The holiday season is a stressful time of year, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We know – you’re tired of making sure everything runs seamlessly while also maintaining your cool. We’re here to help you get through this season without having a minor meltdown in the middle of gift-wrapping.
Minimize the clutter in your mind and home with these easy 5-minutes activities:
1. Focus on your breath.
This seemingly easy exercise is a lot more difficult than it appears. It always feels like our minds are hardwired to think about a million things at once. However, simply focusing on your breath allows you to relax and center your thoughts. Start off by inhaling deeply through your diaphragm. Let your lungs expand and fill with air. Then slowly exhale.
If you’re unable to concentrate, challenge yourself by counting backwards from the number 9 to 1 with each breath. Every time you feel your mind wandering, begin counting backwards from 9 again.
2. Make a list & prioritize.
Making a list is as simple as it sounds. Sit yourself down and make a list of all the things that you need to get done, and then organize each item by importance or level of priority. Write a "do by" date for time-sensitive tasks.
3. Get enough rest.
There is nothing more strenuous on the mind and body than forcing yourself to be productive when you’re exhausted. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and if you can, throw in that occasional pick-me-up nap! Not only will you have more energy, but you’ll also be able to think more clearly and tackle your to-do list with less effort.
4. Plan in advance.
Use a calendar and/or agenda to get yourself organized and your priorities straight! Write down everything from work meetings to happy hour cocktails to meals to prepare for the holidays to avoid double scheduling and to give yourself an easy resource to refer to when you feel overwhelmed. Give yourself a deadline to complete your holiday projects to ensure that you set adequate time aside for them and avoid procrastinating on shopping for gifts for your loved ones.
5. Stop multitasking.
Devote a certain amount of time to focus exclusively on completing each specific task. Shift all other mental clutter to the back of your mind and try to focus on what you’re currently working on – it will make you more efficient and the task more enjoyable.
6. Sort through your mail and miscellaneous piles of paper.
Collect the growing pile of papers stacked in random places around your home, especially on your kitchen counters and dining table, and sift through them. Organize your mail by designating a folder or tray for 1) unpaid bills, 2) bank statements, 3) personal mail and subscriptions and 4) incoming unopened mail. Remember to recycle any other unnecessary junk mail!
7. Tackle your closet and remove any old and unused items.
Have clothes you haven’t worn in over a year? What about that old coffee table you’ve been meaning to sell? Grab a large bag or bin and label them as items to give away, sell or just throw away. While it may be too cold out for a garage sale, you can donate those old jeans you haven’t worn in years to your closest Goodwill or Salvation Army. Don’t forget to get a tax receipt when you drop off your items – you can deduct the value of the items you drop off from your tax return next year, saving you some tax dollars!
8. Fill one trash bag a day.
Tackle one room at a time and fill a trash bag with junk that has accumulated over time. Give yourself 10-15 minutes a day, as a way to let off steam when you get home from work. You’ll be surprised by how much clutter you'll manage to get rid of in such a short amount of time.
9. Visualize how you want your home to look.
Start by painting an image in your mind of the ambiance you would like to set in your home. Go through each room one-by-one and gather at least 5 things you can either get rid of or put away in a cabinet to make the area look less cluttered. Try to visualize what the most essential things are in your home and go from there!
10. Get in the spirit of minimalism.
The very essence of minimalism is to rid ourselves of excess, whatever it may be. This doesn’t mean your home needs to look like it’s straight out of a Restoration Hardware catalogue. However, it should encourage you to look past the consumer culture we live in and be selective about how you furnish and care for your home. Consider implementing a minimalist approach when rearranging and de-cluttering your space.
These are just a few suggestions to help you minimize stress so that you can enjoy the holiday season to the fullest. These tips are easy to follow and simple to implement, and are a great start to the New Year. Cheers to decluttering your mind and home and Happy Holidays!