how to de-stress AND simplify your life in 3 steps
If you want to simplify your life, free up more time, get rid of stress and clutter - this blog post is for you, as I will share some simple and practical advice that you can apply in your daily routine, starting today. My life coaching clients have had amazing results after applying these principles: some of them freed up to 2 hours of their time during week days, and half a day on weekends; some have improved the relationships; some started losing weight (without any workout!); some started having better sleep (after years of struggling with insomnia), and all of them reduced the amount of stress and busy-ness in their life significantly! Just like my life coaching clients, you can apply these steps too!
how embracing minimalism and plastic free lifestyle have simplified my life my life
Although I was an "activist" for saying NO to plastic bags for last ten years, and I was using every single opportunity during college (presentations, projects, flyers, posters, magazine content...) to raise the awareness about the harmful effect of plastic bags onto planet Earth, wild animas, and our health after these bags end up in landfills and become the part of our food chain, it was this year that I started embracing overall plastic free lifestyle. At the same time, I fell in love with minimalism as a lifestyle - living with less things. I can say that due to life circumstances that I was for past 5 years in a way I was a part of minimalist. Moving to India without prior plan with just passport, few sweaters, and cosmetic purse which I carried on "vacation" really thought me that I CAN survive without my belongings - and be happy without all the things that I left behind in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since for last two years I have been traveling a lot, I had to learn to "live with less" or at least with that much that can fit into a suitcase. But, embracing plastic free lifestyle took the "minimalism" lifestyle to a whole new level!
I decided this year to make some changes in my interior as per the advice of my Vedic Astrology teacher (who thought us a bit a Vastu - or "Indian Feng Shui" - too) and Feng Shui expert, Marie Diamond, that I admire a lot. The first thing that both of these teach is to declutter the space as clutter is energetically attracting chaos into our life. Also, cluttered and dusted space holds a lot of stagnant and negative energy. So, I've been really putting lot of to keep the space as decluttered and clean as possible. Also, I've been regularly saging my space and burning incense to purify the air and energy. But, having a lot of cosmetic products, clothes, items of different kinds... can make it really hard to keep the space decluttered. I decided to donate many things that I do not use (often or at all), and to use those that are half used. Very fast, my space started decluttering by default - as the number of things I had started drastically decreasing.
Living plastic free (as much as I can in the big city - Delhi) meant also me avoiding to buy things made of plastic or wrapped in plastic as much as possible, and also making a lot of (positive!) changes in my daily routine. I replaced my body lotion, body oil, and hair with - raw, unprocessed, cold pressed coconut oil, which is packed in the jar (not in a plastic container with toxic BPA). I ordered a glass spray bottle for it to make it easier for myself to apply it on my skin and hair. Now, instead of three cosmetic products, I've got one - 100% natural and plastic free, with great moisturising effect! I am also replacing my foot creme, hand cream, and lip balm with coconut butter. I replaced make up removing wipes with one cotton "glove" (which is amazing!) and I use rose water as a face tonic and make up remover. I replaced peeling products with one exfoliating brush! I was amazed to find 100% natural solid shampoo bar with amazing herbs and oils in it, without any toxic ingredients that are nowadays usually found in most of the products. I ordered neem and clay powder to use as a face mask. I also decided to replace my crystal pebbles with few bigger crystals one at the time, as well as tea light candles with few big ones (which look great while burning, by the way!).
As I started transitioning to plastic free lifestyle, not only the amount of plastic that use has reduced, but also a number of things that I own reduced drastically too! Not only am I doing the planet Earth a favour, but I have also decluttered and detoxified my life immensely! Now I am using 100% natural products for my skin and consuming less microplastic trough food (I was shocked when I recently read that according to the latest study, we could be eating 5 g of microplastic each week - a.k.a. swallowing a credit card's weight in plastic, via food and water that we consume!). After decluttering and donating a lot of my stuff, and later on replacing many of my remaining things with plastic free alternatives, now I am having less stuff, less clutter, more empty space, more beautiful and organised living space, and also - more of my free time. I spend way less time in organising, cleaning, and searching things (now I know exactly where is what). I spend less time thinking what will I wear (I kept the clothes which I like to wear and I do wear often - only). I am also buying much more consciously now, like for example now I am preferring sustainable fashion - clothes made of eco friendly material, like cotton, silk, wool, linen, and bamboo and woven bags... I am buying less stuff but those of better quality and those that are natural and earth friendly, and only what I really like to wear, use, or have.
