If you are giving gifts this year, I thought I would help you out with things I use daily so you can give gifts that won’t become clutter.
- Back Buddy Massager
- ALASKA BEAR® Natural silk sleep mask
- HoMedics White Noise Machine for Travel with 6 Nature Sounds
- Wake Up Light Smarlance Sunrise Alarm Clock – natural light to awaken and nature sounds
- Kindle Fire tablet and ebook reader
- Spire – tracks breathing patterns which vibrates when you get stressed (and is also an activity tracker)
- Indus-Tool FWXXX Electric Foot Warmer Mat
- Daily Greatness Yoga Journal
- Sarasa Pens
- 1,001 Ways to Relax
- Magnesium Lavendar Lotion
What are your favorite non-clutter gifts?
P.S. These are affiliate links, but of things I really do use every day
We all have little self-care rituals that help us feel better. But, when it’s time to do them we make excuses of not enough time, too many needs from other people, or being too tired.
I feel much better when I do my full “right before bed routine.”
- Spraying my feet with a magnesium/lavender oil
- Projecting the time onto the ceiling from the alarm clock for when I wake up too early (Is is 15 min early or 2 hours early?)
- Turning on my white noise machine
- Getting under the sheets from the bed I made that morning
- Putting on my eye mask so it’s really dark
- Placing a pillow between my knees so my hips are more aligned
Now all this takes under 5 minutes and recently I noticed I was making excuses not to do it.
I know it makes my sleep better (and I struggle with insomnia). Yet, I kept telling myself I was too tired and would just go to sleep without doing my things. Usually that meant waking up multiple times for light or noise or muscle twinges.
Knowing I sleep much better with my ritual, I’ve decided to make it a non-negotiable. It becomes something I always do without arguing with myself.
I have been sleeping much better.
What self-care ritual would be helpful to turn into a non-negotiable?
A friend was saying how she cannot seem to plan anymore since her Dad passed away. I remember having the same feeling when my son was killed. I struggled with, “What’s the point, obviously life will just do what it wants.” I couldn’t think in long-term goals anymore. My map I had been using for my life was useless.
I have a feeling it happens to many people who get thrust into something they did not plan. We thought we had control, then found out we didn’t. We may need to see ourselves with a new identity or create a life without that job or adjust to life after a chronic illness diagnosis. We may lose our sense of direction.
Here are a few ways to slowly get back into planning. As always, go at your own pass with what seems right for you.
- So start with a small goal just for you – whether it’s starting to exercise, going to the movies alone, or getting a new haircut. Bring in a sense of control over something little.
- Your life will need a different routine then before. Make sure you create a morning and evening routine that is especially nurturing.
- One thing to nurture is your spirituality, which will help during this time. Take time to pray, give gratitude, go to church, meditate or whatever your spirituality practice is. Maybe schedule a retreat where you can process your loss.
- Do some financial clean-up – is it time to tackle or debt? Save more? Add more to the retirement plan? Get your documents together?
- What new roles and skills do you need? Get people to teach you, Google it and practice to incorporate these into your life.
- Allow yourself not to have the clarity for awhile. You are integrating and you will go wrong sometimes. Let yourself be open to new possibilities after the fear of loss.
- Depending on your loss, family dynamics may change. Maybe you are the oldest generation now. Or you need to start sending the cards your wife used to send. Think about what this loss means in this area.
- Plan times with friends when you are ready. They can help you through your grief (or just some dishes for you.) Some relationships will grow closer, others may distance themselves. Perhaps join a support group. Or a hobby group.
- Loss is a reminder that life is short. What would you love to do?
- Take a class in something that interests you. You may find more direction trying new things out. Some things that you used to enjoy, you may not like anymore.
- Notice if you are making your life smaller. During grief there is a closing off and going inward. Decide when you are ready to expand again.
- When you have moved through having no energy – what causes, beliefs, relationships or activities can you give your emotional energy to?
As you move with the questions, “What now?” and “Will I ever be happy again” know that this won’t be a straight path. You won’t get over it. Which is why it is so crucial to re-build your life – a little bit at a time.
I have a project I haven’t touched in two weeks. Why? I don’t know. I have forgotten to ask.
One of the main reasons I don’t procrastinate as much as I used to, is that I’ve gotten into the habit of asking why.
We often know we are procrastinating. But, instead of getting to the bottom of it we make excuses like, “Well I’m just a procrastinator” or “I’m just lazy”.
Firmly held beliefs about yourself are usually easier to deal with than, “I don’t want to be judged harshly with the finished result, so I’ll do it last minute knowing it wasn’t my best work.” Or, “I’m scared I don’t know what I am doing.” Or, “I am overwhelmed by the scope of it.”
Instead of telling ourselves the truth we lie to ourselves when we only admit we procrastinate.
Until we get to the why, it’s harder to overcome procrastination.
Next time you realize you are procrastinating, ask yourself why?
Then you can talk back to your fear, ask for help, break down the project into smaller pieces or try making the task more fun.
This month is my birthday, so every October I get the urge to evaluate my life. See what is working. Decide if I am living how I want to live. Here are some questions to help you with your own evaluation:
- Where do I see myself in the next year?
- What am I passionate about in my life right now?
- Am I living by my values? Is there any place I am not in integrity?
- Are my needs being met? Am I meeting the needs of those close to me?
- What are my strengths? Am I using them?
- Am I doing things to the best of my ability or is there a place I need to raise my standards?
- How are my boundaries with others? Do I often feel taken advantage of?
- Is my daily routine helping me or boring me? Is there anything I want to add or take away from my routine?
