8 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Life

8 simple ways to declutter your lifeClutter can consume us like a poison.  Ok, that may be a bit dramatic, but learning to declutter and simplify your life can do wonders for your mental and physical well-being.  Just imagine how you feel when you are trying to work in a messy environment.  Are you easily distracted?  Can’t focus?  Feeling drained?  How about when you finally decide to clean up… do you feel lighter?  Can you finally focus?  See what I mean?  Clutter really does impact us in a negative way.  Our external environments tend to be a reflection of our internal environments.

Does the thought of actually taking the first step to declutter make you want to cry?  I hear ya honey, I have piles upon piles of stuff that really needs to get sorted through.  Break it into bite size portions to decrease that overwhelming dread inside.

Use these 8 strategies to declutter your internal and external space.

1.  Get Rid of the “Stuff”

The majority of us have an abundance of stuff.  In junk drawers, closets, under the bed, in the basement.  Our lives are overflowing with stuff.  It’s time to lighten the load.  Depending on the severity of the problem, this may seem like a momentous task.  I get it, I have somehow managed to start piles of stuff in almost every corner of my home.  Start small.  Make it into a game.  Pick one area to start, set a timer for 30 minutes and see how much you can get done before the buzzer.

Another technique that works, is to pick a number, say 15, and go around the house finding 15 items that can be donated or thrown away.  Seems manageable enough right?  Blast some tunes, get in the mood and imagine that with each item you are getting rid of, your body and mind become a bit lighter.  Before you know it, the physical clutter will be gone, or at least improved.

2.  Clean up your electronic space

Ok, I cannot be the only one who opens her inbox and sees 7,000 old emails!  I don’t want any of these emails and the ones I do want, I can’t find because who wants to flip through thousands of emails? It sounds exhausting just thinking about cleaning out this mess!

This is a great mindless activity to tackle while the commercials are on during your favorite show.  Delete as many emails as you can during each commercial break.  After a few days of screen time, your inbox will be sparkling.  The trick to this is once you’ve deleted all of the old, make sure you delete any emails you don’t want to keep each day.  Delete as you go my friends.  Feeling more calm already, right?

3.  Take a look at your finances

Eeep!  The dreaded finances.  Most of us like to take the “what we don’t know, won’t hurt us” approach.  Wrong!  When it comes to your finances you need to know what’s up.  If you are married and your spouse takes care of the finances, get involved!  You need to know where the money is going, if you have any debt and how much, if you are saving any money for retirement.  Yeah, it can be really scary to actually write down all of the debt you have.  But think how liberating it can be to actually start tackling it in a meaningful way.  It provides a sense of empowerment to know where you began and how far you’ve come.

Start taking steps to improve your finances now.  Make a spreadsheet of all of your expenses each month.  See where your money goes.  Make a budget.  Start small…baby steps, I know this is a biggie for many.

4.  Commit to Less

Go. Go. Go. All. Day. Long.  Can’t stop.  Won’t Stop.  Until you crash and burn.  Each person has an individual threshold for this.  Some of you love to be busy and for some, one activity everyday can be too much.  Evaluate your own threshold.  If you feel like your schedule is back-to-back madness, it might be time to let a few things go.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if it’s worth it, or if it’s time to give it up.

  • Is it an obligation?  Mandatory? 
    Yes, some things you cannot just get rid of, these we gotta just suck it up and do.  Hopefully they only make up a small portion of our tasks.  This is also where outsourcing may come in handy.  Don’t want to clean, hire someone to help.  Is it daddy’s turn to take the kids to practice?  Can someone else help with this?
  • Do you feel passionate about this? Is this actually something you want to do? Or are you just doing it because you can’t say no?  Only say yes to things you want to be a part of.
  • Do you feel more energized after this activity or more drained? 
    Yoga may be your best friend’s go-to stress reliever, but if during savasana, you’re thinking more about all of the to-do list items you could have crossed off your list instead of zenning out, it may be time to cross this one off the list.

5.  Do one thing at a time

I bet you pride yourself on being a multitasker.  Well, guess what?  Multitasking doesn’t work as well as everyone thinks.  It tends to take even more time to complete the tasks, than if you just focused on one thing at a time.  When we focus our attention on just one thing at a time, we make less errors and produce more quality work.  It may feel strange at first, but being fully present in the moment really can make you more happy and appreciative of what you do have in life.

