Simplify

Six Meaningful Ways to Reconnect With Yourself

By on February 15, 2018

rest, relax, reconnect, self-care

I’ve mentioned before that I have dealt with a chronic illness for much of my lifetime. My diagnosis finally came just over three years ago. Since then, I’ve had to learn how to reconnect with myself and my body to start my healing journey.

With our busy lives, it’s easy to lose sight of how important it is to take care of ourselves. I wrote about self-care in a previous post. Reconnecting with yourself is another element of self-care. There are several ways that you can reconnect with yourself.

rest, relax, reconnect, self-care

1 | Take a Break

Taking 5-10 minutes is helpful in reconnecting with yourself. Disconnect from what you’re doing and your devices. Take the time to relax and just breathe. Once your break is over, you can get back to what you were working on with a fresh perspective.

rest, relax, reconnect, self-care

2 | Get Outside

Getting outside can be a great way to reconnect with yourself. Instead of taking your device to listen to music, a podcast, or a book, take a walk or ride your bike while just taking in what’s around you.

rest, relax, reconnect, self-care

3 | Journal

Journaling is a therapeutic and creative outlet. Write or draw each day or whenever the mood strikes you. Personally, I write in a journal each night before I go to bed. It’s part of my evening routine.

rest, relax, reconnect, self-care

4 | Meditate

In a previous post, I wrote about how to get a good night’s sleep and linked the apps that I use to meditate each day. Meditating helps you to slow down and reconnect with yourself.

rest, relax, reconnect, self-care

5 | Rest

Sleep is so important and yet, people don’t always look at it as being as important a need as it is. Each night, we should be getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep. Take a look at your evening routine and make sleep a priority.

rest, relax, reconnect, self-care

6 | Travel

Whether it’s a day trip or a more extended vacation, travel can help you to slow down and relax. Instead of sightseeing, take a few days to rest and take in the scenery from your hotel or rental. If reading is your thing, use the time to catch up on your to-be-read (TBR) list.

rest, relax, reconnect, self-care

Take the time to slow down and reconnect with yourself. It doesn’t have to take much time and will help you to take a break from your busy life.

Until next time,

rest, relax, reconnect, self-care

Continue Reading

Simplify

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

By on February 1, 2018

sleep, rest, relax

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a sleep routine that works for me. Unfortunately, I’m not able to fall asleep as quickly as my hubby (lucky guy) and I needed to do something that would help me fall asleep and stay asleep each night.

Sleep is essential for our overall well being. As adults, we should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night. With our busy lives, it’s easy to sacrifice the rest that we need. There are a few things that we can do to help us get the sleep that we need.

sleep, rest, relax

Take Time to Wind Down

You need to take the time in the evening to relax and unwind from your day. Spend time with your loved one(s), take a hot bath, or read a book, or whatever works for you to help you decompress.

sleep, rest, relax

Avoid Caffeine

Many of us need that morning cup of coffee to get us going. Consuming caffeine closer to bedtime inhibits our ability to fall asleep. Limit your caffeine intake during the day or cut it out of your diet completely. I switched to drinking only water, and I don’t miss caffeinated beverages.

sleep, rest, relax

Put Away Your Devices

Your devices and television emit light that triggers your brain into believing that you need to stay awake. Make the last check of your devices about an hour before you head to bed. It’s best if you can sleep without keeping them by your bedside. If that isn’t possible, resist the urge to check them after you’ve crawled into bed.

sleep, rest, relax

Use Essential Oils

I am an active user of essential oils and use them throughout the day. The essential oils that I use are from Young Living. I use single oils or a blend of oils in a diffuser to help me fall and stay asleep.

sleep, rest, relax

Practice Meditation

Meditation can help you center yourself and relax so you can go to sleep. I take time both in the morning and before I go to bed. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I will also meditate during the day. Calm and Insight Timer are the apps that I use.

sleep, rest, relax

Making some changes to your bedtime routine can help you to get the sleep you need to be your best self. Wishing you sweet dreams.