I love the teaching of Bob Proctor about The Law Of Vacuum in the Universe. Universe tends to fill the vacuum - empty space. If we keep our physical space stuffed and filled - we are not creating the space for the new things, prosperity, ideas, people, and abundance to come in our life. Whatever you want to attract in your life, contemplate if you have created the SPACE for that same thing? Do you have the empty time for new clients, business deals, projects... to come? Do you have an empty shelf in your home for your new desired partner to come? Do you have a space in your home for new pieces of furniture, new clothes, or new things to come?
Now, I will share with you practical, simple, and actionable steps that you can do to de-stress, declutter, and detox your life:
simplify your life step 1 --> declutter
Declutter your life one thing the time. Take out all the clothes from your closet. Examine them and then contemplate on how often are you wearing every single item. How much do you love every single piece? How does wearing those clothes make you feel? Excited, confident, comfortable, happy... or blah? If there is anything that you did not wear for a long time? If yes, chose to donate or gift it away to someone who needs it more than you do. Do the same things with your cosmetic products - use up the open stuff, throw away what got dry, expired, damaged... and leave only the products you use often. Then declutter the kitchen - get rid of groceries with expired date, pots you do not use, extra cutlery and "decorative stuff" which serve no purpose. Make meals with groceries and spices that you already have - instead of buying new food produce. Store the groceries in transparent glass jars - so that you can see all the things you have and how much of it you have. Put all the things that you use for preparing breakfast at on place in the kitchen. Organised kitchen means less time spent on preparing food and cleaning up afterwards. Make sure to declutter your storage space as well. Leave only those things that you really need. More empty space in the storage and less things in there equals less time spent in searching for what you need. Declutter your work space as well. Leave only things that you really use and need. Declutter your desktop and arrange your folders. Unsubscribe from every newsletter that you do not love, adore, find immensely educational or useful, or read often. That way you will have less e-mails coming in your inbox - to read.
After you do a major clean up, make a commitment to yourself to unpack, use, and enjoy the things that you were stacking, storing, and keeping for a long time for a "special occasion". For examples, perfume bottles, scented candles, beautiful plates and cutlery, mugs, little black dress (or fancy long dress). Every day is a special occasion if you are alive and healthy, not to mention surrounded by people that you love. Treat yourself like you would treat the special guest, because you are worth it and YOU deserve it! Celebrate every day of your life as a special occasion, and every day will feel special and magical.
Remember, people are to be kept, and things are to be used!
The best form of decluttering is to prevent the clutter from happening. Two things have helped me a lot in this process - being more conscious of what I am buying, and making decluttering and cleaning a "ritual" on Saturdays. In astrology, the sixth day is correlated with planet Saturn - Satur(n)day. Therefor, Saturday is ideal day for cleaning, decluttering, and doing all kind of "dirty work". :-)) I made it a ritual to sage the space and do some decluttering and cleaning every Saturday. No matter which day and time you chose - if you make it a ritual (an action that you will repeat every day or week consistently) you will make it an effortless habit that will stick with you for life!
I also ask myself before I buy anything now: "Do I really need it? Will this simplify my life? Will I use it (often)? How using (or wearing) this will make me feel?" You can pause, take a deep breath, and contemplate on these questions as well, anytime you are buying something new. You can also contemplate on the real reason why you want to buy something new: because it's cheap or discounted, because your want to prove your worth or fill the emotional void within, or because you really need + like it? It will help you to be a conscious consumer and also to buy less things, which will last longer, and serve you well. Also, think of the ways that you can replace multiple things with just one product.
simplify your life step 2 --> DE-STRESS
Stress is defined as "a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances". Simply said, stress is a mental or emotional state of tension which is the result of having too many things to do, and too less time. The fundamental stress removing factor is, therefor, freeing up some of our time! I have a time tracking tool which I give to my life coaching clients, and some of them were shocked after we together discovered where they are "wasting" their time. Many of them were super busy entrepreneurs, CFOs, CEOs... which could not squeeze 15 minutes in the morning to have a breakfast, read a book, book important doctor's appointment, or time to go out or play sports with their children. Some of them found that they are spending up to one hour (throughout the day) scrolling social media, interacting in the What's Up groups, and chatting to some "friends" who were not very important in their life. Some of them found that they spend up to 2 hours talking on the phone with their best friend "in need" every day (!), or long distance boyfriend. Some of them found that they spend too much time in meal preparation, which they resolved by organising their kitchen, smarter grocery shopping, and switching to less time consuming recipes. Some of them were being drained by friends who needed their constant help and support or company for parties that my clients were not enjoying attending at all.
