If you are anything like me, sometimes it feels that there are just not enough hours in the day…
But what if there were another way to look at this? Instead of always feeling worn-out, never getting through the to-do list and being overwhelmed, maybe it is time to start simplifying our lives. Rather than trying to keep up and failing, maybe it’s about doing less and being smarter about what we spend our energy on.
Now, those of you with children will be saying to me, this all sounds great, but it’s impossible. It is true that life with children is busy and requires a lot of flexibility. But when the space around this need for flexibility is rigid, when life gets too busy and full, and there is no slack in the system, this is when I feel overwhelmed.
With this in mind, I have started making changes over the past year to simplify my life. With the demands of having two young children and running my own business, I need to conserve my energy and protect it. An image of Golem in Lord of the Rings is coming to mind here… But seriously, as mums, if all we do is spend our energy on everything and everyone else around us and don’t prioritise putting anything back in for ourselves, we will get depleted pretty quickly. This does not serve anyone, especially our families.
So where have I begun to simplify my life? Here are some of the little steps I have taken so far:
1. I look at my diary for the month ahead and work out what is a must, what is a nice to do and what really doesn’t need to be done. From this, I have started saying no to the things that either aren’t important, or the things I simply don’t want to do that will just drain my spare time and energy. It’s now easier for me to say no to things, which leaves space in my diary for family time, rest and more fun (remember what that was like?!)
2. I prioritise what is important to me in my day and put these things in the diary first, just like any other commitment, so they don’t get lost when things start to get busy. For me, my early morning routine before my girls have woken up is sacred time. When I start my day with yoga, meditation, journaling and a spiritual practice, it sets an intention for my day to flow with more ease. I am simply more present for the rest of the day. When this time gets lost, my day often feels busy and stressful. Giving this time to myself daily helps my mind feel more spacious and my life just somehow seems simpler.
3. Meal planning simplifies the time after-school, which can be quite hectic with two young children. Knowing that I can open the fridge and I have everything I need for a healthy family meal makes my life a lot easier. It takes the daily thinking and decision making out of weekday dinners. Spending an hour each week planning our evening meals and then ordering the ingredients in our weekly online shop saves a lot of time later in the week and is a massive simplifying win.
4. I have also started simplifying and decluttering our home. This is a work in progress, but I have started seeing this as a dynamic project and am approaching this from two directions. Firstly, I always have a bag on the go to collect things from around the house to go to the charity shop. For example, toys that the girls no longer play with, children’s clothes and shoes that are too small and clothes from my wardrobe that no longer bring me joy all find their way into the bag. Then I try and drop off one bag a week to the charity shop.
5. My other strategy to simplify our home is by decluttering and organising one drawer, one shelf and one cupboard at a time. I have just organised our fridge with labelled see-through boxes, one for dairy, protein, fruit and veggies etc. Everything now has a place, and I cannot tell you the joy I feel every time I open the fridge to see it looking well organised and under control. It may sound like a very small thing, but it fills me with a sense of calm. I am about to tackle the girls’ playroom, which often looks like a bomb has gone off and requires me to tidy it up daily, which is a massive energy drain.
These are simple tasks which by themselves don’t seem like much. But when I start adding them altogether, overtime, they begin to make a big difference to the ease of my life. It is very much a work in progress, but the first step is just to start anywhere.
So, if you are feeling overwhelmed and low in energy, then why don’t you start to simplify your life? Start with one thing and make a few small changes to make your life flow with more ease. Remember that your energy is precious and only you can make protecting and conserving it a priority in your life. In doing so, you will have more to give to others around you.