No matter how neat and tidy of a person you are, it’s pretty easy for “stuff” or clutter to pile up around your house.
Clutter is a constant battle at our house. From mail, bills, and school papers to toys for the kids and dog and clothes–there are so many things that just never seem to get put away or find their place. When my house starts to get overrun by clutter, I begin to feel stressed, which then begins to affect the other areas of my life.
So, it’s not surprising that having clutter around means less stress in your life. However, decluttering is sometimes easier said than done. Fortunately, there are simple tricks to stop clutter from taking over your life.
6 Tips To Organize and Declutter Your Life
1. Plan Ahead.
Did you know that planning ahead is proven to reduce stress? Well, it’s true. Planning is one of the most effective stress management techniques you can do without spending a penny. Plus, planning gives you more time to do the things that you enjoy in your life!
2. Have a Home for All of Your Stuff.
I can’t tell you the number of times l look at the stuff lying around and do nothing, Or, I take something out of a drawer, use it, and lay it on the counter instead of putting it back where I got it in the first place. Everything should have a “home.” If it doesn’t, you don’t need it. For example, always put your car keys in a basket and hang up your coat in the same place when you come home. When you put things in the same place instead of somewhere random, you will know where they are and save time and stress looking for them. This simple change has helped me keep my house, office, and car much cleaner, and my family and I much happier.
3. Stop Multitasking.
The glorification of being an excellent multitasker is overrated. In reality, humans are not the best at multitasking. Focusing on multiple tasks all at once seems like an efficient way to get the most out of your day; however, you end up getting very little done and done well. Instead, make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish and then list them in order of importance. To me, there is something so gratifying about making a list and then crossing your accomplishments off as the day goes on.
4. Say Goodbye.
If you have not used that really-thoughtful kitchen gadget that your dear aunt gave you three birthday’s ago, it is time to say goodbye. Everything from old papers and clothes to cooking utensils and the food in your pantry–it is all fair game. My rule of thumb is that if I haven’t used it or worn it in the last year, it’s moving on to its next home. You can give gently loved items to a charity or to someone else that can make use of what you do not need any longer.
5. Stay Committed.
If you want your space to be less cluttered, you have to commit to making it and keeping it that way. Set aside just 15 minutes at the end of each day to declutter and organize your space. Yep, those 15 minutes can and will make all of the difference. Discipline yourself to do this before you sit down to watch your favorite show or read a good book. I love to set the timer on my phone and go gun-ho until it beeps. And, if you are like me and have a family that helps contribute to all of the clutter, I’d suggest getting them involved in the 15-minute cleanup,, too! It’s amazing what you can accomplish in just 15 minutes.
6. Clear Your Mental Clutter.
Clearing your mental clutter is just as important as physically decluttering your space. Taking time each day to reflect on your blessings and to meditate will help you to manage your stress levels effectively. A gratitude journal is an easy way to keep track of the positive things in your life. You would be surprised how simple reflection can improve your overall mental health. Also, meditation has been proven to temporarily alleviate stress, strengthen the mind to cultivate inner peace, and improve your overall mental well-being. Clear your mental clutter, relax, and refocus your mind with this 30-minute guided meditation audio. If 30-minutes seems a bit too long, check out of my shorter meditations.
Breath Awareness Meditation Hope Zvara
Clutter may be a constant lurking threat, but when you choose to tackle the problem head-on, your efforts will pay off. I don’t know about you, but when my house is happy, I’m happy, and when I’m happy, I am more willing to take on any task life throws at me with a grateful heart and ready arms.
So, are you ready to join me in decluttering your life?
Have you ever said to yourself, “My life is a mess and I have no idea how to fix it”? Well, you are certainly not alone. We all have mental clutter and distracting thoughts that take our focus off of our priorities.
I think we all have had a feeling of hopelessness at one time or another in our lives. The truth is, life gets messy sometimes.
Sometimes you might feel like your life is such a mess that you don’t even know how you got there. You don’t think you are going to be able to handle it any longer and the thought of trying to dig yourself out is too overwhelming to even consider.
For fifteen years, my life was messy. It was a constant tornado of highs and lows. I was living a secret life.
Mental clutter pulls us out of the present moment– anything that keeps you from thinking straight. All that mental clutter takes up so much space that we hardly have any room left for what we’re meant to do.
Having spent my fair share living at rock bottom, I know firsthand that there is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. However, YOU have to be willing to step up, show up, and get uncomfortable in order to make change happen.
So, if your knee-deep in a messy life or you feel like you might not have anywhere to go, I welcome you to join me in clearing the mental clutter once and for all.
5 Steps to Clear Mental Clutter
1. Put Down the Instant Gratification Devices.
Growing up with technology has made us dependent on the idea of always being connected. Information, entertainment, and communication are only a click away all day, every day. I recently read that an addiction to social media and the “likes” (so to speak) you get on these social media sites give you the same endorphin boost as someone who is suffering from an addiction to drugs, alcohol, etc. So, put down your devices so that you can truly experience life around you rather than just document it.
