It seems that as one grows up, one loses the ability to relax that comes naturally to an infant when he feels that he is physically or mentally tired, when he feels that he has been exposed to too many stimuli that have exhausted him. In fact, from the moment a child starts school, he learns to enter a program which, as he grows up, becomes more and more stressful and tedious, while at the same time reducing the time he spends on calming down and relaxing, even if he has free time. Children learn early on how important it is to have activities after school, not to ‘waste’ their time, to get better all the time, but they do not learn how to manage situations where they feel pressured, stressed out, or afraid of failure.
As adults, many of us wake up with a weight on our chests for the new day that begins, as we open our eyes and begin to think about what we need to do. We consider it completely natural, in the first minutes of the day, to check our cell phone, our emails, and the calendar. Too often our schedule is so busy that we even work on the commute to work or through lunch. And the few times we have nothing to do, we catch ourselves feeling uncomfortable, as if something is wrong, as if something is missing.
And indeed, we may be doing something wrong. We make our lives more and more complicated by forgetting that we still have the same need to unwind many times during the day as when we were children. The result is that we experience constant stress, which is actually a sign that we are spiritually or mentally exhausted, that we are exposed to too many stimuli that we cannot manage.
So what can we do to make our lives easier?
- We open up space (literally and figuratively) for what really matters.
Many things at home require money, space, and energy. As long as we keep items, clothes, or anything else we do not need, we need more and more storage space, it is difficult to organize and find what we need every time. We consume a lot of space to arrange what is around us.
In addition, a chaotic environment affects us psychologically, while a well-organized space helps us to be more efficient and effective in what we have to do.
After all, when one has less things to care for, one feels lighter, more independent, and has the energy to deal with what one really needs.
So the first thing you can do to simplify your life is to start emptying your home of things you do not need.
In the same way, it helps to empty our mind of harmful daily habits. Rather than looking back in time, focusing on what you do not have, or feeling self-pity, it helps to practice daily gratitude, acceptance, and compassion. It is the first step to a happier life.
- We review and prioritize our needs.
Less needs means less work, more money and, of course, more free time.
Many times one buys things on an impulse in the moment which can be due to many different reasons besides the fact that one really needs them. We may shop because we do not feel well, because we liked something we would never actually use, because we think we might need it in the future.
But everything we buy actually means hours of work, hours of effort, hours that can deprive us of time from our loved ones, from what we like to do, from ourselves.
- We claim more free time for ourselves and more sleep.
Even if we physically endure filling our day with obligations, it has implications for our mental health. Socializing with a lot of people, partaking in many social or business events and transactions can be exhausting and pointless. Limiting what we can and are willing to give of our free time for a business dinner, for a meaningless outing, is the first step to saving time for ourselves, to doing more things that please us and relax us. It is important in our day to leave time for not doing anything, to allow ourselves to simply exist and rest, to provide ourselves with adequate and relaxing sleep.
- We regain control of our finances
No matter how much money one has, if one does not have control over one’s finances, it will never be enough. It is important to have a clear knowledge of our financial situation, of our real financial needs, and to have set financial goals. In this way, our financial decisions become easier and we are more likely to feel more calm and secure.
Stavroula Tsoutsa is a Certified Holistic Professional Life Coach, ICF ACC, Certified Heartmath Coach/Mentor and Trainer, and Certified Points of You Practitioner.