Until next time,

sleep, rest, relax

Continue Reading

Simplify

Getting Through the Winter Months

By on January 15, 2018

winter, plans

We live in Michigan where the winter months can be cold, dark, and dreary. Even though Christmas is over, I keep out some of my smaller, lighted trees to chase away the winter blahs. Mercury glass is also a favorite of mine year-round. Before the holidays, I put some mercury glass ornaments in my office window. I liked them so much that I left them there after I put the other Christmas decor away.

After the holidays, it can be easy to let the colder weather bring on the winter blues. You crave the sunshine and can’t wait for the warmer months to arrive. So, how can you get through the winter months without letting the winter blues get you down?

Ideas to Get Through the Winter Months

winter, plans

1 | Make or bake your favorite foods – You can cook some of your favorite foods and enjoy your efforts. Baking is also an activity where your kiddos can help. Who says that you can’t decorate cookies in January?

winter, plans

2 | Plan a pajama day – There’s nothing better than staying in your pj’s a little longer. Plan a pajama day and enjoy your day at home.

winter, plans

3 | Have a picnic – You can plan a picnic on a blanket on the floor. If you have kiddos, make a tent and camp out inside. If you have a fireplace, have your picnic in front of it and as a special treat, make smores for dessert.

winter, plans

4 | Plan a date night – Whether it’s with your significant other or your kiddos, date night can take place at home or one of your favorite places. You can take in a movie, go bowling, or do something outside like sledding or ice skating.

winter, plans

5 | Plan a trip – Planning a vacation will give you something to look forward to during the winter. Even a weekend trip can be a fun escape. Pick a favorite place or choose somewhere new to explore.

6 | Practice hygge – Hygge is something that you can incorporate into your daily life. You can read more about it in a previous post that you can find here.

winter, plans

It can be easy to let the winter weather bring you down. While you’re waiting for the warmer months to arrive, take some time to do something different and create some new memories.

Until next time,

winter, plans

Continue Reading

Simplify

Taking Time for Self-Care

By on January 11, 2018

self, self-care

Life gets busy. Too busy, sometimes. In the craziness of getting things done, and taking care of our home and our families, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Self-care is an essential part of getting through each day.

Personally, I have been living with a chronic illness for much of my life. When I finally received a diagnosis three years ago, I realized that I need to take more time for myself. My diagnosis meant changing my life in many different ways including leaving the job that I loved so much. I learned that self-care is not selfish, but an essential part of my healing journey.

What can we do to make time for ourselves to get through each day? Below are a few steps that you can easily incorporate into your day.

Don’t Strive for Perfection

Life isn’t perfect and trying to live up to a standard of perfection is impossible. It’s easy to compare yourself to others especially with all of the images online that are so perfectly styled. The truth is that those photos are only a snapshot of one space and moment in time.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. My home is not always clean, and organized and it’s okay. Sometimes, especially when I’m not feeling my best, I need to let go of some things.

self, self-care

Take a Digital Break

We often spend a great deal of time on our devices each day especially, if we use a phone or a computer for our daily job. It’s important, though, to take a digital device break from the world outside.

I will frequently leave my phone in another room, so I’m not tempted to pick it up and check it throughout the day. When I’m spending time with others, I also make an intentional effort not to have my phone out. Having those face-to-face conversations is essential.

Learn to Say No

Life is busy enough without adding additional responsibilities to your plate. Learn to say no to things that don’t benefit your best self or the time that take you away from your family.

I’ve learned to be choosy about what things I will add to my daily life. It’s not easy to say no, but self-care does not include doing all of the things.

Take Some Me Time

Taking me time can be easier said than done some days. However, you need to schedule some me time during your day. It only has to be fifteen to twenty minutes. Just enough to get you through your day.

When my kiddos were younger, we would get them settled in after school with a snack and an activity, so I could take a little time to wind down from my day. Taking just a few minutes for myself made all of the difference in giving the best of myself to my family each evening.

self, self-care

Rest and Relax

Take some time to rest and relax when you need it. You can read a book, listen to music or a podcast, or take a nap. Whatever you decide to do, take the time that you need for yourself. Resting and relaxing helps you to be your best self.

