Being a parent, especially a mother or woman comes with a whole lot of baggage. Especially the emotional baggage which invariably tends to take its toll on our physical health and well-being as well.
While we, mothers are caregivers of our family members, we need to pay attention to our own selves first. I know it is easier said than done and that is why we are going to do this together.
A large part of our lives either goes in investing all our time and energy in either our homes, work or both. Whatever path you have chosen for yourself is not an issue! It is perfectly okay to be a housewife just as much as it is to be a working woman if that is what either the circumstances or you chose for yourself. At the end of the day, both are jobs and equally honourable. Either ways, stress is a huge part part of our daily lives! There is no escaping that. However, how we manage stress makes all the difference.
The point that I am trying to emphasise is that in all this daily humdrum of taking care of the family, home and office work, we need to find time for ´Time to stand still´. Just for a while! So, that we can reflect, introspect and see what is working and what can be improved in our lives. We need to go through a entire 360 degree detoxification and declutter process not just in our surroundings but also in our physical and mental state of being.
It was Brian Tracy,…., who rightly said – ´Intelligence is a way of acting. If you act intelligently you are smart. Regardless of your IQ.´
It is pointless to have a great IQ score if our actions do not reflect our intelligence. Simply put, Intelligence is a way of living. And we are all capable of developing that kind of practical intelligence with some mindful actions.
This is for the good of ourselves first. Why not! It is not selfish at all to put ourselves first contrary to popular perception. And secondarily, it is good for our family, home and professional life as well! It is a ´Win-Win´situation for all of us.
There are many methods one can use to declutter and live an emotionally unstuffed life. We are going to discuss some of them.
1. Outer Order leads to Inner Calm
It is true that our home and surroundings are a reflection of ourselves. It is good to start the declutter process beginning from home sweet home. We need to alienate ourselves from materialism. There is no end to pursuing money, buying and hoarding so many things. All they do is provide temporary happiness and satisfaction till we are obsessed with buying and hoarding the next best thing again.
It is okay again to buy another thing as long as we let go of our old things. Be it books, clothes, furniture, gadgets. The old must make way for the new. That is also the Law of Nature itself.
Declutter Tip 1: It is in giving and not accumulating that we derive genuine happiness.
2. Every ´Yes´ deserves an equal and opposite ´No´.
Learn to draw boundaries. This is a necessary act of self-defence. Too much generousity again is injurious to one´s health. Being a real life martyr is pointless, if we forget and neglect ourselves in the bargain. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own well-being – physical, emotional and spiritual.
We have to understand that as human beings, we have our own limitations in stamina and energy. Time doesn’t come cheap either. Learn to balance the willing Ýes´ with a firm ´No´.
Declutter Tip 2: Recognise our limitations in terms of energy, stamina and time and learn the art of saying ´No´ when required.
3. Change is the only constant in life
Change can unnerve a lot of people. It creates a lot of fear and anxiety in most of us. But, things are constantly changing around us. Including our children, spouse and family.
We must accept the change however difficult it might seem. A mother might find it difficult to let go off her son and share him with his wife at the start. Or she might find it hard that her children want to go their independent ways and leave us with an empty nest. Or they may explore a wholly different thought process or profession than we envisioned for them. We need to understand and see things from their perspective as well.
We have to accept and accommodate many such changes lest they affect our peace of mind. There is only so much we can control and the rest, we have to learn to let go.
These changes can also mean the beginning of a new opportunity. When my daughter was born, my career took a backseat partly due to choice and partly due to circumstances. There was nothing I could do about being in the US with an H-4 Visa. Yes, it used to bother me but this also gave me the lovely opportunity to giving my undivided time and attention to my daughter. Meet and make a whole lot of new friends, learn something from them, smell the roses, cook a lot and eventually fall into the whole process of cooking, enjoy vacations without worrying about accumulated leaves, read a lot and more! There was absolutely no stress in my life at all.
But, for this to happen, I had to accept the current reality and be mindful of the present so as to really enjoy it. I saw value and meaning even in housekeeping and being a homemaker. In fact, I had a newfound respect for all content homemakers. I still genuinely do!
The present is truly a gift and underneath that pretty wrapped up box, lies a whole new world of opportunities. But, it is for us to accept this gift wholeheartedly and make the most of the present.
Declutter Tip 3: Just before sunrise, there is a dark night. Learn to embrace what lies ahead wholeheartedly.
4. Let go of the Negativity Bias
All of us go through a cycle of emotions in our life. Anger, jealousy, hatred, irritation, discontentment, sorrow, happiness, peace, contentment and more. It is perfectly normal to feel any of these rainbow of emotions in our life.
We are human beings and not saintly Gods at the end of the day. We have to accept the negative emotions that we are feeling at any given moment. In fact, scientifically it is proven that we are all prone to having a Negativity Bias. Negative thoughts like anxiety, fear or anger capture and hold our attention more strongly and persistently than happier emotions and thoughts.
But, we have to mindful of our brains have a natural negativity bias. We have to make a conscious choice not to go any further with those negative thoughts lest they cloud our judgement, take over our sanity and drag our life into perpetual darkness.
When a negative thought crosses our mind, we have to replace it with a positive thought.
So, let´s say we get jealous as all normal human beings do when someone gets something we have always desired. Applying the rule here, we replace the negative thought of jealousy with positive thought of inspiration. Study what makes that person successful. If you don´t find the answers by mere observation or conversation, read self-help books to let you get there. Let someone else´s success be a source of inspiration for us instead to better ourselves as well.
Or, let´s say as mother-in-laws, we see our daughter-in-laws with the most harshest critical eye seeing nothing but flaws in them. Instead, let us also open our eyes to seeing their good qualities which made our sons fall for them in the first place. Also, remember that – Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi! The same goes for daughter-in-laws. We have to realize that our mother-in-laws might be much older than us but they are not perfect or Gods or our mothers. We have to learn to look at them as our beloved husband´s mothers, the ones who raised them up to be the man we so love today. We have to give her and the relationship time to flourish and mature into something beautiful and priceless. Learn to let go of judgement and replace that with positive thoughts of empathy and compassion. This will ease up all that negativity and tension within ourselves, our homes and in our relationships.
Or when we are bored, let us not brood and let our minds be a devil´s workshop. Instead, let us use that boredom to stir up our creative juices.
Declutter Tip 4: When a bad thought comes in, a good thought comes out.
5. The One Minute Rule
One simple but highly effective method for decluttering our life is the One Minute Rule. This rule states that any task that takes 1 minute or less should be completed immediately instead of letting it all pile up and overwhelm you at a later point of time. You would be amazed at how much one can accomplish in a minute and how this rule really helps in organising one´s life more effectively.
Declutter Tip 5: Tiny steps leads to big leaps of progress
6. Schedule a ´Me´ Time
How you want to spend your ´Me´time depends entirely upon you. This time is apart from the daily exercise routine and monthly ´Pamper me´sessions at the parlour or home that I hope you have set aside. This ´Me´ time can be anything from listening to music, dancing, reading, writing, painting, talking to loved ones or a random stranger, attending some talks, sessions on weekends, joining a club of your interest. Anything that makes you happy other than your family and makes you flourish and come alive.
Declutter Tip 6: It is good to be selfish when it comes to your happiness, health and wellbeing
I hope that you find these little steps to leading a decluttered life useful just as much as I did. What are some of the steps that you take to leading a clean, minimalistic and productive life? Please share with all the readers, including me.
And, Don´t forget to take care of yourself.