Life is a mess, y’all. Whether life is going well for you or not, it always seems to be a little messy. The good mess is like having a ton of kittens and puppies wanting to cuddle with you all at one time, and you’re biggest issue is trying to figure out whom to pet first. The bad mess? Well, I’m sure you can imagine what that would entail. But nonetheless, the mess of life can be overwhelming. Alas, this is where I currently am.
When things get crazy, I reference one of my favorite books. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was a hit across the world, and is still a book that has a big impact on my life. I had this funny idea that I was a minimalist, until I read that book. I most definitely was not. But, the big lesson I learned from using Marie Kondo’s system of downsizing our things, was this is something I could use in other aspects of my life. It’s my fault if I’m feeling overwhelmed. It means it’s time to focus on getting it together. Again. Here’s how I do it.
Friends and Family
News flash: you can release people from your life, if they make you feel less than. Double news flash: you can release family members from your life, if they make you feel less than. Over my 35 years of life, this has been the hardest lesson to learn. I am a reformed people pleaser, and always thought if I was nice enough, everyone would like me. Wrong. The nicer and more accommodating I was with toxic people, including family members, the more they took advantage of me. But, when I start to see this behavior bubbling up in myself, I stop and take a look at the Joy Factor.
What’s the Joy Factor? It’s very simple. I take every person in my life that I interact with on a daily or weekly basis, and I ask “do you bring me joy?” Now, I don’t ask them directly, because they would think I was nuts. But, I do something a little less nutty. I open my hands, and pretend a tiny version of that person is standing on them. Then, I ask them “do you bring me joy?” What usually happens is I start to recollect memories of that person, and if those memories are joyful and cause me to physically smile, then they are a joyful influence in my life. If the memories are awkward, dark, or depressing, that person has to go. It’s that simple. If they spark joy in your soul, they need to stay in your circle. If they don’t? STOP WASTING TIME ON THEM.
If someone tells you that their home life is perfect, give them a side-eye. It’s OK; I’m giving you permission, especially if I say it. No home life is perfect. There are always things that people are struggling with, and things they have trouble realizing they don’t have to do. Every 3 months, I’ve found myself re-evalualting our home life. Now that we own our first home, I need to be more disciplined about this. There’s so much to do, and I don’t have time for it all. Again, what sparks joy in our home life? For this, I look at the past few month’s long list/short lists in my planner. I see the items I have consistently completed, and the items that seem to get left behind. Here’s the cool part: the items that I never seem to get to? I hire out.
Yes, hiring out could mean hiring someone who isn’t a family member, or having our kids or my husband add these things to their chore list. But, they if they don’t give me joy, or motivate me to keep my home peaceful, then I need to let them go from my responsibilities. And no, I won’t feel bad for doing so. You shouldn’t, either.
If you aren’t familiar with the long list/short list system, here’s a helpful video:
When it comes to me getting it together, I know it had a lot to do with my mental state. By taking care of the two items I mentioned above, my mental state tends to be healthier. But, I still have to sit down and come to terms with how well I have been taking care of me. If you aren’t sure where your mental state is, do these two things:
- Slow down. Take a weekend to turn off your brain. Color. Read. Lay in the bed. Watch bad TV. Whatever you can do to get your mind to quiet down. Once you slow down, even for a few days, you’ll have epiphany after epiphany. You’ll see where you need help. You’ll remember the things that filled your mind, body, and soul.
- Treat your body right. You’ve heard this time and time again, but I have to say it here. The way you treat your body directly reflects what is happening in your mind. I find that I eat horribly when my mental state is dark. I also find that I may workout WAY too much when my mindset is off. I’m an “extremes” girl. Extremes don’t bring me joy, so if I see that I am treating my body in extremes, things are bad internally. Remember what I said about letting go of friends and family? The ones that I’ve had to let go of ALWAYS lived in the land of extremes. Learn what is good for your body, whether it’s more rest, less exercise, well-balanced meals, more activity with others, etc. The physical things that spark joy will increase your mental state exponentially.
There’s so much more to getting it together when life gets crazy, but these 3 sections of my life get the most attention. Once I do these activities, I find they create a domino effect of awesomeness. I feel as if the boat is is no longer capsized, and I can continue to sail along. I find that once I acknowledge what sparks joy within me, then I can spark joy within others. I challenge you to do the same.