When was the last time you had an absolutely delicious night of sleep? Oh how much easier sleep comes when we are leading a more simplified life. Fewer worries keeping us up at night. Less clutter in the house interfering with our ability to relax. Shorter to-do-list.
So which comes first? Chicken or the egg? Simple life or good sleep? It's a riddle for sure.
I'm going to begin with what I can control since it's not so easy to control the quality of my sleep on command. I CAN control other factors that help contribute to the quality of my sleep, however. So here are the things I'm vowing to do today and the next several days. I will test it and let you know how it goes or if you're brave and want to try this with me please - by all means - join me!
- I will move my body with loving vigor daily preferably in the morning until my heart rate is up and breath is heavy in intervals with moderate pace of rest in between for 20 minutes.
- I will ensure I drink a liter of water throughout the day but stop drinking fluids after 8 pm so I don't awaken in the middle of my slumber for potty time.
- I will refrain from alcoholic beverages as these interfere with sleep patterns for a variety of reasons.
- I will meditate first thing in the morning and just before I go to sleep at night. Ommmm.
- I will practice my beloved gentle yoga with a downloadable class in the morning and again at before I do my bedtime meditation.
- I will breathe deeply and consciously throughout the day.
- I will use my black out curtains, remove all electronics from bedroom and turn on our air filter for soothing white noise.
- I will difuse my blend of relaxing essential oils (lavender and cedar...)
- I will take a warm bath at night with candle-light and my favorite relaxing music play list over the blue-tooth speaker.
- I will eat a bit of lean protein just before retiring to avoid that 3 am blood sugar drop that often wakes us up out of our slumber.
- I will release the habit of worrying (this one is ongoing for all of us I think but I'll do my best).
Here's to simply slumbering and for striving to slow down and savor what really matters in life!
It's been four days since I started the 125 day challenge called A Simple Life Project. Today I will be driving from Atlanta up to Chattanooga for a training conference and I asked myself how I might simplify my life today. So, I plan to leave early and not turn on the radio during the drive. I'm going to drive with no sound other than my own breath and the faint squeal of my electric car along with the rush of other vehicles blowing past me on the highway. (Oh wait, I can't take the electric car on this trip - not enough battery. Honey? Can I borrow the SUV please? No, I don't need the Y cord for streaming music but thanks!)
I noticed recently while on a drive to and from our family vacation that my kids and husband seem to need to be listening to music constantly while in the car. I tolerated it but I craved silence. Maybe that's why that serene lake with no cell service and no wifi was partly such a relief!
It's all too easy when driving to become lost in thought or distracted by audio books or music. Today I am choosing to just drive. See the sights (even if it is tail lights and highway directional signs). I'm going to just be with myself, my breath, the steering wheel and the road.
Driving Simple. Simply driving. Like a meditation on wheels with eyes wide open.
So, as you know by now I started A Simple Life Project this week on a mission to simplify, slow down and savor what really matters in life and today I'm looking at all the shoes... and clothes... and I am asking myself, "Do you really need all those shoes and clothes?" And the answer is a wincing "No."
Now I realize this one may hit so close to home it hurts... but ladies, we must get real here... we just don't need all of this. It's wasteful and it's taking up time, space and is causing stress whether we realize it or not. We need to be willing to take a good look at how addicted we may be to buying clothes and shoes and collecting them and holding onto them.
When I moved out of our 10 year family home I gave away two large garbage bags full of my shoes that either hurt my feet, never get worn, were worn out or just out of style. That was 42 pairs of shoes. It was ridiculous. Want to know what's even more ridiculous? I still have shoes all over my house. We don't wear shoes in the house so we take them off by the doors and leave them there or carry them to the closets. We have 6 doors to the outside of our house. And ever door has shoes next to it. Some of them are my daughter's and my husband's but most of them are mine. It's absurd. So, today I'm going to have a sit-down with myself and my shoes and decide which shoes I really need and give away the ones I can do without.
And let's talk about clothes. I have so many clothes that the laundry is never done. And this after giving away thousands of dollars worth of donated clothes last year when we moved. I know I'm not alone in this ladies! Do we really need all these clothes? I counted. I have 19 pairs of black yoga pants. Granted I pretty much live in yoga pants but do I really need 19 pairs? No. Time to purge.
So in my mission to simplify so I can slow down and savor what really matters in life I am going to boil down the wardrobe to 3 dressy dresses (which are worn maybe once/year) with 2 pairs of dress shoes, 4 casual dresses, 4 skirts, 14 blouses, 7 pairs of yoga pants, 10 tshirts, 2 blazers, 3 vests, 2 pair of clogs (I love clogs. Don't judge me), 2 pairs of nice flip-flops, 1 pair of pool/beach flip-flops, 2 pairs of dressier sandals, 2 pairs boots, 1 pair of Tevas, 1 pair of water shoes and 1 pair of athletic shoes, 14 pairs of undies and 3 nice bras. Maybe 1 shaper just in case.