I take some downtime each day; usually in the mid-afternoon when my energy starts to wane. Resting and relaxing gives me the jumpstart that I need to get through the remainder of my day.

self, self-care

Self-care is an essential part of getting through each day, and you need to make some time for it. With as busy as our daily lives can be, it’s important to take the time to take care of you.

Until next time,

self, self-care

Continue Reading

Organize | Simplify

Creating a Routine That Works for You

By on January 8, 2018

routine, routines

A routine is helpful to get things done without having to spend time overthinking it. There are several routines that I complete throughout the day to help me manage my time in getting things done. It all comes down to delegating your time for the things that you need to accomplish each day. How can you create a routine that works for you?

routine, routines

1 | Calendar/Planner

Not only do I schedule my appointments in my planner, but I also add items from my to-do list and daily routines, as well. I check my planner first thing in the morning, so I know what each day will bring, check things off as I complete them and recheck it in the evening, so I know what is going on the next day. The key is not to overschedule each day, so I have the time I need to rest and relax, as well.

Take away – Use your planner or calendar as a tool to schedule your day including the items that are a part of your daily routine.

routine, routines

2 | Meals

When we started meal planning for our family, we always knew what we were having for dinner each night, and our grocery list was created using those plans. Now that it’s just my husband and me, we still plan out our meals. It’s a routine that continues to work for us.

Meal prepping each week is also beneficial. We don’t meal prep as frequently now since it’s just the two of us. However, when our kiddos were home, it helped to get dinner on the table if we meal prepped for the week. It was especially helpful when they had after-school activities.

Take away – Meal plan and prep as part of a weekly routine that will keep you from wondering what you’re going to have for dinner each night.

routine, routines

3 | Cleaning and Laundry

Instead of saving the cleaning that I need to do until the weekend, I clean a little each day. It takes me 20-30 minutes depending on the task and leaves my weekends free for other things. For example, one day I clean the bathrooms, and on a different day, I dust. I will do a load of wash on several days, as well. I wrote about making laundry seem like less of a chore in another post. I’ve figured out a routine that worked for me without dedicating an entire day to cleaning and laundry.

Take away – Make it part of your routine to do a cleaning task or laundry each day throughout the week. It will keep your weekends free for other activities.

routine, routines

4 | Morning Routine

My morning routine may vary if I have an early morning appointment or meeting. Otherwise, I spend time in the morning checking my planner, reading my email, completing my daily devotions, and exercising. After that, I work through my daily routine that includes any appointments that I may have, tasks that I need to do, and any work that I need to do.

On a side note, I don’t respond to my emails immediately when I first read them. Emails remain in my inbox until I take care of them. I have a set time during the day to respond to emails as part of my daily routine.

Take away – Your morning routine will help to set the tone for the remainder of the day. Complete items that will help you to be productive as you start your day.

routine, routines

5 | Bedtime Routine

To begin my bedtime routine, I start at least thirty minutes for I’m going to climb into bed. Each evening includes self-care, getting my diffuser ready to go, and preparing for the next day. I also give myself about thirty minutes to read at bedtime. Bedtime is a relaxing ritual for me, and I will go to bed earlier if I need to if it means completing everything. My usual time to turn in is usually 9:00 p.m. each night.

During the evening, before I turn in, I also take the time to journal. It is something that I started last year, and I’ve enjoyed doing it so much that I’m doing it again this year.

Take away – Take the time to complete a bedtime routine. Incorporate things that will help you to relax before you go to sleep for the night.

routine, routines

Life is busy, and it can be challenging to try to get everything done that you need to do. A routine will help you to get things done without wondering when you are going to find the time to do them throughout the day.

