Lets face it. Most of us lead busy if not hectic lives these days – we are juggling to balance work life, family life and everything else in between. Many of us are stressed out, worn out and are unable to be the best versions of ourselves. My recent relocation from a busy bustling city to a small beach side town, has given me the time, space and energy to re-evaluate my life. I have been working on reducing stress and anxiety in the few months I have been here and the outcome has been life changing! So I wanted to share with you four simple things that have and are continuing to make a huge impact on my every day life (and potentially yours!)
I have been told that meditation is the key to happiness and now that I am doing it daily, I am starting to believe it! I started with 10 free days of meditating with the Headspace app (it’s only 10 minutes a day) and am now using the Insight timer app that has the largest free library of guided meditations. Here, you can choose what type of meditation you would like and for how long. I have created the habit of meditating for 20 minutes every morning, at the same time, in the same place. I am now so much more aware of my surroundings and am definitely more at peace with myself and the world around me. I urge you to give it a try, even if you can only find 5 minutes a day.
When we are at our busiest, it can be very difficult to find the time for yoga. I have definitely struggled with this from time to time – everything else seems to take priority. But by the time I had arrived here in Mangawhai, I had already made the decision to find a yoga teacher. I am currently doing Hatha yoga every week – I enjoy the gentle flow of the class and it really helps to create awareness of my body and my mind. The benefits of doing yoga are endless and although I have been doing yoga on and off for 20 years, this time I am committed to my practice, even if I can only attend one class a week. There is also a great app Gaia that allows you to practice in the comfort of your home, if you are unable to get to a class.
Living so close to the beach makes this one easy. Coupled with the fact that I have a little dog that loves to walk too, I am able to get there regularly. I use this time not only as a time for me and for Arlo, but also as an opportunity to walk mindfully. A mindfulness walk clears the mind of clutter and brings awareness to your body. Studies have shown that taking a break in nature can have a rejuvenating effect on the brain, helping to free up your mind when you feel stuck and boosting levels of attention. If you love walking as much as I do, see if you can make time throughout your week for you.
#4 Gratefulness diary:
One of the best ways to show thankfulness on a daily basis is to keep a gratitude journal. Among other things, keeping a daily diary increases positivity, reduces stress and makes you happier. The simple habit of reflecting on what you’re grateful for, can actually lead to a happier, more content life. Keep doing it every night until it becomes a habit. I like to write in the evening before I go to bed, so that I can reflect on my day and I keep it to just three things.
So there you have it. It’s amazing how by integrating these four simple things into my life, I am able to be more present and am finding my own inner peace. They have helped me to connect with myself and have reminded me to slow down and just breathe, when the going gets tough. I still have a long way to go on my journey, but the most important thing about this post is not just about what has been possible for me but what can be possible for you. Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing your thoughts below 🙂
It’s a New Year, yay! And a great opportunity to make a fresh start. I decided to make my first blog this year about habits, as it is the number one issue that many of the people I work with face. Once I have helped people to create systems in their home that are tailored specifically to them and the people they live with, it is down to them to create and work on new habits in order for the systems to work. But new habits can take time and effort to create and backsliding often happens. I hope that this blog inspires you to make change and create new habits this year!
1: How long does it take to create a new habit?
It takes 21 days to build a habit, doesn’t it? It’s the long-held belief of almost all people. This can vary for each person, their circumstances and each habit. Some habits are tricky to implement, while others are easier. My advice is to focus and commit to one specific habit for a month. By working on one habit at a time, it will be easier than trying to implement several habits at once. Take some time to think about which habit you would like to begin with – brain dumping onto paper can be helpful.
2: How do you create a new habit?
Have you ever heard of habit stacking? The phrase ‘habit stacking’ was coined by Wall Street Journal bestselling author S.J Scott. In his 2014 book ‘Habit Stacking’ he recommends that you “build routines around habits that don’t require effort”. He suggests that one of the best ways to build a new habit, is to determine a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new habit on top of it. For example:
Why does habit stacking work? Your current habits are already built into your brain. Some of them you do without even thinking about it, they have become second nature to you. By stacking your new habit on top of a current habit that is already created in your brain, it will be much more likely that you’ll stick to the new habit. Brainstorm a list of habits you already have and take some time to reflect on these. Then think about where your new habit can be stacked.
