Spring Clean Your Life

Written by Leelo-Dianne Bush

springcleanSpring is here and there’s truly no better time than now to simplify our lives. You can think of this as spring cleaning your life.

The number one stresser these days is that life is too fast paced. It can be difficult if not impossible to keep up. Some retirees find that they are busier than ever, doing all the things they never had a chance to do before.

When we think back to some of the beautiful moments in our lives, they are usually simple times such as viewing a gorgeous sunset panorama or going on a spontaneous picnic or perhaps a relaxed vacation by the ocean.

Now as we deal with the frenzy of our modern lives, the term “simple” can also mean sane. There are things we can do today so that we not only maintain our sanity, but find simplicity and contentment, which will make way for living with greater purpose and balance.

Control your environment so that it doesn’t control you

Environments are everything and anything around us. They include not only our home, but our relationships, activities and possessions. Each of these have a direct impact on us. Their affect may be pleasant, neutral or even unpleasant.

The first step in simplifying our lives is to rid ourselves of unnecessary complexity. In order to do that, we need to ask ourselves, “Is this activity or possession bringing me joy and peace? Is it reducing the complexity in my life?” If the answer is no, then we need to either find a way to minimize its effect or discard it.

Also review your relationships. Are they supportive of your desired lifestyle? If not, then it’s time to resolve any issues. Don’t keep things the same only because you have always done things a particular way. Each activity needs to justify its intrusion in your life.

Start small

At first glance the task of simplification may in itself seem overwhelming, but if we take one small step every day, very soon, we will start to enjoy the benefits.

First, write down five things that bring you complication or stress. Your list might include some items like the following:

  • A cluttered area like a drawer or closet.
  • Too many things you don’t use.
  • Too many activities or commitments.
  • A relationship that drains your energy.
  • A chore or activity that you don’t enjoy.

Then, break down each item into small tasks you can do to clear them up or resolve them. And promise yourself only this: “I promise myself to take at least one small step every day, to simplify my life.”

Even if all you do is clear out one pile of letters, make one important phone call, donate an item to charity or place one ad to sell something you no longer want or need, you will be making progress. Every day your life will become less complex and you will feel great for accomplishing your tasks.

Learn to say no

Many of us take on more than we should because we are afraid to say no. Saying no does not have to be harsh. Without using the no-word, we can diplomatically explain that we have so much going on right now, we simply can’t take on anything else. Everyone knows how busy life can be and although they may be a little disappointed, they will respect you far more for telling them.

If you are involved in too many activities, review what you truly enjoy, then drop those that drain your energy. It may take a phone call or two, but you can tell others your life is changing and you can no longer _______ (fill in the blank) and you are telling them so that they can make alternative arrangements.  Simple? Yes. Polite? Definitely.

Is there is something in your life you are unable to sort through on your own? Then ask a friend or family member.

Related reading:
Take an interactive online study in time management! (Don’t worry, it’ll be a good use of your time!)
Facing loss lately? Finding it hard to just “clean up your life”? Check out our article Starting Over: Facing the Future after Significant Loss

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