Because that's all I need to be clothed and fashionable. My closet will have an echo and my laundry hamper will finally be empty.
I started A Simple Life Project on September 6 as a personal challenge for myself to dig deep every day into what it means to choose and create a simple life in order to slow down and savor what really matters in life. Today I want to explore the issue of STUFF. Clutter. What it is. Why we have it. How it's holding us back and what to do with it.
Now I am no professional organizer. In fact I tend to be a stuff collector. I like stuff. But why? What does it do for me? Some stuff is sentimental reminding me of special people or events. But as I face the big 5-0 birthday at the end of this year I'm really feeling the need to de-stuff my home, office and my life in general.
We recently moved out of our family home where we'd lived for 10 years and we gave away enough stuff to house a small village of homes. It was ridiculous. But do you want to know what is more ridiculous? I still have a load of stuff in my spare room and attic and garage at our new house! So, I'm on a mission.
You see, I don't need all this stuff. In fact, this stuff is holding me back and weighing me down. Maybe someone else needs this stuff in a way that is beneficial so I can free myself AND help furnish a home for someone who does need it.
So, today I am doing something I call speed-stuff-purging. I will be armed with extra large garbage bags and boxes and I will whip through each room tossing stuff I know I don't need into the bags and taking them to the local donation drop-off TODAY.
AND, I hereby vow to stop buying stuff unless it is something I really need.
The fact of the matter is all the excess stuff that doesn't really mean anything to us is clogging up the flow of life for us. A clean, orderly, sparse living space just FEELS like freedom.
So ask yourself if you really need all that stuff and start getting rid of it.
When we reach mid-life I believe our relationship with clock and calendar begins to shift if we allow it to shift. Otherwise we remain slave to the restrictions of schedules and to-do lists. I make it a personal rule to remind myself whenever I become concerned about what time it is to slow down and savor the moment even if only for a moment.
After my labor day weekend trip to a beautiful, serene mountain lake with my family where we were forcefully unplugged from electronic devices due to no cell phone coverage and scant wifi, I had a lot of time and space for reflection on what really matters in life. I concluded that in order to simplify my life I had to commit to a steady ritual of slowing down and savoring minute to minute.
Rather than ignoring the clock and calendar and losing track of time I decided to make it my friend in a pursuit of awakening to each moment as an opportunity to fully taste all the flavors of this human life experience.
For example, right now as I write this little article I am seeing my clock tell me it is 7:43 am. I am aware that I have a yoga class that will start at 9:30 am and that I will need to take my morning walk, shower, and prepare the studio for the students' arrival before then but I am also aware of the comfort of the oversized arm chair I am sitting in that cradles me as it did my young sons when they were toddlers. I feel the cushion under me and behind me. I hear the sound of the keys on the keyboard clicking as I type and the faint rush of cars passing down on the road below. I feel my lungs voluntarily take in a deeper, fuller breath and release with ease. I see the morning sun streaming in on the floor from the dining room window. I note the scent of coffee wafting from the kitchen. I savor all of this sensory input. I am aware of a worry here and there that gnaws at me and I breathe in and out reassuringly. All is well just as it is. The clock will continue to move and I will savor every moment no matter what is happening in that moment.
Try a sensory break at the top of every hour. As if in slow motion, notice what you feel, taste, smell, see and hear. Feel your breath.
This is what it is to slow down and savor. This is what it is to fully embody each and every moment.
From September 6 through January 6 I am dedicating each day to a personal challenge I am calling "A Simple Life Project." I would love to have you join me.
I just arrived home after three days at a most serene and peaceful lake in the Great Smoky Mountains with my three kids (ages 16, 19 and 22) and two of their darling friends. There was no cell phone service and very weak wifi there. We talked, laughed, got out on the water together, cooked together and as I sat on the deck looking out at the majesty of those mountains and the glassy lake dreading the return to my hectic life at home I realized I could do something about this.
I decided for the next four months I am going to make a change or a shift of some kind every day toward the goal of living a more simplified life.
For four months every day I'm going to post on my Wonders Wellness Facebook page an inspirational idea about how this might be achieved. I know I'm not alone. I hear from women every day who long for this but feel overwhelmed by where to begin. I get it. So, I'm going to jump in the water first and let you know each day how it's going. I'm hoping to inspire a lot of women to follow this plan and actively simplify their lives.
Let's discover 125 ways we can SLOW DOWN and SAVOR life so you and I can see and feel what REALLY matters. Be sure to follow the Wonders Wellness Facebook page and check in there daily to see what I'm sharing there to help you.