One of the biggest time consumers is the habit of saying YES to coffee and party invitations, or family gatherings, which we (deep down in heart) do not want to attend at the first place. We also may suffer (as I like to call it) from the "syndrome of helping others" (I was guilty of that too for the major part of my life!). I am not saying that helping others is not a noble thing to do, but if you do not have time to spend with your kinds or your significant other, taking on the phone for hours with your best friend with broke up (again) with her man - is just not right. Driving your cousin, neighbour, or friend to doctor while not having time to book appointment for yourself is - foolish! Attending parties, dinners, coffee chats, and family gatherings during which you feel bored or drained, while at the same time you could do something that really excites you, contributes positively to your life, and make you happy (like movie night with your partner, play time with your kids, getting a massage, reading a good book, attending yoga class, devoting time to self care, or working on your blog, website, business idea...) is a WRONG choice! Saying YES to something always means saying NO to something else! You have to get your priorities straight and eliminate all the activities that are not aligning with those priorities!
Social media and "endless" chatting can also be one of the biggest time consumers. Tracking the amount of time you spend chatting and scrolling can be of big help in being more mindful about it. If you can meet the person live, prefer it that way, and keep the conversation topics for that particular time. Group chats can be very time consuming, as there are lot of messages coming throughout the entire day (delete yourself!). Turning off notifications by social media is also a good way to cut out the time from social media. Delete and unfollow anyone who is negative, or does not share the content you really love to read/watch. Less people you follow, less will be there to scroll on your feed. Negative people and family members can add to your stress even more - they do not deserve any of your attention or even access to you or information about you. I have had some family members that were following me and then spreading mean roomers, after seeing some of my photos, or giving me sarcastic comments about my life and the content that I am sharing on social media, which started getting more and more cynical and mean year after year. This year I deleted + unfollowed + blocked + restricted access to every single one of them on my social media platforms! My dear cousin, Matea, sent me a funny meme two months ago, saying "Blocking your family members on social media is half of the health!" :-)) Just because someone is your colleague, family member, or whatever... YOU DO NOT HAVE TO have them on your social media if they are negative in any way, or if it costs you your mental piece and drains your time.
Another way to de-stress is to declutter and organise your living and work space - less clutter - less things - less time spent searching for things --> less mental clutter + more free time time. Burning essential oil of peppermint in the offices is proven to help employees maintain higher state of focus and concentration. When you want to relax, you can burn some lavender essential oil. Drinking water with mint leaves can help you to be more focus and productive during the day, as well as drinking mint tea. If your body is in tension, so will be your mind. Yoga, pilates, stretching, swimming, having a hot bath, or getting a massage, can help you to relax physically and mentally at the same time.
In the book “Nature Principle” the author Richard Louv has shared the scientific studies which show the correlation between time spent in nature, or even with a view of the park or a tree and people’s mental and physical health. Research has shown that couples who are living surrounded by nature and green plants and trees fight less, children who have the window view on the trees and green plants perform better at school and can focus better on the subject, patients who have the window view on the trees or green plants recover faster from the disease, people who have the window view to the green trees and plants or even plants in the office space can perform better at their work tasks. Even if you live in a big city, spending some time in the park and or green plants in your home can give huge benefits. The author has called this healing and calming effect of nature vitamin N, as the connection with nature is essential to us humans just like the vitamins in our body. If you need to ground, calm down, get your creative juices flowing… get out in the park or spend some time connecting to nature.
Planning your time and writing down your daily goals and TO DO tasks are big sisters of good time management and productivity! A good planner can save you a huge amount of time, as long you commit to use it on a daily basis. It takes 5 minutes in the morning to write down your goals and top priorities (MUST DO-s) for the day. My life coaching clients say that planning their day in the morning helped them manage their time better, actually accomplish everything that they were supposed to do, and be much more productive.Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal setting and found that people are 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down! If you do not have a planner and/or goal setting journal, you can download a free printable planner that I've created for my coaching clients - for FREE - by clicking on the button at the end of this blog post.