3: Be accountable
Have you ever heard of the ‘Hawthorne Effect’? It refers to the fact that people are more likely to follow through with a commitment when they are being observed (read more about it here….) You have probably experienced at least once in your life, that as soon as you talk to a friend about something you are going to give up or implement, you are instantly accountable. For a new habit to form, you need to be reminded constantly as you build that habit. So talk to a friend about your new habit! Let them know about your efforts and goals. Find someone who will challenge, engage and evoke a sense of accomplishment in you.
Building new habits can be tiring at times and it is important to celebrate our achievements, no matter how big or small. When we reward ourselves, it:
Take a moment to think about some rewards that will work for you. These can vary from small to big, depending on what you are trying to achieve. They don’t have to cost the earth and is ideal if it is something you really like and enjoy. Examples are: Go for a walk in nature, meet a friend for a coffee, buy yourself some flowers (one of my favourites!) listen to one of your favourite podcasts, read a chapter of your book, go to an art gallery, book a meal out with friends.
So there you have it. What new habit are you going to create today to make 2019 your best year yet?
It happens to most of us at one point in our lives, whether we like it or not. For many, it is a very overwhelming task that forces us to face our stuff. Now for those of us that have not faced our stuff on a regular basis, the thought of letting go of a lifetime of possessions is daunting and unthinkable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I was recently interviewed by the NZ Woman’s weekly on this topic and I explained how it can be a great opportunity to celebrate and enjoy a fresh start in life. Today I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips on how this process can be made SO much easier.
#1 Live in the moment
Downsizing doesn’t mean that you will loose everything you own. Sure, you won’t be able to take every item you own with you – it is just not possible. It forces us to make many decisions which can be very difficult, depending on our circumstances. Taking only the things we truly love and use now and which add value to our lives, causes us to live in the present. And what a wonderful thing that is! Having only those items in our homes that make us feel good, are the ones to surround ourselves with. Not the ones that cause us to feel any kind of negative emotions, which is distracting to say the least. Viewing downsizing as a positive experience where we can pare back and be honest with ourselves is truly liberating.
#2 Plan well in advance
This is one of the biggest problems I see – people just don’t give themselves enough time to prepare in advance. And believe me, the process takes a lot longer than you think it will. The more things you own, the more time it will take to make decisions. And if your belongings have not been reviewed regularly, the harder it will be to make those decisions. The more organised you are prior to the big day, the less stress you (and family members) will encounter. If you are pushed for time, I recommend that you employ the services of a professional to help take the stress out of the process.
#3 Ask for help
One of the hardest things people struggle with is letting go of possessions. If it’s all too much and you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help! Whether it’s from a family member, objective friend or professional, it’s okay to reach out if you are struggling at any point during the process. It is so much easier making decisions when you have a support buddy to help you and speeds the process along when you are feeling stuck.
#4 Ask the right questions
It is important to ask the right questions throughout this process. “ Do I love it?” “Do I use it?” “Does it add value to my life now?” are key questions to ask. Our situations change over time and items may no longer have the value they once had. We move on from things as we change as people – this is very natural and a part of life. Embrace who you are now and be honest with your decision making, remembering that you simply cannot take everything with you anyway.
#5 Capture your memories
There are so many memories behind our belongings. Most items in our homes have stories attached to them. I find that once the story has been told, it is easier to let go of the item. Take photos of treasured items and record their stories. These can be passed down through generations and the legacy lives on. Remember that our memories are inside us and will be with us forever. We don’t always need to keep the item to remember the experience, but having a photo triggers our memory and allows us to reminisce.
By following these tips, your downsizing experience can be a truely positive life change. You will most definitely go through many emotions as you face your belongings. But what might seem like an overwhelming task to begin with, can turn into a wonderful opportunity to create new memories and a new start in life!
Oh……. the fridge. That cold dark place that is so often overlooked and forgotten. The biggest problem I see? Deep shelves which are near impossible to get to the back of (do you know what is living at the back of yours?) and lack of organisation and/or no organisation. The fridge can be just as organised as other areas of your home, if not more. Today I want to share with you my strategies and tips on how you can declutter and organise your fridge AND stay on top of it!
Food items in our fridges tend to hide in there for long periods of time and often get lost and forgotten. The fridge is a magnet for clutter and I bet there are things in there that you will never use and don’t need anymore. Grab some rubbish bags, cleaning items and a box for recycling. Clear your kitchen surfaces so that you have room to sort.