Until next time,

routine, routines

Continue Reading

Organize | Simplify

Looking Back at the Most Popular Posts of 2017

By on January 4, 2018

blog posts, popular posts

It’s interesting to look back and see what ranked as the most popular posts of the year determined by the number of reads. I listed the top ten of 2017 and six runners-up. If you missed any of the posts listed, take some time to check them out.

Top 10 Posts for 2017

10 | How to Get Started on Your Organizing Journey and a Free Printable

If you are creating goals for the new year, make some of those organizing goals, as well. It will help you to simplify the world around you and help with the overwhelm that the clutter may be giving you.

09 | How to Keep a Memory Journal 

I kept a memory journal throughout 2017, and I’m planning to do the same in 2018. It’s neat to look back and see what you did each day.

08 | How to Put Together a Work Tote That Works for You

A work tote carries all of the daily necessities that you need while you’re away from home. It’s important to make sure that you have all that you need without overloading yourself.

07 | Get Things Done When You Feel Like Procrastinating

This post is speaking to me right now as we begin our planned winter project. Manageable steps are essential, so you’re not overwhelmed.

06 | Tie: How to Use Binders to Stay Organized and Creating a Recipe Binder and a Free Printable

Binders are useful whether in the home office or the kitchen. I use binders more than I use files to keep things organized.

05 | How to Efficiently Change Out Your Seasonal Clothing

Changing out your seasonal clothing doesn’t have to be a chore. I used to store my off-season clothes in bins and haul them down to the storage room every six months. There are more efficient ways to access your clothing that doesn’t involve such an arduous process.

04 | Determine What Organizing Project to Do First

Organizing involves creating a system that works for you and sticking to it. When you have multiple organizing projects that need doing, it’s important to work on the areas that frustrate you the most.

03 | Using a Home Management Binder and a Free Printable 

I would be lost without my home management binder as it houses all of the vital information I need at my fingertips. Many of you were interested in incorporating one in your daily life, as well.

02 | Nesting at Home During the Autumn Season

Autumn is my favorite season, and I carry the nesting ideas into winter. Hygge is another way that I get through the long, winter season.

01 | Introducing the Home Management Binder

This post won by a landslide. I’m looking forward to reworking the Home Management Binder this year and sharing it with all of you. Is there anything that you would like to see included?

blog posts, popular posts

Runner Up Posts for 2017

How to Keep Your Email Inbox Organized

My goal is to only keep the emails in my inbox that need immediate attention. With that said, there are several ways that you can keep your email box organized.

How to Keep Your Vehicle Organized

Keeping the areas of your vehicle organized is important so you know where things are located and you don’t have to search for them.

How to Remain Clutter-Free

Clutter seems to take over from time to time. Everything needs a permanent home and it’s important to take the time to take care of things each day.

Creating a Cleaning Schedule That Works for You

I created a cleaning schedule for 2017 and plan to carry it into 2018. It has made a huge difference dividing my cleaning jobs into daily tasks instead of trying to complete everything in one day.

How to Run a Successful Garage Sale

We held a garage sale last summer and learned a lot from our experience. I am planning on having another one this summer to help declutter our home after our adult children have moved out.

How Meal Planning and Prep Can be Helpful and a Free Printable

It is very helpful to plan out and prep your meals so you aren’t wondering what’s for dinner. It’s my hubby and me at the table and we often include leftovers as part of our menu plan.

blog posts, popular posts

Thank you for all the reading love in 2017. I’m looking forward to what 2018 holds for Living a Simplified Life. See you on the blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Until next time,

blog posts, popular posts

Continue Reading

Holidays | Simplify

Simplifying the Holidays So You Can Enjoy Them

By on November 16, 2017

simplify, simplifying, organizing, planning, holidays, Christmas

The holidays can bring about anxiety and stress when we’re trying to do it all. I previously wrote about planning for Thanksgiving here and Christmas here and holiday organizing here. Planning and organization are just some of the ways to start simplifying your holidays.

Planning Ahead

Take the time to schedule your activities, menus, and decor, so you know what to expect. Make sure that you don’t plan more than you can physically do. We all have grand ideas of what we would like the holidays to look like, but we also need to be realistic.

