Don’t we all crave a bit less hassle in our lives? Our culture often dictates that we prove our worth through relentless hard work, earn our downtime by pushing ourselves to the brink, and only deserve relaxation when we achieve our version of success. The result? By the time we can finally relax, we are so exhausted that we cannot fully enjoy it.
But why wait for the good stuff? Why ponder whether we deserve love, joy, rest, and ease? Instead, let’s make space for these goodies in our daily grind. Start small by indulging in simple pleasures, slowing down, and putting yourself first.
Here’s a thought: say farewell to these five things pronto to make room for more ease, joy, happiness, rest, or whatever floats your boat. I’ll give you some tips on how to do it, and if that seems like a giant leap, try the ‘gentle approach’—take tiny steps toward what you want. Remember, even small strides count.
1. Ditch the energy drain of anger.
When things don’t go your way, how do you react? Getting angry and upset can sap a ton of energy. Before anger leads to stress and worry, check in with yourself. Identify what’s got you riled up. Then, jot down possible solutions, people who can lend a hand, and steps to quell that frustration.
How can you wrestle power away from anger? Was your initial reaction the right move? For instance, if your breakfast order arrives all wrong, is it worth losing your cool over eggs? Is your course of action actually helping or steering you closer to a solution? Even if you disagree or feel unhappy, might it be better to face the truth and move on? This ‘check-in’ forces you to reflect on your role in any given scenario.
Start by listing five to ten things that lift your spirits when stress creeps in. Armed with this list, you can take a breather or chat with someone who lightens your mood before tackling the source of your frustration. Even if you haven’t figured it all out, you’ll feel more at ease.
2. Declutter your space, clear your mind.
Cleaning your entire house might be a daunting task, but beginning with one room is a great start. Even if you need to relocate stuff temporarily, you’ll enjoy more space to move, breathe, and think. If parting with things is a struggle, keep these ten simple tips in mind.
For an easy win, start with a smaller space—a nook, a table, a countertop, or any little corner. Keep it tidy for a week, then expand your minimalistic haven to include nearby areas.
3. Stop saying ‘yes’ out of sheer boredom.
I’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating. When you have nothing else on your plate, the pressure to do something can be overwhelming. But here’s the deal: your time and energy are yours to guard. If you want free time, personal space, or the freedom to do as you please, you’ve got to make it happen. Saying “no” may be tough, but it’s better than feeling overwhelmed.
Carve out time for yourself. This could mean skipping things you’d rather not do or not overcommitting to things you want to do. It might just clear some space on your calendar.
To make it easier, plan some ‘me time.’ When you already have something scheduled, it’s simpler to decline other offers. So, make a pact with yourself. Schedule personal time and stick to it.
4. Limit your time with unsupportive folks.
People who doubt, undermine, or revel in putting you down can be disheartening. This is especially true when you’re trying to make positive changes in your life. The good news? It’s not about you; it’s about them. Even better news: you can usually control how much time you spend with these folks or how much of your life you share with them. Not every friendship is created equal, so identify the ones holding you back and reduce the time spent discussing what matters to you. Don’t seek help from those unwilling to give it—you’ll only be disappointed.
If cutting ties with unsupportive individuals feels too drastic, take a ‘gentle step.’ Talk to the most supportive person in your life first.
5. Break up with your phone as a morning habit.
This might be the toughest habit to kick, but the rewards are immense. When you check your phone first thing, it hijacks your thoughts and feelings for the day with news, emails, or social media updates. Unless it’s absolutely crucial, consider how much better you’d feel if you waited until after you’ve had time to wake up and tend to yourself. Try setting your phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’ for an hour or two after waking up.
Here’s an easy starting point: try going five minutes without looking at your phone in the morning. If that feels good, add another minute and keep going until you find a routine that suits you.
By bidding adieu to these habits, you’ll simplify your life and create space to explore what else you might want to let go of in order to embrace more ease, joy, peace, and love every day. Take it slow, one small step at a time, and savor the progress and rewards that follow.