Thursday, January 7, 2016

Make simplicity a priority in 2016

Okay, so this one's a bit different. But as I was thinking about what I want for this year, I couldn't help thinking about simplicity. That's what I want and I believe it's a worthy goal. How simplicity plays out for each of us may be different, but the goal to simplify our lives can only lead to one thing -- peace. For when we simplify things, our minds are able to rest.

Did you ever notice that the more stuff you get, the more complicated life can be? For instance, trying to put away gifts after the holidays just might have caused a bit of stress for some of you. Examples:

  • You received two new sweaters and now you can't fit them in your drawers.
  • Your kids received three new board games, but the game cabinet was already full.
  • You got some new kitchenware, but it's still sitting on the counter because there's simply no place to put it.
The list could go on and on... and it's as individual as your family is. Right? 

Of course, the solution is to unload some of the old to make way for the new. Sometimes that's easier said than done, however. But the bottom line, in this case, is that you have to make room in order to eliminate the stress of trying to shove things in where there is no room. It's that simple.

But simplifying doesn't just refer to things. It's far reaching and, in my mind, essential to having a peaceful life. Here are some other things to consider when it comes to simplifying:
  • Meals -- Finding ways to make mealtime a bit easier, without going the boxed meals route, will help ease that end of day stress so many of us experience.
  • Homework -- Having a designated area for the kids to do homework, complete with everything they'll need, makes this time of day a bit easier.
  • Pet care -- Does your dog really need that many toys and bones tossed around the house? Does your cat need that many scratching posts or catnip mice? Minimize clutter by carefully considering the actual needs of your pets. And before you adopt your next furry, finned, or feathered friend, decide if the pet will take away from, or add to, your family stress level. 
  • Laundry -- Encourage your family members to make good decisions when it comes to their clothing. If it's really, truly dirty (think socks and underwear), put it in the hamper. If it's not and can be worn another day, hang it up or fold it neatly. Clothing tossed onto a pile will eventually end up in the laundry, even if it's not dirty. The wrinkles will dictate a run through the machine.
  • Mail -- Try to go through the mail every day. Recycle what doesn't interest you and put the important stuff where it belongs. Don't let it pile up. And consider canceling newspaper delivery and/or magazine subscriptions to publications you rarely read.
  • Media -- This is about your collections: books, video games, DVDs, CDs (yes, people like me still have them). Take a few hours to sort through and get rid of the ones you no longer want or need. You'll be amazed at how much easier it is to make selection later when there aren't so many choices.
  • Activities -- Give careful thought to which activities truly enrich your lives and, as a family, decide which ones to eliminate.
Of course, I could add more and more to this list, but I trust you get the idea. By making simplicity a priority in 2016, you will inevitably be a calmer, more peaceful person by new year's eve.

Simplifying our minds is part of the whole process. When our homes and lives aren't cluttered with stuff, our minds will be free of clutter as well. Meditation, yoga, exercise, walks in the woods, prayer, and listening to calming/motivating music can help as well. For me, tuning into as I work, read, clean, etc. helps my mind to focus on the task at hand. Sometimes I just tune in to the water channel, close my eyes, and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. In no time, I'm relaxed and ready to face the next task. 

Simplify, folks. I guarantee it will be life changing.

So what area in your life needs for this to be a priority in 2016?

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