- What is standing in my way of doing my dream? What can I do about it?
- What am I tolerating in my life that is draining my energy?
You can ask yourself these questions, whether it’s your birthday or not.
Review your answers and decide what actions you want to take. Remember, you are creating YOUR life, not someone else’s.
Pix by Emma Larkins
I was complimenting a client on how well she has been taking care of the little stuff and not procrastinating.
She let me know she was using a plus one philosophy. If something spills in the kitchen, the drawer next to it gets decluttered. If she is taking care of a piece of paper, she adds one more to take care of. If she is cleaning up one little pile, a nearby pile also gets taken care of.
I try to do something similar. If I am going into the kitchen from the living room, I’ll do a quick scan of the living room to see what I can bring with. If I am picking out a shirt from my closet and noticed I have passed by a shirt the past 5 times I can declutter it. I just wrote a card and while I was there thought of a few other people that could use encouragement as well.
I look at spills and broken things as opportunities to take care of those areas. If you are clearing the kitchen table can you go one more to polishing the table? If you are washing the dishes can you do a plus one and wipe the counters?
If you are already in the area doing something, try adding one more thing while you are there. This is a quick way to get those little things done.
My Mom died this past weekend after her summer-long encounter with cancer. Death is always a big reminder to live. To enjoy your precious, ordinary life.
I don’t want you to get to the end of your life and realize you were never satisfied with yourself or your life. In your quest to better your life that you never felt the peace of the moment. I don’t want you to constantly compare yourself to others. I don’t want you to strive for that extraordinary life while ignoring the beauties you have now.
Allow yourself to be content sometimes.
Being content does not mean you aren’t trying to be better, but that you realize it’s a journey and you can say now, “You are enough.” “My life is enough.”
I want you to see the flowers and sunset, allowing them to fill you with joy. I want you to express your love for those around you, letting go of petty arguments. I want you to enjoy your food, instead of always counting the calories.
Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t allow them to haunt you for years. Forgive others. Love the stranger and the friend as well as you can.
Who do you want to be? Concentrate on that more than the actions. Your to do’s will come from who you want to be.
Take this life you have now. Embrace it. See the joy and the love.
I love the changing of the seasons. This past weekend was changing from summer to fall. You may have done this already, be doing it in the next month, or next year in the other hemisphere.
The reason I do a change of seasons prep is so I have more room for what is active. I have no need for sandals in a Michigan winter. So I change out clothes, shoes, decorations and sheets.
Here are some tips to make the transition smoother:
- Wash clothes before you change them out or you will have lone tank tops floating around while everything is packed away.
- Put on some fun or lovely music to make it more pleasant.
- As you take down the other season’s clothes, you can keep some short sleeves to layer but notice the colors. Coral and turquoise remind me of summer so I pack them away.
- See what you didn’t wear all season. Is it time to give it away?
- Perhaps it doesn’t fit. Then either give it away or pack it away with the out of season clothes regardless of what season they are.
- You can put out of season clothes in an out of the way closet, under bed storage or in a box in the basement.
- Don’t forget the pajama drawer.
- Write down if you notice anything missing in your wardrobe. Maybe you notice you don’t have a classic black pant anymore or your favorite blazer is no longer fit for public.
- Schedule in your calendar when you will switch seasons again. If you are afraid you will forget, note where you stored the out of season.
- If you like flannel sheets or such in winter, you can store away summer sheets. I like two winter sheet sets and two summer sets. You don’t usually need more than that for one bed.
- As you tuck away sandals for boots or vice versa, also check for any shoes you didn’t wear all season.
- Are there any shoes that need replacing? I had to let go of my favorite brown loafers. Scuffed, broken, and no longer with a shape. So I sadly got rid of them and now need a replacement since this are my go to fall shoes.
- Keep less decorations. I have only one box for each season/holiday except Christmas. I can switch out decorations quickly. I don’t like a lot of decorations because they take up useful space. I don’t need to be reminded of what holiday it is every where I look. For fall I put up a welcome shovel with a pumpkin painted on it for the porch along with two other porch decorations. I created two fall vignettes on the living room entertainment center. I tucked a fall leaf thing among things on my desk. Then I got out the fall towels. Quick, quick, quick.
- If changing everything out at once seems overwhelming. Do a little each day until it’s done.
What are your favorite changing of the season tips?
September is my busiest work time. So instead of the languid summer morning quiet time to get centered, I sometimes only have a few minutes.
It turns out that’s all I need. Once I got out of the “shoulds”: I should meditate, pray, exercise, read affirmations, wake up at 6am, Bible study, oil pull, stretch, drink water and lemon, do deep breathing exercises, journal, do morning pages, gratitude, dry brush, etc.
We’ve read the magazine articles that have told us what we need to do for self-care. It’s exhausting. When we don’t do what we think we are supposed to do for self-care, it makes us feel guilty on top of the less time for self-care. Yet some times of life like care-giving and young kids we don’t have as much time. If we focus on being guilty, we don’t get the full renewal of small times of centering.
When I thought about what my purpose was for my quiet time – to connect with God & myself and get me into a good mind-set for the day ahead, a moment can do these things. A moment of awe, or gratitude, or a song.
So maybe one day I do a 5 minutes meditation on God’s word and feel inspired for the day. Another day when my monkey mind is going wild I journal to get to peace. A morning spent in the backyard writing about what I see can change my mood.
We don’t need to do everything every morning. And we certainly don’t need to feel guilty about it. Find renewal in the moment you have.
Photo by me in the backyard
Looking to simplify or start your self-care routine? I have a playbook and I do coaching around self-care: Simple Self-Care