Stress is not the ideal environment to make the best decisions. Stress skews your priorities and downsizes goals. Desperate, you make short-term decisions that have long-term consequences. Pressure starts to poison even the best of intentions.
Knowing what your priorities are and the goals you want to achieve allows you to take control of your time. In an effort to minimize stress in your life, consider ways to better manage your money, downsize your stuff, and clear your clutter.
One of the ways to gain control over your money is to keep a financial budget. The budget defines the financial obligations you have and allocates money to satisfy those obligations, starting with the most basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. The budget also helps create parameters for how the money coming in each month will advance your financial goals. There is great value in financial management. Coupled with an intentional plan for how to use your time, a budget can help your money work for you.
In our culture, we are constantly told we must have this or that. We are told these things are necessary. So we spend energy, effort, time, and money obtaining, maintaining, and housing stuff. This erodes the energy, effort, time, and money we have for other aspects of our lives. Over time, we see how fleeting and unsatisfying getting and holding on to this stuff really is.
What’s the answer? Take back control from your stuff! Look to identify and keep the most important items and donate to someone else is need. The simple exercise of getting rid of stuff can be excruciatingly difficult. However, downsizing allows you to see – and use – those items that are truly meaningful to you. I encourage you to let some things go, so they can find their way to someone who might truly need them. Most important, those things will no longer be your responsibility, and you can simplify your life.
If you are inspired to reduce your stress and downsize your stuff, it’s important to go through the areas of your house and look to clear the clutter. Many organization specialists counsel people to create what the specialists call white space. A white space is an area in a room that is simple and devoid of clutter. Your eye is given a break from stimulation, and the space becomes a calming, visual retreat.
Clearing your clutter means going through your personal spaces and removing extraneous items. Certainly keep those things that give you special delight, but realistically, how many little bobbles can you keep track of? Your personal spaces need to be crafted to relive stress, not produce it.
Simplifying your life is not a one-and-done affair. Stuff and clutter do not stop just because you have finally got some sort of control over your life. In order to maintain your balance, I suggest before you say yes to another must-have thing, decide what you would give up to make room for the new thing.
Manage your time and determine a budget, look to downsize wherever possible, and free your space of clutter. Are you catching a theme here? Simplifying your life requires intentionality and choices. A simple fact is you cannot do it all. Another simple fact is you cannot keep it all. Trying to do either or both complicates your life, adding to your stress. Making choices is a way for you to take back control.
Dr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE in Edmonds, Washington, voted a top ten facility for the treatment of depression in the United States. Dr. Jantz pioneered Whole Person Care in the 1980’s and is a world-renowned expert on eating disorders, depression, anxiety, technology addiction, and abuse. He is a leading voice and innovator in Mental Health utilizing a variety of therapies including nutrition, sleep therapy, spiritual counseling, and advanced DBT techniques. Dr. Jantz is a best-selling author of 39 books and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CNN.