Working with a life coach can help you not only to achieve your goals, but also to improve your overall well-being, resilience, and reduce stress, anxiety and depression (as confirmed in rigorous Psychology research studies, performed by Anthony Grant, Ph.D. director of the Coaching Psychology Unit of the School of Psychology, University of Sydney). Life coach can help you achieve much more in less time, than if you would do it on your own (statistics from the American Society for Training and Development provide insight that a person’s probability of achieving a goal increases from 50% to 95% when one has a coach/mentor to keep the him/her accountable and helps putting the idea and plan into action!). If you want to learn how to master and manage your time like a pro, set and achieve your goals, de-stress and transform your life in just six months, you can read more about my life coaching program over Skype by clicking on this link. Now, let's talk about the third step in simplifying your life: DETOX!
simplify your life step 3 --> DETOX
Let's talk about various kind of detox-ing practices. Social media detox is one of them. UNFOLLOW + DELETE + BLOCK anyone who is not inspiring you, supporting and encouraging you, or filling your feed with some useful information, good advice, and positive energy. Following less people means less time spent scrolling! Also, means less messages to reply and less notifications to read = saving time!
Social detox: Be mindful of people with whom you are spending your time with. Saying YES to anything means saying No to something else. Make sure that you set healthy boundaries in relationships so that other people do not drain too much of your time and energy.
Diet detox. You can start with one healthy habit per a day and upgrade it with time (it works like magic!). For example, glass of lemon water early morning, or one smoothie per day. One bowl of fresh salad per day. One bowl of fruits. One green meal per day. Consistency counts! Consistency builds habits! Healthy habits = healthier lifestyle + healthier body. Drink more water and herbal teas, such as green tea. Do not buy food that is unhealthy for you. If you have it in the kitchen or in your fridge - you will fall into the temptation! If and how much you can afford, chose organic food produce.
Skin detox: Did you know that what we apply on our skin gets absorbed in the blood in just five minutes? Skin is our largest organ on the body, and the quality of the self care products that you're using is therefor very important! Many cosmetic products that are declared as "natural" contain toxic preservatives and ingredients, such as parabens. Cosmetic products packed in plastic packaging can also contain toxic BPA ingredient. When buying self care products look for paraben free and plastic free alternatives. Coconut or extra virgin olive oil make excellent hair oil, body oil, and skin moisturiser - and they are available in glass jars and bottles. Handmade and 100% natural soaps (with herbs and oils) are usually packed in paper boxes and they are really good for the skin too (comparing to shower gels whose ingredients you cannot even pronounce properly - forget knowing what they are - unless if you're not PhD in Chemistry or so :-)). Exfoliating wooden skin brushes for face and body are also 100% natural and non-toxic choice for self care, as well as crystal face massagers. Replacing your plastic toothbrush with bamboo or wooden one can save the planet from more plastic which ending up in landfills and oceans and also help you in detoxing process. Wooden or bamboo comb, unlike the plastic one, does not create static electricity in hair, and it also gently massages the scalp while combing, and it is 100% natural, non-toxic, and biodegradable. You can replace wet wipes with alcohol and other chemicals for removing make-up with one cotton or microfiber glove, and as face toner and 100% natural make up remover you can use rose water.
Home detox: burning essential oils in home works as 100% natural air refresher and it also purifies the air. Essential oils of tea tree and lemon have antibacterial properties as well. Burning certain type of incense is scientifically proven to have antibacterial properties - they are purifying the air in the home and burning dry sage leaves or smudging sticks, or polo santo sticks believed to remove negative energy in the space. Avoid storing food in plastic containers, because most of them contain toxic BPA ingredient (especially storing hot food). Swap plastic containers and pots with glass jars and containers, and metal boxes in the kitchen. Whenever you can buy alternative to plastic, go plastic free. Give preference to vegetables and fruits that are naked and not packed in plastic boxes or wraps. Carry your own cloth bag when you go for shopping. Less plastic we use, less toxic substance we consume and less of it ends up in the landfills and oceans for many generation to come (for example it can take up to 200 years for a simple plastic straw to decompose - some plastic products take up to 1000 years!). Carry your own glass or metal reusable bottle (nowadays beautiful bottles with crystal in it for infusing the water are available as well!), instead of drinking water from plastic bottles. Incorporate more natural products for cleaning home, such as dish plastic free washing blocks and wooden brushes, vinegar, baking soda, essential oils... They are cheaper, better for the planet, and better for your health! You can also get a Himalayan salt lamp in your home.
Even though I do not know what your personal challenges are, I do know that if you start the advice in this post that you will see your level of stress reducing and your life changing for the better! On the blog I can only share general advice, as only by working with you 1 on 1 I can give you personalised advice that will work for YOU, your unique challenges, life vision, goals, and situation. If you want to know more about how working with a life coach feels and looks like you can click on the button below to read about my life coaching program over Skype, or click on this link to read and watch the testimonials of the clients who worked with me. If you want to download the free daily planner, make sure to scroll to the end of the blog post and click on the DOWNLOAD button. Thank you for reading. Sending love!