Hi! I am Michelle from Our Three Peas and apart of the amazing group of ladies that host Wine’d Down Wednesday every week with you! I am so happy to stop on by and guest post for Chastity while she prepares for her move. I hope you will stop by and visit me on my blog, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
How many times a day have you felt overwhelmed and over-scheduled? Twice? Five times? A hundred times? Umm, yea me too! Today’s moms are putting more and more pressure on themselves to live these Pinterest-worthy lives and thus are often left feeling over-scheduled, over-stimulated and over-stressed. In our efforts to live the ‘good life,’ we can easily find ourselves overwhelmed by seemingly endless choices, decisions and activities. If we can learn to simplify our lives, even just a little, we can begin to try to give ourselves time to remember who we are and what’s really important in our lives.
Lately with our impending move, I have been feeling more and more stressed. There’s a lot to do in a short period of time, and while I know I’ll get it all done, I also need to know that I need to take some time to reflect and make sure I am prioritizing when I need to. Simplicity is not a simple process, remember. If you are feeling over-worked and over-stressed, here are four tips to help simplify that super busy thing we call life.
Start with a clear head
While very few of us want to wake up early if you have kids, you know this is a necessary evil. Many of us (like me every single night!) go to sleep thinking of all the things that need to get done and wake up doing the same. All these thoughts, and lack of sleep, can lead to more stress and more chaos. Waking up each day even just a few minutes earlier than your kids can create a morning routine that works for YOU. I know my kids already have a morning routine that I have designed for them, but what about mom? Use these other tips to help start your day with a clear head:
– Wake up a little earlier than your kids so you can have a few minutes to have some quiet time and get your day organized.
– Make a list of the things you have to get done that day and then prioritize that list. What HAS to get done (like homework, washing soccer uniforms, or a doctor’s appointment) and what can wait if it has to (like mopping or washing all the bedding).
– Understand that it’s ok if you don’t get everything done, just do your best to get your MUSTs complete. Having this plan for the day will also help to keep you on track and organized so you aren’t getting lost throughout your day, too.
– Spend even just 5 minutes doing something for you. Maybe it’s just drinking a cup of coffee or tea and reading a few pages of a favorite book or maybe it’s a mini workout, or maybe it’s just sitting in absolute silence. Whatever it is, take those few minutes to clear your head before all of the craziness begins.
– Think about how you will spend your time. How do you spend most of your day? What things do you do, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that aren’t, and focus on what’s important. Redesign your day to make it work better for you.
Eliminate the Clutter
Clutter and kids go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. Kids accumulate so much junk and if you have multiple kids like me, that compounds more and then add in the lack of time and you are often left with a whole host of junk/stuff you don’t often need. Physical clutter can often lead to mental clutter and eliminating some of the mess can really help you simplify your life. Use these tips to start saying good-bye to some things that are just weighing you down:
– Start with one room at a time and go around the room and eliminate the unnecessary. Have you used this in the last 6 months? A year? If the answer is no, then ditch it. Selling items can create some cash for something you’d rather do, or you can just donate as well. Act as a newspaper editor, and try to leave only the most important items, while deleting everything else.
– Once you’ve gone through the main rooms, next tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time. Follow my rule: when in doubt, throw it out!
– Finally tackle the wardrobes. Start with your kids’ and see what doesn’t fit. Save what you can for younger siblings and then pass on the rest to someone who needs it more. Then go through your items, again following that 6 months to one year rule: if you haven’t worn it in over a year then get rid of it!
– You can work on clearing this clutter by taking 15 or 30 minutes each night to tackle one pile at a time, de-cluttering your house space by space, or you could take several hours one weekend and just be done with it. Either way, you’ll remove a subtle but significant energy drain from your life, and replace it with the feelings of relaxation that come from having your home be a haven from stress.
Learn it’s ok to say no
This can be a hard one for many moms. (Trust me, I know!) Most moms feel like they always have to say yes to everything. Can you help at school this week? Can you bake 25 cupcakes for the team party on Saturday? Can you watch my kids today? We are always being asked to commit to one thing or another and saying YES can be a wonderful thing, but it’s also ok to say NO sometimes too. Learning to say no is one of the key habits for those trying to simplify their lives. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much, which can often lead to much more stress and chaos. When you are asked to commit, make sure you can and if you truly cannot, it’s ok to pass on it.
Comparing yourself to other moms is an exercise in futility. Even though we all find ourselves doing it, it’s really pointless and will only add extra un-needed stress to our lives. There will always be someone that’s better than you at something: someone who’s faster or in better shape, makes better cupcakes than you or looks more put together. Often, these views are just an illusion and we bet if you got to know that “super mom” you’d be surprised to find out that she has her own battles or can feel insecure at times as well. We, as mom, can only do the best WE can do and that’s all anyone should ask of us. So what if Billy’s mom made organic, gluten-free, home-baked cookies and you only had time to get store-bought? So what?! Life happens and if you are being judged by any of these moms then you should learn to eliminate them from your life anyways because no one has time for judgmental people! Life is too short.
In our complicated world, committing to a simple life is the best way forward. We all deserve to have a life that is stress-free where we are surrounded by the things that matter most to us. Obviously in this day and age, that is easier said than one, but with these tips, you can begin to de-clutter your house, mind and to-do lists so that you can remember to focus on what really matters. I know that I am honestly trying to follow these rules in my own life while I am solo parenting for the next two months and really trying to focus on what is the most important and saying NO to the rest. We all need to take it one step at a time and know that simplicity isn’t achieved overnight, and often with kids, you may never truly get there, but even if you take away a few stressors and learn to say no, you can begin to live a simpler life, which is good for Mom, Dad and the kids- and did I mention Mom??