I do not go out shopping on Black Friday. Instead, I spend the day decorating for Christmas except for our tree that we purchase and trim the week before Christmas. I also spend the weekend after Thanksgiving writing out our Christmas cards. It has become a yearly tradition and helps me to prepare for the upcoming holiday.

simplify, simplifying, organizing, planning, holidays, Christmas

Getting Organized

It’s helpful to get through the season and holiday if you take the time to get organized ahead of time. Decorate the spaces that you use the most during the holidays. Also, take some time to make sure that the most used areas in your home are in order so that you can find things you need quickly and easily. The most obvious areas are your kitchen spaces, living area, and bathrooms. If you are having overnight guests, you will want to make sure that you organize the sleeping arrangements to accommodate them.

simplify, simplifying, organizing, planning, holidays, Christmas

Take Time to Relax

During all of the hustle and bustle of the season, take the time to relax. Relaxing could include sitting, and reading your favorite book or listening to music or a podcast. Whatever you do to relax, make a habit of it especially during the busy holiday season.

One thing that I enjoy doing is making an evening to go out and take in the Christmas lights while listening to our favorite Christmas songs. It’s relaxing to spend time with my hubby while we look at all of the light displays.

simplify, simplifying, organizing, planning, holidays, Christmas

Don’t Try to Do It All

Decking the halls for a holiday can take up quite a bit of time. Simplify your decor and don’t feel that you have to decorate everything. Choose a favorite holiday tradition to do before the holiday and save the others for the weekend or vacation. Making elaborate plans can lead to disappointment if you aren’t able to accomplish them.

One year, while I was teaching outside of the home, that we did not get our Christmas cookies baked before Christmas Day. Instead of worrying about it, we made it a fun afternoon activity with our kiddos while we were on vacation.

simplify, simplifying, organizing, planning, holidays, Christmas

Simplifying

You don’t have to do everything. Attempting to do it all can add unnecessary stress and anxiety during the season instead of allowing you to enjoy it. By simplifying your expectations for your holiday and doing only what you can do, you can enjoy the holidays and the season ahead.

Until next time,

simplify, simplifying, organizing, planning, holidays, Christmas

Continue Reading

Simplify

Nesting at Home During the Autumn Season

By on September 28, 2017

autumn, fall, nesting, cozy

Autumn evokes images of all things cozy. The cooler temperatures mean the layering of sweaters, scarves, light jackets, and boots. Outside, autumn has a distinct smell and the colorful leaves crunch under our feet. Inside, we begin nesting as our autumn decor is on display and we sip a hot beverage and tuck into the comfort foods that celebrate fall.

Nesting at Home

Light some candles –

When the weather is cooler, lighting candles will add light and warmth to a space to make it cozy. Find candles that include your favorite fall scents to make your home smell wonderful.

Create your favorites –

Get creative in the kitchen. No, I’m not talking about pumpkin spice everything. I’m talking about creating some of your favorite, comfort foods that you indulge in during the cooler months of fall. Whether it’s homemade macaroni and cheese, or a white bean chicken chili, make your favorites and enjoy.

Indulge in a book or several –

Autumn is always a good time to experience a new book. As much as I love the idea of a physical book in my hands, I find that I’m using my e-reader more frequently now. Bookbub allows you to enter your personal preferences and sends you an email each day with suggestions that are free or discounted to a few dollars. My virtual bookshelf is full, and I continue to add to it.

Try a new hobby –

Have you wanted to learn a new craft? Autumn is a great time to learn a new skill. If you find something that you love to do, it will take you through the cold days of winter. Currently, I’m learning to paint with watercolors.

autumn, fall, nesting, cozy

Enjoy Autumn with the change of the landscape, the cooler weather, and the tastes of the season. However, you choose to embrace it, enjoy everything that this season of change has to offer.

