Couldn’t we all benefit from a little more ease? We are so conditioned to prove ourselves by working hard, to earn our rest by burning out and to deserve ease when we reach whatever we imagine to be our version of success. By the time we get to the rest and ease, we’re so worn out that we don’t even get to enjoy it.
It’s time for a new approach. Instead of waiting for the good stuff and questioning our worthiness of things like love, joy, rest and ease, it’s time to make space for it and build it in every single day. Start small with simple pleasures, making yourself a priority and slowing down.
To create some immediate space for more ease, more joy and happiness, more rest or whatever you’d like more of in your life, I recommend saying goodbye to the following 5 things. I’ll share how I recommend saying goodbye and if that feels like too big of a step, take a look at the gentle step. Find a way to step into what you want even if it has to be the tiniest, gentlest step. Those steps count too!
1. Say goodbye to spending all of your energy being frustrated.
How do you respond when things don’t go the way you want them to go? Being upset and frustrated takes a lot of energy. Before you fall into a frustration spiral that turns into stress and anxiety, check in. Ask yourself what’s really bothering you. Then make a list of potential solutions, people who can help and what you might be able to do in order to let the air out of the frustration balloon.
How can you remove the power that the frustration seems to hold over you? Is your response an appropriate reaction? For instance, if you go out to breakfast and completely lose your mind because your order comes out wrong, is it really about the eggs? Is your reaction serving you or moving you closer to a solution? Even if you aren’t in agreement, or if you are feeling disappointed, could you find some relief in accepting the reality of the situation and moving on? This “check-in” will require a pause and a look at what you are contributing to any situation. As Byron Katie says, “It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.”
The gentle step: Make a list of 5-10 things that calm you when you feel overwhelmed. From taking a few deep breaths to talking to someone who helps you feel better, having this list on hand means that you can self soothe even before dealing with the thing that frustrated you in the first place. You are allowed to experience more ease before you have everything figured out.
2. Say goodbye to a little bit of clutter.
Decluttering your entire home may take some time, but if you can create a clutter-free room in your home, start there. Even if you have to shuffle everything to another room, it will give you some actual space to move, breathe and think differently in. If you struggle to declutter, remember these 10 little things.
The gentle step: If a whole room is too big, how about one corner of the room, one table or countertop or another small space for your simplicity sanctuary. If you can keep it clutter-free for a week, expand your simplicity sanctuary by decluttering another small space nearby.
3. Say goodbye to saying yes just because you aren’t busy.
I shared this here and I think it’s worth repeating. So often we think we are obligated to do things when we don’t have something else to do. We are not. You are the only person who can protect your time and energy. That means if you want to have free time, alone time or time for whatever you want, you have to save some time for you. It might feel hard to say no but it feels worse to be completely overextended.
For more ease in the form of more time, create some margin for yourself. This might mean not doing things you don’t want to do and sometimes it means you don’t even do everything you actually want to do. This looks like more white space on your calendar.
The gentle step: Schedule some time for you. It’s not as hard to say no to something or someone if you have another commitment. So, commit to yourself. Put time for you on your calendar and honor it.
4. Say goodbye to spending extra time with people who don’t support you.
Often, especially when we want to make a change in our life we get discouraged by people who don’t believe in us, don’t support us and seem to thrive in bringing us down. The good news is that it’s not you, it’s them. And more good news, in most cases you can limit the time you spend with those people or the parts of your life you share with them. Not every relationship you have will be the same so identify the ones that hold you back, and limit your time spent sharing things that are really important to you. Don’t seek support from unsupportive people. You’ll be disappointed. This reminds me of Maya Angelou’s words, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
The gentle step: If limiting your time with someone who doesn’t support you feels like too big of a step, instead identify the most loving, supportive person in your life and share with them first.
5. Say goodbye to phone-first mornings.
This might be the hardest thing to say goodbye to and it offers some of the best benefits when you do. Phone-first mornings remove you from how you want to feel and what you want to care about during the day. Instead you immediately fill yourself with the news, or requests in email, or opinions on social media. Unless there is something on your phone that is truly urgent, imagine how you might create more ease by checking your phone after you’ve spent some time waking up and taking care of you. Experiment by setting your phone to Do Not Disturb until an hour or two after you wake up.
The gentle step: If an hour or two sounds impossible, try 5 minutes. Can you spend the first 5 minutes of the morning without input from your phone? If you like how that feels, add a minute and repeat until you find something that works well for you.
Saying goodbye to each of these things will add more ease to your life and give you even more room to see what else you might want to remove so you can experience more ease, joy, peace and love every day. Go slowly, take tiny steps, give yourself permission to take the gentle step and notice the progress you are making and benefits you experience.