Don’t Wait for Spring Cleaning to Declutter
As we head into the New Year, it’s a time to reflect on our goals, values, and priorities. But people often fail when it comes to accomplishing their New Year’s resolutions. The goals are often very difficult, if not impossible, to follow through with. Setting these unrealistic goals and adding more to your “to-do list” can end up making you feel more stressed, depressed, or anxious. So this year, instead of adding more to your plate, think about what can be removed from your life. Don’t wait for “spring cleaning” to declutter. Think of the new year as a time to declutter: shed your life of the clutter, negativity, bad habits, and even toxic relationships.
Make a Plan to Declutter
Make a plan into the new year: each day or week for the rest of this year, remove something unnecessary, distracting, or toxic from your life. Start off small, like donating a shirt you’ve been holding onto but can’t fit into, cutting out that extra cup of coffee in the morning, or recycling the pile of old cell phones you’ve been hanging onto. As the year goes on, start to let go of things that are a bigger part of your life, like quitting your stressful job or letting go of an unhealthy relationship. Are you unhappy with your current job? If you are nervous about quitting or don’t have anything else lined up, what are steps you can take so you can be in a good position to quit? Is there someone in your life that is toxic you’d be better off without? If it seems unrealistic to completely cut them out of your life, are you able to set healthy boundaries to minimize contact with that person? Ask yourself, “what is holding me back from letting go?” Take time to reflect on this and write down your thoughts. Keep these notes in a journal or a place where you can go back and refer to them when you’re having second thoughts about letting go of that object, job, or person.
Letting Go and Non-Attachment
Often people think non-attachment means not caring about anything or anyone (which is detachment). But non-attachment is about heightening awareness through mindfulness, fully experiencing emotions and life, and accepting what is. It means being less attached to superficial things like possessions, excess wealth, societal norms and ideals, expectations you place on yourself or placed on you by others, etc. Removing that clutter from your life gives you the opportunity to connect with and learn more about yourself and your values, beliefs, and desires. It allows you to slow down, invest more of your time and energy into what matters most, and enjoy life more.
Finding Inner Peace
When we shed our lives of the clutter, toxicity, and negativity, it opens up space for the more positive and important areas of our lives. Think of our lives as a pie chart. If there are a million different things and people we’re holding on to, they each take up a slice of the pie (even if they’re small, they add up). As we start to get rid of the negative things or anything that doesn’t serve us, it leaves more space for the most important things and people in our life. It leads to feeling less hectic, burdened, and stretched thin. We can devote more and better quality time to the things we consciously choose to hold on to. It allows us to slow down and focus, leading to greater inner peace. This is also accomplished by relying on internal validation, meaningful relationships, positive experiences, and knowledge, rather than trying to find it through external validation and superficialities.
Before you start your “winter shedding”, how do you feel right now? Do you feel hectic? Burdened? Overwhelmed? Consider starting journaling if you don’t already. Don’t judge how you feel, just pay attention and be mindful – accept your feelings for what they are. As you begin your “winter shedding”, notice the burdens being lifted and the lightness you feel. Pay attention to the emotional and mental weight coming off little by little. As you remove negativity and toxicity, continue to journal. At the end of the year, when you’ve decluttered your life, write down how you feel. Can you tell the difference? Perhaps you don’t notice any change. Compare how you feel at the end of the year to your notes and thoughts from before you started your winter shedding.
Therapy Can Help You Feel Lighter
If you are struggling to declutter and let go of toxic things or relationships, therapy can help you gain clarity on your goals and values, build self-esteem, and develop inner resiliency and serenity. You don’t have to go through your “winter shedding” alone. Dr. Violante provides teletherapy (online video therapy) to adults living in New York and Florida so you can live a purposeful and healthy life. Contact her online or call 754-333-1484 today to learn more.