6.  Spend more time in nature

You’ve decluttered your external environment.  Now it’s time to declutter your internal environment.  The clutter in our minds can be just as detrimental, if not more so than the physical clutter.  Get your butt outside!  There are so many benefits for being outside.  First, Vitamin D!  Most of us aren’t getting enough and it is ruining our health.  Next, listening to nature sounds everyday has been proven to reduce stress and cortisol levels.  Finally, earthing.  Have you heard of it?  Look it up, so fascinating!  It is basically just getting your bare feet in touch with the ground.  The energy from the earth floods your body, reducing pain, relaxing your nervous system and even lowering your blood pressure.  Like I said before, Get your butt outside!

7.  Enjoy Media-Free Time

Whether you devote one hour a day, one day each week or an entire weekend, it is good to unplug sometimes.  Give yourself a break from the news, media, internet and electronics.  Go do something you have been meaning to do for the last 3 months.  Go spend time with your family.  Our minds are becoming numb from the constant influx of information.  Take some time to be silent, be still.

8.  Be Silent, Be Still

Start up a meditation practice.  I’ve heard all of the excuses: I don’t have time, it’s so woo-woo, I can’t concentrate, but guess what?  It works!  Meditation has changed my life!  It is like the magic pill for any woe you are experiencing.  Pain, it helps with that.  Anxiety, Depression, yup helps with that too.  Relationship problems, you’ve got it, meditation is magic.   Try it out everyday for a week and see if you notice any improvements.

I think some of us are scared of the silence.  Scared of what we might discover. We are never really going to feel calm and our lives will always feel cluttered, if we don’t take care of the clutter in our minds.  I encourage you to lean in.  I promise you, it’s worth it.

You can get rid of the clutter in your life.  Start implementing these strategies and before you know it, your house will be clean and you’ll feel freer and lighter.

What are your favorite ways to declutter your home and your mind?

P.S. Since we are on the topic of decluttering, I have created a FREE Body Image Workbook to start decluttering all of those negative body thoughts before swimsuit season.  Sign up for your copy on my sidebar! ————–>

Self Sacrifice: Are You Giving Too Much?

self-sacrifice: are you giving too much?Recently, I heard about a horrific event that happened right next to my home town.  A family was walking in a park and a man suddenly opened fire, killing the husband and one child.  The mom basically threw herself in front of the gunman, telling her two other children to run and get help.  She did live, but this story is a perfect example of what self-sacrifice is, pure love, unselfish, unwavering, unconditional love.

Most of our daily sacrifices are not this extreme.  We make sacrifices in our relationships, with our children, or at work.  It may seem so natural, that you may not even be aware it is happening.   It has been instilled in us that it’s our duty as lovers, wives, husbands, employees, children, spiritual beings etc. to sacrifice for the greater good.

Self-Sacrifice:
to give up one’s self, interests or well-being for the sake of someone or something else. 

Society praises this type of sacrifice, often at the expense of the individual.  Self-sacrifice can be a very powerful act of love, if done correctly and with the right intentions.  But in today’s society when do you know if you are sacrificing too much of yourself?

Ask yourself these 4 questions:

Do you feel depleted and exhausted after helping others?

Giving should come from a place of love.  It should fill you with joy.  The act of giving should invigorate you and give you a type of energy that makes you want to keep on giving.  It makes you feel good.  When this is the case, giving doesn’t really feel like a sacrifice at all.

However, If you find that after helping others, you’re feeling drained and exhausted or resentful, you are giving too much of yourself.  Or not giving of yourself in the right fashion. Remember, you need to take care of yourself first.  We can only truly help others when we are well nourished: mind, body and spirit.  We are no help to anyone if we are a mess ourselves.  If you’re feeling this way, it may be time for some serious self-love to recharge your batteries.

Are people expecting you to give and no longer appreciative of your sacrifices?

You have a kind heart and want to help others.   I get that, but do you find that people are beginning to take advantage of your generosity?  The money you loaned them is no longer enough and now they expect more?  You are now expected to work all Saturdays, after agreeing to fill in for someone once?  Are you standing up for yourself?  Your time, money, services and love are all valuable.  People should be appreciative of that.  If they aren’t, re-examine how and when you are giving of yourself.  Beware of the leeches.  Those people who will suck you dry.  All they do is take and take.  If you don’t put a limit on this, they completely deplete you.

Are you now enabling someone’s behavior or causing them to be dependent on you?  It is OK to set boundaries with people.  Just because you helped them once or twice does not mean you need to continue to help them.  Or maybe the avenue of helping needs to change, for example, can you help with your time instead of shelling out your hard earned dough?

Are you feeling anxious or stressed?

Every time your phone rings your stomach turns and you are just praying it is not that one person.  Are you secretly hoping they are not going to ask you for something?   Giving should make you feel good inside, if it’s giving you the opposite effect, it is time to evaluate whether you are able to give in this situation anymore.

