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-John Bailey, Autumn
Fall is a wonderful time of year. Fall festivities bring joy and excitement to our lives, but with so many time-consuming obligations, it’s easy to lose track of what we need to live a happy and healthy life. With the holidays right around the corner, there is no better (or more important!) time to simplify than the start of fall.
Here are a four steps to simplify this season:
Simplifying starts with us. We can lose track of our guiding light through our busy daily grind, especially after a summer season of vacations, parties and pastimes. In order to simplify, we must recenter to reconnect with who we are, what we value, what makes us come alive and why we want what we want. It may take an afternoon at a coffee shop or a long solo hike through the woods. It may take a few months of daily journal writing to reflect and recenter. Whatever it takes, take the time you need to feel connected to you.
Once you know what you value and what you’re working toward, be strategic with your time and energy. Commitments sweep us into their grasp and before we know it, we’re spending every evening at the school to prep for the fall festival or on a work project we don’t even believe in. It’s important to know yourself and how much you can handle before committing to any new activities. If you know you only have an afternoon free to add a new activity, don’t commit to a weekly book club if you really want to give back; volunteer at your library instead. If you want to spend more time with your kids, schedule a date with them to ensure you don’t let time slip away. We only have so many hours in our week–life is too short to commit to anything we don’t find joy, value or both.
Minimize Your Clutter
The fastest way to simplify is to get rid of clutter in your home; the fastest way to feel more at peace is to get rid of mental clutter. Both are important to simplify this fall! Our physical stuff does take our mental energy. We get overwhelmed reaching over boxes in our closet to get to our clothes. We get frustrated with all the kitchen gadgets that take up counter space. And when papers or trinkets pile up on our kitchen table, you better believe it’s a pain to deal with. Take the time this fall to be mindful about what you actually need. If an object in your home does not serve a need or bring you joy, donate it. If an object doesn’t serve a function AND makes you feel guilty or does’t serve you, double donate it! You aren’t doing anyone any favors by keeping gifts you hate, trinkets that make you roll your eyes or mementos that mean nothing to you. Get rid of stuff that does nothing but bring negative thoughts.
Just as important as simplifying our physical clutter is simplifying our mental clutter. Start moving toward a more peaceful mind, especially when it comes to negative feelings such as guilt, jealously and hatred. Journaling and meditation are great places to start; eliminating negative people/sources or seeking professional help may be the next steps.
Take Time for You
We all get caught up in our commitments, but we must be diligent in taking time for ourselves. Take time every week to recharge and connect with yourself and your needs. Take a leisurely walk, spend an afternoon reading at a coffee shop or go see a movie at that independent theater you love. We must keep the relationship with our biggest ally (ourselves!) going strong, so we can give keep our charge on full for our goals and our lives.
By taking steps to reconnect with yourself and what you want out of life, you can finish the year strong and continue toward your goals.