheats be PART of the house.
10. Schedule time for your girlfriends. At least once a month… commit to lunch, coffee, dinner with one friend, or five. Your girlfriends are necessary parts of your existence… make time for them and stop making excuses. It’s like the gym– you don’t think you have the time, but you’re never sorry after you go.
11. Soak in a nightly bath and make a cup of herbal tea. After my kids go to bed, even before my husband gets my attention, I take 30-45 minutes to myself almost nightly. I take a NIGHTLY HOT BATH with lavender, and finish with a warm soothing cup of organic, caffeine-free detox tea. It sets my mood for the evening and helps calm and sooth me. It’s my daily MUST-DO.
12. Stop procrastinating. NO more excuses. BUDGET YOUR TIME. Use a calendar- there also also plenty of great apps out there to help in the efficiency department. Don’t leave things ’till the last minute. Keep your inbox clean and updated. Stop letting things pile up. Commit to taking an afternoon in the next two weeks, and CLEAN HOUSE.
13. Volunteer. Just volunteer. When you can. If you don’t have a lot of free time, don’t put a rigid schedule to it. Find something meaningful, such as meals on wheels, where you can call at the last minute and help out. Helping someone in need is absolutely rewarding and a wonderful way to unclutter your mind.
14. Get 30-45 minutes of fresh air outside, 7 DAYS A WEEK, 365 days a year. NO EXCUSES. I walk outside in the winter. I sit on my deck and let the vitamin D soak on my skin. A person needs OUT. If you work in an office all day, keep those running shoes handy at lunchtime, and head out for a power walk.
15. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. Part of what made my first business successful, and now my blog well received, is because I NEVER TRIED KEEPING UP WITH ANYONE OTHER THAN MYSELF AND MY OWN PERSONAL BEST. I am simply always trying to do better than MYSELF, not better than anyone else. That goes for your life. Just focus on your own journey. No one has everything, so stop comparing yourself to others. Please.
16. Plan outfits, lunches, meals the night before. My kids lunches are made the night before. I even try and lay out their clothes the night before (a must if you have picky dressers). The busy mornings are much less frenetic when all we have to do is get up, brush our teeth, eat breafast, and go to school. The boys get showered the night before. I grab their lunch from the fridge and we’re out the door. Starting the day off at a hectic pace, doing everything from scratch, doesn’t set the tone for a calm day.
17. ROMANCE. Make time. Reconnect with your partner. Call grandparents, neighbors, besties, twice a year to take your children and have A STAYCATION with your partner- that means your vacation with your partner takes place at home! Make a yummy dinner by candlelight. Regroup. Sleep in. Pamper each other. Be good to each other. This costs nothing. It only costs the gas to deliver your kids. Do it. Trust me.
18. When guilt creeps up, shoe it away. You are a woman who deserves to feel healthy, fulfilled and happy. When we run from task to task, taking zero downtown to regroup, we burn out. This is a fact, and it happened to me in 2002. Find the happy medium between giving to those around you, and learning to be still within yourself. That means taking the necessary ‘me-time’ you need to regroup, and NOT FEELING GUILTY ABOUT IT. You are entitled to thrive in all your roles, so taking time for yourself is both necessary and vital to your overall health, and mental well-being.
19. Learn to love music. Save up for a docking station that lets you play your Ipod, loudly! Do the dishes to music, fold the laundry to music… any kind of music… the music that you love… calm soothing music, R&B, hip-hop, or heavy metal! I can give you a list from here to China about the physiological benefits of music and what it does for your serotonin levels and mood. Clean the house to music. Lie in bed and have SEX to music. Music is part of my daily life and I would be dead without it.
20. Live in the moment. When you focus on the here and now, just try it, you will feel calmer. It’s a simple but powerful concept. My anxiety only sets in once my mind wanders to other moments beside the present. It takes practice, but it works.
21. SIMPLIFY. Everything. That means simplify things such as online banking. Instead of spending money on a dinner out, hire a cleaning lady to help you instead. Reduce your spending, therefore reducing any debt. Invest in ways to SIMPLIFY your life. You will feel free, and much less weighted down. Many of us thrive in chaos (this isn’t good, my friends). Practice changing your ways…. keep reminding yourself the word SIMPLIFY. Simplification brings peace.
22. Read, as often as you can. A book. A magazine. A newspaper. A romance novel. But just read. Commit to reading. On certain days, read something that educates you, on other days, read something that takes your mind away for an hour. But reading is life-changing.
I would love to hear how you have decluttered your mind, body, spirit, relationships and home.
Please share your tips right below.
Until next time,