Helping others should not make you feel more anxious or more stressed out.  If your needs are consistently not being met because you are always worried about others, reconsider your giving.  You shouldn’t be going into debt or not finishing your own projects at work because you are always helping someone else out.  At some point you have to realize that their problems are not your problems.  Be empathetic, be a good friend, but don’t take on their mess.

Are you giving for the right reasons?

Giving should come from your heart, from a place of love.  Sometimes we fall into the trap of giving for unhealthy reasons.  They tend to fall into two main categories, approval and manipulation.  Those of us who are always seeking approval may overcompensate in this area by constantly giving of ourselves to try and make someone else happy.  They are giving from a place of fear.  Usually what ends up happening is that they feel like they are never good enough, never quite reaching the bar.  They feel like they’ve failed.  This can lead to a whole host of struggles such as anxiety and depression.  Do what you can do, but stop trying to be perfect.  You’re just setting yourself up for failure.

Another unhealthy reason for giving is manipulation.  If you give of yourself, are you expecting something in return?  Have you done something for someone in order to use it against them later or to get your way?  Or do you play the martyr role, expecting people to feel sorry for you?  Either way, this type of self-sacrifice never ends well.  Generally people become irritated and angry with you.  You no longer seem genuine and your intentions no longer seem pure. In other words, people can see through the BS.  Save yourself the trouble, just don’t play that game.

The next time you are in a position to give, examine your motives, do it from a place of love and only give as much as you can.  The other person will be grateful and you’ll feel amazing.

Do you ever give too much?  How do you know when you are beginning to sacrifice yourself?

10 Reasons to Love Chia Seeds

10 reasons to love chia seedsChia was one of the main crops of the Aztecs. Aztec emperors were especially fond of it, growing chia on floating gardens around the city. Legend has it that the people were upset with the nobility’s hoarding of the chia seeds. They began to sneak it from the nobility and plant it for themselves. Chia became so popular it was considered legal tender. The emperor’s subjects would pay him taxes in chia seeds! Warriors would use chia seeds for energy, strength and endurance during battles and voyages.

Here are 10 reasons to add Chia Seeds to your diet:

1.  Omega 3’s

Chia seeds contain the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids of any plant. Fatty acids serve as an energy source, especially providing us protection from outside sources such as the cold.  They make up the cell membranes, protecting our cells by keeping them soft and pliable, and are involved in almost all of our bodily systems.  Omega 3’s also help with PMS symptoms, reducing bloating, cramps and aches.

2.  Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an amazing antioxidant that makes your skin look soft and supple, by protecting against free radicals. It also helps you look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Getting enough Vitamin E may also help scars heal more quickly and fade faster.

3.  Protein Powerhouse

Chia seeds are 14% protein by weight, a great source for vegetarians, vegans or those who want to eat less meat. Protein is important for promoting strong muscles and tissues. Protein is also vital for brain health, promoting concentration and attention.

4.  Blood Sugar Regulation

Chia seeds slow down how fast your body turns carbs into sugar, stabilizing insulin levels in the body. Eating chia seeds can reduce the risk of insulin resistance and Type II Diabetes.

5.  Increases Energy

Studies have found that consuming chia before a workout can enhance your performance in similar ways as a sports drink because of all the electrolytes it contains, but without all of the sugar. Chia seeds provide energy throughout the day, without the crash of coffee or sugar.

6.  Helps Digestion

Chia seeds are high in fiber, almost 11 grams in 1 ounce! Fiber helps your digestion by promoting regular bowel movements. When mixed with water, chia turns gelatinous, which can work as a prebiotic, promoting probiotics (the healthy bugs) in your gut, easing gas, bloating and stomachaches.

7.  Increases Bone Health

Chia seeds are a great source of magnesium, calcium and phosphorous, all of which are important in keeping bones strong and healthy.

8.  Promotes Better Sleep

Chia seeds contain Tryptophan, which leads to the production of Melatonin.   Melatonin balances the sleep cycle, promoting restful sleep.

9.  Heart Health

Chia seeds have the ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, while also increasing HDL, the “good” cholesterol. They also fight inflammation in the body, all of which can keep your heart free from disease.

10.  Weight Loss

Chia can absorb 10x it’s weight in water. All of the fiber in chia helps you to feel fuller for longer and reduces cravings. Studies have also found that regularly consuming chia seeds can reduce belly fat.

Ways To Eat Them

  •  Sprinkle them on salads
  • Make chia pudding
  • Place a spoonful in a glass of water with lemon or lime for a detoxifying drink
  • Use them as an egg replacement
  • Add a spoonful in your oatmeal, pancake batter or smoothies

How do you use chia seeds? What benefits have you seen?