Keeping it Simple
Keeping it Simple
by Kathy Ryndak and Gord Riddell
It is not uncommon to hear people say that life is too complicated. It is too hard. There is too much to do and feel stressed out. Much of the problem is of our own making that life becomes too complicated and stressful. We expect too much of our self, we want others to like us and hence we do not say no often enough. Taking time for our self seems to be next to impossible for many people.
Our attitude plays a huge role in how we perceive things. If we allow our self to be cranky about all that needs to be done, then we will build resentment towards many things in our life. The resentment feeds the stress in our bodies which will, over the long term, affect our physical, emotional and even our spiritual health. Knowing when you are heading into the proverbial bad mood or nasty attitude is important because the earlier we are aware of our internal energies and moods the sooner we can pull our self up before spiraling downward. The problem can be the more stressed we feel and the busier we are, the less we are aware of our internal experience until we feel like we will meltdown at any moment. Awareness of self at all levels continues to be one of the hardest things to keep in practise. I am sure we all grasp this concept intellectually, it is not difficult. The real difficulty lies in our ability not to go into robot mode and have no awareness as to how our inner beingness is feeling and experiencing all this stress in our life. Staying aware is one of the most important and challenging practices you will ever master.
There are things you can do to help simplify your life. Some of the most obvious are the very ones we do not practice.
- Get rid of the clutter in your life. Most of us have a lot of stuff that we never use. We hold on to, just in case we may need it, or have never taken the time to discard things (recycle, of course). Whether it is clothes, newspaper clippings, magazines, old pots, pans and dishes, all are taking up space and cluttering up your life. It is actually very freeing to let go of things you no longer have any use for.
Reusable things can be donated to others who may have a real need for them. The more uncluttered your space, the more uncluttered your mind will be. Yes there really is a correlation, and we invite you to try this out.
- Organize your life. Now that you have disposed of all that you do not need, organize what you do have. The amount of time spent looking for stuff is quite staggering if you were to add up all the minutes in a day, week and month looking for things. House keys, car keys, glasses, clothes, the list can be quite endless. Little ideas like always putting your keys and sunglasses in the same place can save a lot of frustration. Now some have said they always put them in their purse, so no problem. But where is the purse and off you go in search of where you may have left it. Knowing you are working tomorrow yet wake up to find nothing clean or pressed. It would have been much less stressful to have figured out clothes the night before and have taken much less time. Starting your day stressed and running late is not conducive to enjoying your day.
- Keep time on your side. Lack of time is the primary stressor for many people. Give yourself time to arrive at your destination with time allowance for unexpected delays. Arriving at work, an appointment or a social gathering relaxed and on time allows you to enjoy and fully participate in whatever you are doing. Arriving with a smile on your face, not a scowl and cussing the world because you are late, makes you much more approachable and enjoyable as a person.
- Keep a list of things you want to accomplish each day or each week. Prioritize, what is the most important to you to have done. By having a list, you don’t have to carry everything around in your head. We want to unclutter and organize both our external space as well as our internal space. The more you write down the less you need to remember because it is right there in front of you. Things are also less likely to fall through the cracks and ward off last minute dramas because you forgot something. Allow yourself a reasonable time frame to accomplish things. Remember you can keep time on your side if you are realistic as to how long things on your list may take to do.
- Establish boundaries for yourself. Identify what is work time, what is family time and what is your time. Keep yourself to these guidelines as much as possible. While things do happen which can throw even the best laid plans out the window, make every effort to follow what you have set aside for the important areas of your life. It is very easy to let work take over at the expense of family time and especially time for yourself. The most important word to establish and maintain your priorities is NO. It can be said more graciously perhaps but there will always be people and things wanting your attention and time and the only place it will come from is from the time you have set aside for other things. The more you try to do and please others the more stress you will feel and the more resentment you will build.
- Be Realistic. Know your limits. Life is not a marathon race running to see who can get the most accomplished at the end. Know your motivation for why you do many of things you do undertake. Find that balance between work and play.
These are a few ideas to help simplify your life by organizing yourself and in turn finding more of that precious commodity called time. Being overly busy and no time is leading us to experience less energy, more stress and stress related illnesses. The kindest thing we can do for our self is to simplify our life. When all is said and done it will be the simple, loving things that we will hold dear to our hearts.