It seems like such an easy thing, “simplify your life”…yet we constantly find it hard to actually do and further more, maintain. As of late, I’ve found myself with a hectic schedule, one that teeters on the edge of being manic. I fall into bed exhausted each night, thinking about what’s on tomorrows agenda when I should be basking in the moment and truly enjoying the feeling of having accomplished so much in one day and being able to fully leave the day behind and find some quiet and solace. I do activities such as yoga and exercise to help alleviate stress and get some “me time” but I’ve had a few instances now where they too have felt like busyness rather than intentional, centering time and space for myself.
I am currently in the midst of refining the activities in which I choose to engage and equally as important, with whom I’m interacting with. I can have a leisurely activity planned, but if I spend that activity in the company of the “wrong” person, time that was expected to be peaceful and tranquil, is inevitably not! That’s not to say that the same person on a different day, in a different mindset wouldn’t be an appropriate partner. It’s important to know that it really is ok to spend time with yourself and by yourself – these are two completely different things! After having been ill for a number of years and losing any sort of a social life, as well as being locked in a constant state of fear and uncertainty, I have a new appreciation for what it means to be with yourself AND by yourself. How many of us can really say that we know who we are and what we want in life, in a career, in a relationship, in a friendship, etc? It’s pretty apparent that we’re great at voicing opinions about what we don’t want or like but I’m not sure the opposite is true. I can admit that I’m still very much so finding myself but I do know that I have a much clearer idea and plan of action with each new day with regard to how I want to spend the rest of my days here on this planet.
That said, what does it mean to simplify our lives? Well, no pun intended – ok well maybe it’s intended – but it’s simple: let’s stop filling our time with unnecessary engagements and activities. We can begin by evaluating our available tangible time when making plans, but must also consider our mental and emotional time as well.
You may not have considered these things to have time associated with them, but they do. For instance, wouldn’t you agree that you’re more likely to want to do something if you’re well rested, and in a better state mentally to be fully present and enjoy whatever it is you’re engaged in? I am guilty of sort of floating from moment to moment in the company of other people and not feeling like I’m totally present and committed to being an active participant in our exchange. To be honest, that doesn’t only deny me of a fruitful experience but also the person with whom I’m engaged…crummy. I’ve had instances where I half-heartedly agreed to go somewhere or do something only to not have a very good time and found myself saying later, “it would’ve been better if I’d just stayed home.” You know what? It really would’ve been. If I had been honest with myself and others about what I had the capacity or desire to participate in I wouldn’t have found myself “wasting” time doing something I really didn’t want to do, and sometimes, with people I didn’t want to be with.
What good is doing something that you really don’t want to do, with someone or a group of people you really don’t want to do it with? What a waste of precious energy!! In the same way that we have a choice to be intentional with our thoughts and with our words, we too have a choice to be intentional with our time and actions so do it. Don’t make plans just so you can say you did this and that with so and so. Don’t say yes just because you don’t want to be the only one who missed out on a “good time”. Don’t be guilted into leaving your couch and pj’s and a heaping bowl of ice cream if that’s what you need in that moment to feed your soul (and your tummy!).
It’s ok to say no to everyone else once in a while. Give yourself permission to fill your time with whatever makes you most happy and fulfilled, even if it’s a day, a night or ten minutes of doing nothing, because nothing is something! Sit with yourself, quiet your thoughts and just breathe. The more often you do this, the more you’ll realize you need it and deserve it.
Simplifying your life can also boil down to refusing to get caught up in useless drama created by other people. There’s always something going on with someone and it’s ok to be a sympathetic ear or source of motivation or inspiration for others. However, if you find yourself ensnared by the gossip bug or something of the like, detach from it and step away from the chaos. These sorts of things only add unnecessary weight and negative chatter to the one thousand and one things already rattling around in your brain. Why add more stuff to clutter the clear head you’re striving for?
Last, but certainly not least, don’t click those videos of those kids beating each other up or yelling at one another and berating each other or similar content. That, is time not well spent. It just reinforces the pretty shady stuff that we know go on in the world, and we don’t need to feed those things more time and energy than they already get. I’m not saying to be ignorant to the fact that unfortunate events like this occur, but to just be clear and concise about what we pour our energy and focus into. See if some of these tactics may work for you and help ease the heaviness we all so often carry around, sometimes without even realizing it. A little simplifying can make a huge impact!