Start in your fridge and work from the top shelf to the bottom, pulling everything out, shelf by shelf. Group like items together. Do the same with the shelves on the doors and the vegetable and fruit crispers. Check expiry dates on items where possible and get rid of anything that is out of date, looks like it has seen better days and items you know you wont use and don’t like. Recycle jars and compost what you can.
Now you have sorted your items, use this opportunity to give your fridge a good wipe down. When reorganising your items back into your fridge create zones for them wherever you can and group your like items together. Suggested zones are: Dairy, meats, dressings and sauces, spreads, breads, drinks, fruits and vegetables. Adjust the shelves accordingly to suit.
My top tips include:
Have a go and let me know how you get on!
The kitchen is the hub of every home and is often the busiest area in most households. The pantry is SO often neglected – items build up and create disorganisation and chaos. It is frustrating trying to find what you need which happens when it is disorganised and filled to the brim. Here on Stuff I am sharing how you can have an organised pantry using these three simple steps!
Have a read and let me know how you get on 🙂
Yay for Spring! I love this season and have been enjoying getting into some decluttering after what seems like the longest Winter ever. If you’re as keen as I am to get into some of those spaces in your home that need some attention this Spring, my 5 step method will really help you to conquer any of them.
Before you start though, make sure you have some tools on board. Here’s what I suggest:
Not sure where to start? Start somewhere small, like a shelf, junk drawer, a cupboard or the likes. Your car is a GREAT place to start! Just don’t start in a sentimental area or an area that is too emotional for you. Especially if you haven’t decluttered in a while.
Finally, create a vision for the space. How do you want it to look, feel and function (function being the most important.) Ask yourself what is working in the space and what is not working?
Step 1: Which ever area you decide to start working in, take everything out of the drawer, cupboard, shelf, box, you get the idea. Simply take all of the items out of the space.
Step 2: Put like with like items together. By doing this, you can see exactly how much of each item you have and when they are all together like this, it makes it a lot easier to make decisions on the items, whew!
Step 3: Time to make decisions on the items – pop over to my blog on “10 questions to ask yourself when you declutter” to help you here. Be honest with your decision making and ask a friend to help you if you are struggling on your own. Here’s where you use your banana boxes for charity, recycle and relocate items and the rubbish bags for rubbish and the bulky donate items.
Step 4: Move onto the next shelf, drawer, cupboard and repeat steps 1 – 3. Once you have finished, it is time to reorganise the items you have decided to keep. Reorganise them in a way that makes sense to you and at their point of use. The most important thing to remember is that the area needs to function well. You can always pretty it up later. Keep what is working in the space and change what is not working.
Step 5: Take the rubbish and recycling to your bins, the charity items to your car (rather than sitting around the house as you or others might be tempted to go back into them!) and put your relocate items in their correct place. If they don’t have a home, you will have to create one.
If you are struggling to get started, put a date in your diary at a time that will work for you and stick to it. Call a friend to hold you accountable. Get the family on board to help! Doing a little each day even if it’s only ten minutes, will eventually add up. It’s completely okay to do a space in stages, if that is what will work for you. Set a timer and reward yourself when you are done, put on some music and make it fun!
Have an awesome Spring, good luck with your decluttering and let me know how you get on 🙂
Downsizing happens to all of us at LEAST once in our lives. It can be a stressful process, filled with overwhelm and anxiety and not knowing where to start is very common! In Peter Walsh’s latest book “Let it Go” he walks you through the feelings that you will experience and gives sound and practical tips and strategies that will help you to downsize without feeling stressed and to stay in control.
I recently chatted with Carly Flynn on Radio Live about Peter’s book and the benefits that you can gain from downsizing – you can listen in here:
“Let it Go will help you to identify your stuck points, make a solid plan that fits with your goals, and stick with it.” David Tolin, Phd.
Happy listening 🙂
The kitchen once had a single purpose – a place to prepare food. Now, they are the hub of every home, due to the hive of activity that now takes place there. The island bench is often the centre of activity – it is not only used for preparing meals and entertaining, but also where kids do their homework, paperwork is sorted and organised and family schedules and planners are displayed. (more…)
We are told from a very early age that we need to buy stuff in order to make us happy. This happens through television, radio, magazines, billboards – it is all around us and difficult to escape. We are brainwashed into thinking that the more stuff we own, the better our lives will be. (more…)