2. Enjoy Nature.
When is the last time you stepped outside and just took in a big breath of fresh air? The blue skies, the singing birds, the refreshing breeze–all of these things help to restore your mental clarity. Stepping away from life’s distractions gives us the opportunity to enjoy what is in front of us more fully. Goodbye mental clutter!
Don’t think of meditation as some big and scary monster. It’s actually the opposite. Meditation changes brain function and helps to improve focus. Meditation is simply a matter of you stopping for a few minutes and breathing, unplugging and reducing yourself to nothing more than every inhale and exhale. Even if it just for a few minutes. Step into a mini oasis with me for just three minutes a day with my 3 Minute Meditation. Clear your mind, focus your thoughts, and open yourself to a fresh new perspective.
4. Join A Community.
My FREE online Facebook community, Daily Dose of Hope, is dedicated to helping others purposefully excel through the messiness of real-life, both on and off the mat. This group is about reclaiming the health and well-being of all its members, inspiring each member to see they are worth it and assisting in the cultivation of each person becoming the best version of themselves!
5. Clear Your Mind.
When your mind is in overdrive, sometimes you just need to hit the reset button. My 3-Week Clearing Mental Clutter Mini-Course shows you how to banish your mental roadblocks by recognizing what they are and how to do something about them. Weekly affirmations help to keep you on track, short mindful movement sequences to help you step into your body fully, and a private accountability group helps to support you in clearing the mental clutter and creating monumental clarity. What are you waiting for?
Your journey awaits. What are you waiting for? After all, you are well worth it.
I truly believe that the more we know about ourselves, the closer we can get to becoming the best version of ourselves.
Today’s world is chalked full of opinions. Good, bad, and ugly–everyone seems to have something to say about everything. It leads people to start to look outside of themselves for validation. However, I believe that real validation lies inside. It really does. People ask me all the time, “Hope, how did you recover from such a horrific eating disorder, the tragic loss of a baby, anxiety, and depression without any medications.” My answer: I focused on my self-awareness.
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness means recognizing what you are thinking, feeling, and doing when you are doing it. It is a practice of mindfulness, which is the idea of being 100% present and engaged in whatever you’re doing–free from distraction or judgment.
“Self-awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities. I don’t mean self-consciousness where you’re limiting and evaluating yourself. I mean being aware of your own patterns.” -– Tony Robbins
Why is developing self-awareness so important?
So, why is developing self-awareness so important? Well, it’s pretty simple–you CAN’T control everything that happens in your life, but you CAN control how you react to it. Once you are more self-aware, you want to make the changes needed to be the best version of you that you can be.
For me, focusing on my self-awareness meant that I had to take a hard look at my emotions. The emotions that caused me to struggle with anxiety, depression and addiction. I had to learn how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way so that I could find clarity and peace. Yoga was my saving grace. After my first yoga class, something inside me flipped. And even though I wasn’t very good, I felt relief. Quiet. Stillness. No urges or anxiety of any kind. Just relief. Yoga helped me at a time when I needed it the most. Yoga helped me help myself. Yoga forced me to deal with my emotions. Yoga helped me to become more self-aware.
Here are some great ways that you can start to develop your own self-awareness.
KEEP A JOURNAL
That’s right, the good old journal. You know, the one that actually requires a pen or pencil to write in it? LOL–Well, all kidding aside, the best way to start to truly learn about yourself. Journaling gives you a place to think, write, and organize your thoughts and feelings and it is imperative to your developing self-awareness.
Meditation will help you become more self-aware and will help to improve your overall health and well-being. Breath awareness, or mindfulness meditation, reduces stress, anxiety, and anger, and sharpens concentration and attention skills. Counting Breath for Stress Relief & Relaxation is a guided meditation that helps focus the mind and relax the body. This 5-minute meditation will allow you to de-stress and step back into the present moment; helping you to relax, breathe and dig into your breathing so you can step back into life ready and willing.
Simply stated–mindfulness is self-awareness. Self-awareness doesn’t always mean being mindful. Mindfulness means having an awareness of your thoughts and feelings. When you’re mindful, you are able to accept your thoughts and feelings without judging them. As you know, when I was a teenager, I suffered from an eating disorder. When I learned that when I felt an urge to purge, I turned to the yoga mat. I recognized the thoughts and feelings that would arise at that moment and I was able to take a breath and not act on them. I was acting purposefully–or being mindful.
When you become more self-aware, you will be able to see the greater good in yourself. Self-awareness can help you get anywhere you want in life as long as you know how to use it to your advantage.
“Self-awareness gives you the capacity to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes. It enables you to keep growing.”
— Lawrence Bossidy
Everyday life can be stressful.
Job demands, relationships, life events, and social media drama are daily occurrences. These things can often have you feeling like you are traveling down a never-ending, bumpy road called LIFE. It’s easy to see how stress can suck you in and not let you go.
While stress can help some people perform under pressure, too much bad stress can negatively impact a person’s mental and physical health. It’s common for most people to focus on the negative side of stress, but sometimes stress can actually be a good thing. Good stress can motivate a person and help them achieve more goals. BUT how can a person tell the difference between good stress and bad stress?
