Many of us think of spring cleaning our home, but what about decluttering your life and your mind in the same way? Do you have so much on your plate that you can’t make heads or tails of what is a priority? Are you so chaotic that you don’t have time to yourself? Are you struggling to please all the people in your life? It might be time to not only clear up your house, but also your mind and surroundings.
When there is one thing I learned while studying abroad, it is that relationships can be crazy. There are good ones, there are bad ones. Some are easy and some are messy. There are people who support you and others that don’t. I for myself found that in order to be healthy and successful I need to surround myself with positivity and people that support and push me. I don’t need anyone bringing negativity into my life (ain’t nobody got time for that!) or doubting me, I’m doubting myself enough already.
At first when I moved away I was scared of ‘losing’ friends and that it would be hard to keep in touch with everyone at home. Over the years I saw that with some people it was easy, with others it took some effort. Coming home for the holidays was always a big challenge. I tried hard to make it right for everyone, trying to squeeze in as many dates and dinners as possible and still some people were giving me a hard time when I couldn’t manage to fit everyone in during my short stays at home. Some didn’t understand that I didn’t want to go out every night and also enjoyed staying at home some days. Sometimes I felt obligated to meet people just so they weren’t upset even if I was exhausted.
After some time I asked myself if it was all worth the effort. The feeling you get when you see someone after a long time and it feels as if you were only separated for 5 minutes, well I like that feeling! Easy. No obligations, no pressure, no stress. At some point I just realised that it wouldn’t make sense to keep people in my life that would not give me this exact feeling. I didn’t just want to be the nice girl that won’t upset anyone. It wouldn’t do me any good anyway. I felt if there was an obligation to suit someone involved in a friendship/relationship, it wasn’t natural and it wasn’t what I wanted. So I decided to just let it go. I started saying ‘no’ more often. No to dinners, no to meet ups. And I cannot stress enough how much of a relief this was. Too often we fear letting people down or upsetting someone. We struggle to say ‘no’ and keep piling on more than we can handle. It feels hard at first, but becomes easier with time. By saying ‘no’, you allow yourself the time and effort to focus on the things you already have on your plate and to give them the time, effort and focus they deserve.
It all makes sense. When you’re trying to declutter your home and eliminate all superfluous material things, why shouldn’t you get rid of toxic relationships? We tend to hold on to things and people even if we know they’re not good for us. We are directly and heavily influenced by the people that surround us, so why don’t we choose them carefully? Take the time to declutter your relationships, it might sound unnatural to ‘get rid’ of people, but in the end you’ll understand. Step back and take a look at who is in your life at the moment and why. Are they mutual relationships? Is there give and take? Do they make you a priority in their lives? If they are the type of people who never make time for you, make you feel bad about yourself, and only take, but never give, it is time to consider their role in your life.
Don’t just declutter relationships, also work on your emotional baggage. Practice forgiveness. Not only towards others, but also towards yourself. Don’t hold grudges, they won’t make you feel good.
Stop procrastinating and prioritize. Delegate and eliminate all things and people that keep you from achieving your goals and reduce your commitments. Our lives are so cluttered with all the things we need to do at home, work, hobbies, school, with friends and family, that our timetable is full of appointments and we somehow don’t know how to handle everything at once. You will end up messing things up, forgetting things, your productivity will vanish and it all just feels very stressful. Remember to reduce stress by saying no more often and decline offers. If you eliminate the things that don’t bring you joy or value, you’ll have more time for the things that you love. Be more organized with the fewer appointments you have and you’ll feel the progress in productivity.
Make sleep a priority. We should all have a clean sleeping routine and go to sleep more or less at the same time every night. Making sleep a priority, allows you to feel sharp and focused for tasks you need to complete during the day. You’ll feel more capable, more focused, and more able to do what is being asked of you, because you are well rested and alert. If you still have so much on your plate that you feel you can’t go to sleep and need to finish things at night, rethink the number of your commitments.
Clutter can distract you, weigh you down, and in general it invites chaos into your life. Once your mind is decluttered, you will be left with nothing but abundance.
Some wise words at the end: Eliminate what doesn’t help you evolve.