MAKE SPACE IN YOUR LIFE
And Restore Balance, Too
Some days it can all feel just too much, right? You’ve got to eat, sleep, work and do a million other things all within 24 hours!? Sometimes there’s just not enough time or space in the world to accomplish everything. When your lifestyle leaves you at your wits end and you feel the need to scream, take it as a sign. It’s time to actively make more space in your life.
But where to start? The holistic principles of TCM lay a foundation of wellness involving the mind, body, and spirit, that can help direct healthy ways to create more space in your life. Our bodies and our surroundings impact how we think and feel, and the food we eat, our homes, clothing, and even the weather and times of day need to be in balance for us to feel happy and content. If an imbalance occurs, you will start to feel off.
If you’re seriously craving an energetic shift and more room to breathe, you might be missing a healthy dose of balance in your life. Here are five simple ways to make adjustments to your environment, lifestyle, and within yourself to get back on track.
Declutter Your House
Remember the idea of nature vs. nurture? It’s believed that we have certain characteristics we were born with and others that we learned and grew into, largely due to the nurturing of our parents and environments. This philosophy applies even as adults. If you find you can’t shake negative feelings, take a closer look at the state of your home. Have you been neglecting your weekly tidying sessions? Or does the whole place just feel drab or overwhelming? The cluttered energy of your home very well might be influencing or perpetuating your unsettled internal feelings as well.
Stick to a consistent schedule to keep messes from building up, and create a list of bigger tasks to do on bi-weekly or monthly schedules to keep your space feeling fresh and clean. You can also boost the flow or energy by including more positive features to your design. While that might not mean buying an entirely new set of furniture, consider the elements that make you feel strongly one way or the other. If that coffee table reminds you of fights with your old roommate or hubby, it may be time to part with it. You should also add plants, photos of people and things you love, and accessories that make you feel safe and happy.
Freshen Up Your Wardrobe
We all have certain items of clothing that carry a specific memory or feeling with them. Whether it was a gift from an estranged friend, the dress you wore the night you ended a relationship, or an outfit you used to wear a lot during a low point in life, these items can drag you right back to that emotional place. If you find your clothes aren’t inspiring positivity and peace in your life, or remind you of a not-so-nice time, you might want to reboot your closet.
Similarly to decluttering your home, you should make sure that your closet is filled with clothing that makes you feel comfortable, confident, and happy. Once you’ve tossed out the clothes that were dragging you down, commit to only adding new items that make you feel your very best. While it’s important to keep your internal self healthy, one of the simplest ways to feel on top of the world is by wearing an outfit you love. Research has suggested that wearing bright colors is one of the easiest ways to boost your mood. Pick designs, fabrics, and patterns that make you feel powerful. These little details can add up in a big way when it comes to your overall mood and well being.
Clear Your Mind
Sometimes when we feel like we don’t have space it has nothing to do with our physical surroundings and everything to do with our mental states. If your mind is racing constantly, or you find you can’t keep track of all the things you’re supposed to remember, it might be time for some mental TLC.
Try releasing those wild thoughts each morning by scribbling them all out on a piece of paper. Skim through to make note of anything important and then toss the paper in the trash. Sometimes you just need to let it out, right? You can also practice deep breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, or meditations each morning and night to help create a mental space filled with calm and clarity.
Maybe during this process you realize there are lingering resentments and fears holding you back. Work to acknowledge and overcome these so that you have more space in your head for positive things. Saying uplifting affirmations or inspirational quotes in the morning can help. If there are deeper issues causing you concern, consider talking with a mental health professional.
Protect Your Calendar
If you feel like you need more space in your life, one of the most important, and often most difficult areas to work on is your weekly schedule. As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” It can be so easy to get sucked into saying yes to everything. Filling up every appointment spot in your calendar might seem like the right thing to do on paper, but it could actually leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Before agreeing to adding a new activity to the schedule, pause and consider the effects it will have on your week. Will it put you in a major time crunch, or give you less time to prepare for that really important presentation? Rather than add more stress to your plate, suggest an alternative date. Your mind and body will thank you.
Protect your space by committing to blocking out time on your calendar for breaks, uninterrupted meals, and self-care activities. These are often the first appointments to get replaced by busy work, but are in fact some of the most valuable to your long-term wellness. As counterintuitive as it may sound, making space for rest and relaxation throughout the week will make you better able to keep up your energy and productivity.
Cleanse Your Body
You know that dairy throws your stomach out of whack but that pizza was just irresistible. We all have our weaknesses when it comes to food, but you may have noticed that certain snacks can really cause some damage. Whether your body reacts with an upset stomach, skin breakouts, or bloating, these are all signs that the fuel you’re putting in your body is resulting in a buildup of toxins.
It’s time to get serious about cutting foods out of your diet that your body doesn’t agree with. When you’re eating nourishing foods, you’ll feel more energetic, alert, strong, and healthy. This can in turn reflect in your skin, hair, and mental outlook on life. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you add color to every meal. Fresh fruits and vegetables not only make for a pretty plate, they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to cleanse the body.
Want to help flush those toxins out so you’re feeling your best? In TCM, herbal teas are used for a variety of conditions and many have toxin-busting qualities. Try green tea, lemon, ginger, dandelion, or echinacea teas. You can also add cleansing flavors like honey or goji berries for additional effects.
Have you tried one of the above tips? Share your favorite way to make more space in your life.