9 Signs You’re Doing Ok! (Even If You Feel Like You’re Not)

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Today, I almost decided to stop writing Unbusy Me.

While I was flipping pancakes for my kids at breakfast time, I made a decision that it was time to move on from writing and sharing stories about living a less busy life. It was time to find something else to write about and share.

These feelings stemmed from the writer’s block that I have been experiencing since before Christmas. In fact, I could probably call it “life block”- feeling unsure of what to do next in my life, while watching everyone else create wonderful businesses and achieve their dreams and goals.

But then I received an email from a friend and follower of Unbusy Me, an email relating to what I write about which got me all excited and inspired.

And I listened to a talk by best-selling author and cancer survivor Kris Carr, who talked about embracing the different seasons of one’s life. My life is currently in a “winter” phase, however there are a few blossoms starting to show up. Not much is going on at the moment, and it’s not a time for me to jump into a new job or career. However, I am planting a few seeds which will hopefully grow in the coming months.

I always tell my kids not to give up when things get a little tough. Just last week, my 10 year old daughter was complaining that she hates her ballet class this year, because the steps are getting more difficult. Then I reminded her that she says this at the start of every year, and to persevere because by the end of the year when she dances in her concert, she is so happy and loves what she is doing.

So I have decided to take my own advice!

I have reversed my decision to stop Unbusy Me. I’m not going anywhere just yet!
It’s okay if you ever feel tempted to return to the life you used to live. If you feel tempted to join your friends on a spur of the moment shopping trip. If you find yourself starting to fill up your calendar or forget to say no when someone asks you to do something for them. If your kids start complaining that you aren’t spending enough time with them.

If you decide to quit your business, or stop writing your blog.

When we feel tempted to leave our unbusy journey and return to the lives we once led, let’s embrace these feelings of temptation and uncomfortable confusion. Let’s try to find the lesson in such thoughts and emotions rather than just walk away.

To help you through these “winter” moments of your life, when things aren’t really moving and you just feel like hibernating or chilling out, I have created a list of signs that tell you that you’re doing okay (even when you feel like you’re not!).

Print the list up and stick it on your fridge and read through it whenever you feel lost or confused about the changes you are making to your life.

1. You know who you can count on during tough times.
You choose to spend your time with those you love and you have built solid friendships with those who will celebrate the good times but also help you get through the bad times.

2. You know when your body is tired.
You listen to your body when it’s telling you that you need to rest and are maybe taking on too much. You don’t feel guilty for choosing to rest- maybe not taking your work home with you, or deciding to go to bed an hour earlier than usual. And you’re ok with it!

3. You appreciate material possessions but don’t feel the need to own them.
You browse and admire things when you are out shopping, but you don’t feel the pull of having to own the item. You are happy to borrow a book from the library rather than buy it, and you admire a gorgeous dress but realise that you don’t really need it.

4. Your definition of success does not include the words “power” or “money”.
Your definition includes words such as balanced, fulfilment, happiness and giving.

5. You embrace the negatives as well as the positives.
Rather than viewing yourself as a failure, you embrace the not-so-good experiences and view them as lessons. You appreciate such experiences and know that they are stepping stones to your growth and enlightenment.

6. You make the time to look after yourself.
You no longer feel guilty about deciding to sit in a relaxing bath once a week, or finding the time to moisturise your feet, or reading that book you’ve been meaning to read.

7. You find joy and fulfilment in helping others.
You realise that one of the quickest ways to experience happiness is to help someone in need.

8. You own less stuff than you did when you began your journey.
You have been decluttering your home and getting rid of stuff that is cramping your life. You might have more you want to get rid of, but you have come a long way since you began.

9. Your calendar has more free days than previously.
You don’t feel the need to cram your calendar full of events. You no longer mind having a weekend with nothing on, or an afternoon without any plans. In fact, you look forward to having a lull in your week or month.

Is there anything you would add to this list that helps you realise you are doing ok? Or are you embracing a season- maybe it’s the summertime of your life and you are out there creating a wonderful life and living big, or maybe life’s a bit more chilled out like wintertime? I’d love to hear from you- please leave a comment!

Procrastinating Decluttering

The Best Time Is Now

So you’ve taken the first step in deciding to simplify your life.

Your plan of attack in creating an unbusy life will begin by decluttering your home.

But then the anxiety creeps in. You look around the room, and suddenly you realise how much crap you have accumulated. It could be 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years’ worth of stuff that you have held on to.

How on earth will you even begin such a monumental task? Or more importantly, where should you begin?

Maybe it’s too hard after all. Maybe it was a bad idea…

No, wait! Before you decide to throw in the towel and watch TV instead, let me give you some tips on how to get past the procrastination station and alleviate your anxiety and stress.

I, too, have been in this position and have felt the same way. It’s as though all of a sudden, the idea of living a less cluttered and more simplified life seems like a no-brainer and leaves you with a hatred for all the stuff you see around your home.

“What made me want to buy that thing in the first place? Did I seriously think I didn’t have enough stuff? That I needed more?”

Here are four ways that I get over the initial anxiety and stress that occurs before a major declutter session:

1. Baby steps:  Yes, making the decision to live an unbusy life and declutter the home is a major one, but that doesn’t mean you need to start running before you learn how to walk. Think of the process as one that is made up of many hundreds of little baby steps. Simply tackling one drawer, or one cupboard, or one box is enough to begin your process. You will feel less stressed and confused, and taking one baby step will give you the confidence to continue forward (when you are ready).

2. More doing, less thinking: You may notice that a million thoughts run through your head during your declutter session: “What a waste of money this was”, “Oh but I might need this someday”, “But what if…” STOP! It takes a lot of will power to silence these thoughts, but try focusing on what you are doing, rather than on what you are thinking. Recognise that these thoughts are occurring as a way to talk you out of the wonderful changes that you are making. That’s the unfortunate job of our brains: to make us second guess ourselves!

3. Remember why: Why did you decide to become less busy? Why did you want to simplify your life? What will an unbusy life mean to you? Write your number one reason on a piece of paper and stick it on your fridge, or on your bathroom mirror. When you feel anxious about your journey, go to this piece of paper and read it out loud. Or begin a ritual of reading it every morning after breakfast, before you begin your day.

4. Deep breaths: Before you begin a decluttering session, sit down, close your eyes and take in a slow, deep breath. Hold your breath for 2 seconds- then release and breathe out. Repeat this process 5 times. If you like to meditate, then you could use this time to meditate for several minutes, to clear your mind of any “inner noise”, and to prepare yourself for the task ahead. But if meditation is not for you, the breathing exercise should be sufficient enough to alleviate stressful feelings.

Often our negative thoughts and beliefs can sabotage any great new ideas we are trying to implement. Procrastinating when it comes to decluttering is one such way that our crafty minds try to stop us from moving forward. Realise that this is quite common when beginning your journey to a less busy life.

Grab the bull by the horns, start your journey with small steps and know that every step of your journey has been experienced by most of us living a minimalist lifestyle.

Now go and get rid of that crap!