Until next time,

autumn, fall, nesting, cozy

Continue Reading

Simplify

Transitioning Your Home to Autumn

By on August 28, 2017

autumn, fall, autumn decor, fall decor, autumn decorating, fall decorating

There has been a lot of debate whether it’s too early to decorate your home for autumn. Typically, I wait until Labor Day weekend to pull out all of my fall decor. However, this year I opted to take my cues from nature. The weather has been cooler this last week in Michigan. The leaves are also beginning to turn. My thinking is that if nature is embracing it, so can I.

autumn, fall, autumn decor, fall decor, autumn decorating, fall decorating

I change out the sideboard in our dining area and add a few other decorative touches throughout the house. Seasonal decorating occurs mainly in the living room and my studio office. We live in a ranch style home, and our bedroom has a wall shelf that can you can see from the kitchen. I decorate that, as well.

autumn, fall, autumn decor, fall decor, autumn decorating, fall decorating

When decorating for autumn, or each season for that matter, pull out the decor that you have and sort through it. If you have something that doesn’t inspire you anymore, purge it. Choose the items that you want to use and plan how you are going to use them. Use a few elements that speak to your style. I tend to use a more neutral palette when decorating for autumn with a few pops of orange.

autumn, fall, autumn decor, fall decor, autumn decorating, fall decorating

Typically, I spend a few hours changing out the decor for each season and continue to tweak it until I’m happy with it. The result can take several weeks, with changes throughout the season.

autumn, fall, autumn decor, fall decor, autumn decorating, fall decorating

Take the time to choose your autumn decorative items and plan how you are going to decorate for the season. Use a few elements that speak to your style and then enjoy what the season has to offer.

Until next time,

autumn, fall, autumn decor, fall decor, autumn decorating, fall decorating

Continue Reading

Simplify

How to Deal with Overwhelm

By on July 6, 2017

overwhelm, relax

Just when I think that I’m caught up on things, something else gets added to my plate. Sometimes, overwhelm creeps in even though I try to balance everything. As much as I would like to complete things so they can be marked off my list, I also know that a break is needed from time to time.

Life isn’t always easy to manage. There are days, or weeks for that matter when things seem to pile up. Too much to do and too little time. When there are multiple things to take care of, it can lead to feelings of overwhelm. So, how do we deal with those feelings and find a sense of peace?

overwhelm, relax

Exercise

Exercise is a great way to alleviate the stress that you are feeling in your life. Take a break by participating in your favorite type of exercise. Exercising could involve taking a walk, riding your bike, doing some yoga, going for a run. Whatever exercise you decide to do, use the time to destress so you can get back to what you need to do.

overwhelm, relax

Listen to Music

Music is personal, and your favorite tunes can help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Put in your earbuds, or blast your tunes while you’re working. It can help to ease the pressure that you’re feeling.

overwhelm, relax

Read

Reading can be your favorite book or magazine. Dig in, and let it transport you to a different time and place. This is also an excellent thing to do before you go to sleep. Reading can help you to relax so you aren’t focused on what you need to accomplish.

overwhelm, relax

Write about It

Keep a journal to write about your day and even your frustrations. Getting them down on paper can help to ease the overwhelm that you may be feeling.

overwhelm, relax

Use Essential Oils

If you haven’t used essential oils before, it is something that you may want to try. They are a clean, and useful alternative for many different things. One way to obtain the benefits essential oils offer is to diffuse them. Personally, I like to use lavender to relax and destress.

overwhelm, relax

Have a Cup of Tea

Sipping a cup of this beverage can help you to relax when things are overwhelming. If you actually want to decompress, make it decaffeinated.

overwhelm, relax

Just Breathe

Spend a minute breathing slowly, and deeply to unwind when things are bothering you. Focus on your breathing so you can center yourself in peace, and quiet to relax.

overwhelm, relax

Life can be overwhelming when trying to manage everything that we need to do. It’s important to step back and take the time to tame the feelings of overwhelm that can creep in. Choose something that you can do to take your mind off of everything that you need to complete. By taking the time to relax, you can better focus on the task when you get back to it.

Until next time,

 

overwhelm, relax

Continue Reading