Good Stress vs. Bad Stress
Good stress, often called eustress, is stress that pushes a person to accomplish more. It helps a person achieve those hard-to-reach goals. Good stress also helps a person learn new things, adapt to change and engage in creative thinking. In a situation where a person is experiencing good stress, they always have control over the outcome of the issue.
Bad stress, often referred to chronic stress, can slow a person down and prevent them from doing the things that they need to do. It can often lead us down a winding road of helplessness and despair. Bad stress can be things like staying in an unhealthy relationship long-term, living with a difficult person, continual high paced (stressful) workplace, taking on too many things and continuously unable to complete them. That continual saying “yes”, when you should be saying “no”. When the body feels like it is under too much bad stress, symptoms such as excessive sweating, anxiety, headaches and rapid breathing begin to appear.
As a yoga teacher, I encourage others to live a life where they can stay grounded, focused, balanced and content. However, sometimes I fail to implement these strategies into my own life. I take on too many things, try to please everyone else, and neglect my own personal health and self-care. It’s a downward spiral and before I know it, my daily life is fueled by bad stress. Can you relate?
Unfortunately, the bad news is that stress is inevitable. It’s just a part of daily life. The good news is that stress IS manageable. In order to manage the stress in your life, you must relax your body and mind.
Here are 3 ways to manage stress so that you can live a healthier, stress-managed life.
1. Take a Break
When I say take a break, I don’t mean a break where you are scrolling through social media or watching videos on your phone. I’m talking about unplugging and walking away from all the distractions in your life. Do something for five to fifteen minutes that requires very little of you other than for you to just be yourself and to be present. Sit outside, take a quick five or ten-minute walk, play a quick game of “Go Fish” with the kids, or engage in meditation. Counting Breath for Stress Relief & Relaxation is a guided meditation that helps focus the mind and relax the body.
2. Put Away Your Electronic Devices
If you think about it, we live in a world where we have immediate access to almost anything we need. Instant information is available to us with the simple touch of an app on our phones or tablets. But at what expense? Being over connected has created a huge epidemic in our world today. An epidemic that has produced anxious, stressed, and technology-addicted teens and young adults that are not ok with doing nothing or being alone. The only way to break that cycle and bring more Zen into your life is to put the electronic devices down and slowly back away. Have a no-phone rule at the dinner table, limit screen time, keep your device in your pocket or bag when you are out with friends–whatever you need to do to stop looking at your device–do it. You’ll be glad you did.
3. Be Positive
Is your glass half-empty or half-full? If it’s half-empty, it’s time to change your thinking. Keeping a positive attitude, shifting your negative thoughts to positive ones, and keeping your self-talk encouraging are great ways to reduce stress. For example, instead of thinking “I can’t believe I made the same mistake AGAIN” think “Everybody makes mistakes. It’s ok. It is something that I can fix.” Developing an attitude of gratitude toward the people, things, and events in your life is also a good way to reduce stress. Write it down or just take time to tell the people in your life that you appreciate them–trust me, it goes a long way! Finally, smiling and laughing also helps to reduce stress. I guess laughter really is the best medicine.
AND if you are ready to get crystal clear on your life priorities, health needs, and how to achieve your goals, my Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass is for you! In this sixteen-week program, we cover three key areas: Breath, Body and Belief. All three of which are necessary for sustainable success!
Hopefully, these three tips will help you begin to walk down the path of life a little less stressed and with a bit more positivity.
Happy New Year! It’s an opportunity we get every 365 days. What a great feeling! A new year, a new perspective, and a fresh start.
As a new year begins, many people make resolutions in an effort to better themselves. However, I don’t necessarily like resolutions. Resolutions tend to set people up for disappointment. So, instead of making resolutions again this year, set goals.
To be honest, I’ve never used to spend time to sit down and set goals for myself. Of course, I always had an “idea” of what I wanted to do each year but that’s pretty much it. So, when I sat down to write out my personal and professional goals for next year, I realized that I had NO idea how to do it. What was I supposed to do? What was the point? None. However, it’s something that I needed to figure it out and figure out quick.
Enter, John Maxwell.
John Maxwell is the New York Times bestselling author of How Successful People Think. In his book, Maxwell’s advice really hit home. He encourages people to be “big-picture thinkers.” Big picture thinkers keep broader, bottom-line goals in mind no matter what the task is and no matter how big or small it is. He states that “the purpose of a goal is to focus your attention and give direction, not to identify a final destination.” Finally, something that makes sense! Set smaller goals to reach your bigger goal–GENIUS!
So, as I sit down to set my goals for the new year, I now have a plan. My smaller goals will allow me to reach my bigger goals. I have my goals written down and for the first time in forever– I know what I need to do and I know what I must do in order to get there. There is a lot less “I wonder” and “I hope” thoughts filling my head and to be honest, it feels good. I am approaching the new year with the confidence and tools that I need to be successful. What a great feeling.
Whether you are beginning a fitness routine, creating a better plan of attack for meal planning, or yes, tackling the task of running your own business–set goals, stay the path and remain mentally clear. You can do it!
Check out these 5 Tips on Setting REALISTIC Resolutions!
Here’s to an amazing New Year! Cheers!