- Mental Health
Stress Relieving Tips to Simplify Your Life
Many baby boomers who were children of parents who lived during the depression and heard stories and warnings of times when little to nothing was available, have had trouble adjusting to our recent levels of plenty, rampant consumerism, and bombardment by advertisers with messages that imply that we must obtain their products, for various reasons. This combination of their history and recent commercialism, has produced a group that can't let go of possessions, 'just in case' they might be needed at some unspecified point. Hoarders often come from that post-depression generation.
However, in our economy, many are learning to do with less, to reassess whether they need to and why they had been so intent on acquiring 'stuff' and keeping it squirreled away in their homes and storage sheds.
The amazing, beautiful result of this simplifying is the side-effect of lower stress levels and a new awareness of what's really important in life.
So, if you want to destress, try cleaning out your life, of both possessions, obligations, negative people, self-doubt, and pessimistic attitudes. Look for other ways to ease your mind - focusing on more meaningful, or spiritual pursuits.
Simplifying is so Freeing
We recently had a friend of the family who retired, sold her house in New York, and moved into a one-bedroom condo in Florida. She said that the process of down-sizing was stressful at the time, but now she says she feel so happy and free - her stress is a thing of the past.
The weight of possessions simply produce:
- The feeling of a need to buy bigger houses to hold all the stuff
- Storage bills
- Stress related to acquiring, maintaining, cleaning, preserving, storing, managing debt, and preventing the theft of possessions.
Forgotten - What's the Point?
My mother and aunt (recent senior citizens) are both currently on the bandwagon to clear out unused, un-needed possessions in their houses. The result for my mom is that her house is becoming more aesthetically pleasing and for my aunt, it's just a psychological feeling of freedom.
The One Year Rule
Many find this rule helpful. If you haven't used or worn an item within the past year (this could even include property or vacation homes - or, more realistically, a blender), ditch it, sell it, or donate it.
I live by this rule additionally because it helps me consider my purchases more carefully. Does the cost of this item justify the number of times I will use it? Or, will it end up in a box in the garage?
Simplify Your Mind
Does your inner dialog include phrases like:
- "I should . . ."
- "It's my duty to . . ."
- "I have to . . ."
- "I feel obligated to . . ."
Reassess your expectations - of yourself and your friends and family. Where do these expectations come from? Are they valid? Simplify your thoughts - easing up on yourself and others will greatly lower your stress levels.
Other Ways to Simplify
Reassess how you're living - can you simplify in other ways? Consider:
- Telecommuting to work rather than driving with the other sheep in rush hour traffic each morning and evening
- Down-size to a lower maintenance home
- Reduce the number of obligations you may have filled your life with to spend time with the people or pursuits that will prove to be, in the long run, more meaningful
- See: Life-Long Success: Be the Person you Want to Be - NOW.
Fun Ways to Simplify
Most people who are down-sizing their stress by simplifying their lives find it reasonable to take their time, and conquer one section of their home or one aspect of their lives at a time.
For instance, my aunt just recently spent some days crawling under the cupboards below her lower level bar area and found tons of kitchen and home goods that she and my uncle hadn't touched in many years and had forgotten were even there. So, she's having an open-house lunch where friends and relatives can eat, chat, and meanwhile, shop the multitude of items she removed from this one section of her house and take them for themselves, for anyone they know who needs them, or to sell on Craig's List. She has then scheduled a pick-up from the ARC a few days later to remove the remainder of items. Then, she will tackle another cupboard or storage cabinet.
If you find it hard to trash, donate, or bequeath an item because of the memories attached to it, take a picture of it and keep these pics in an online folder or printed out in a box for you to look over during times when you're feeling nostalgic.
Just remember: The fewer keys you have on your key chain, the greater your freedom from stress.