Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How to Get Over Heartbreak by Decluttering (I'm Serious!)

A few months ago my heart was ripped out of my chest as my then-boyfriend and I decided to call it quits. It was really hard, but it was the right thing for us at the time.

I know that now, but in December, I would have told you a different story, as I had a huge void in my life and I didn't know how to fill it. I wasn't, and still am not, ready to just find someone new. I have never been able to do that.

I started looking into traveling the world or living abroad for a year. I needed a change of scenery and this book was just the thing.

In mid-January, Snowpocalypse Jonas came to Tennessee and I had a few days off from school. I had bought a few books to keep myself busy and I decided to start reading them. One was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Now, I am no domesticated diva so I don't even know what inspired me to buy this one, except for the rave review from one particular friend of mine. I guess it was meant to be, whatever that means.

I started reading the book and was surprised to read that there really was something behind this philosophy. Before starting the "de-cluttering" process you are supposed to "vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space." It's not enough to just say you want your house tidy, you have to also decide what kind of life you want from your newly-tidied house. An example she uses in the book is of a client that wanted a more feminine lifestyle.

I thought on this for a few days. Deciding what kind of life one wants is not to be taken lightly and "feminine", per se, wasn't my end goal.

After some reflection I decided that my word (and world) should be free considering the traveling that I wanted to do. I wanted to be free, unencumbered by this world and this life that I am in. I wanted to be brave and free, like a bird without a cage (even though I am paralyzingly afraid of birds, I wanted to be one, to spread my wings and fly.)

After getting my "word" I began my journey. I followed the specific order that Marie laid out in the book. This specific order guarantees you you will have results that will stick. According to Kondo, once you have been through the process in this specific order, you will NOT relapse. Ever. Pretty cool, huh? Even I can tidy up once, especially if it is going to be for life.

The first category you go through is shirts. So I got out every shirt I owned and laid it on my bed. I picked up each and every one of them individually. I held it in my hands to feel its energy. I had to decide, "does this spark joy?" for each. (That's the key component of the method.) I have to admit it was pretty rough going. I don't think we realize how much energy is held in material things.

I picked up one shirt and was hurt all over again by a previous ex because it reminded me of him.

I picked up clothes that didn't fit right. They didn't spark joy because I didn't feel joyful in them.

I picked up pieces that made me smile just by looking at them.

The biggest "aha" moment I had was when I was going through some suits I had in the back of my closet. In a former life, I was an accountant and a bank teller. I had to wear not-so fancy suits to these professional jobs, and when I first graduated college and was ready to start interviewing, I didn't have any appropriate clothing, even for an interview. I was a poor college student living off of an Outback server's wages.

But I digress, I picked up this Banana Republic suit. I smiled and teared up knowing that this suit was one that my parents had bought for me on eBay over 10 years ago. I was filled with memories of  my parents making sacrifices for my sister and I growing up without ever letting us know about it. That suit filled me with joy and happiness and gratitude. I felt all of those things and I let it go. I knew that I would never wear it again so I thanked it for its service and put it in the donate pile. It had fulfilled its purpose in my life and it was time for it to be of service for someone else. This may sound harsh to you but the memories are what are important here, NOT the clothes.

After I finished de-cluttering my closet, the most amazing thing happened; I could finally breathe again. It had been months since that fateful day when my world had fallen apart and I could see the other side of it, at last. I can't begin to tell you how good it felt. I don't know if it was the act of getting rid of things or the meditative process of it, but it worked for me; I highly recommend it for you too. No matter what kind of heartbreak you are facing, try clearing out the the things in your life and only keep what sparks joy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Do These 4 Things to Have a Happy Day

Anxiety is something that I, and most Americans, struggle with daily. Call it over-thinking or analyzing, whatever you like, but it all boils down to worrying, which, let's be honest, is not fun. It can turn a good day bad or a bad day worse. Um, no thank you.

So, without further ado, here are 4 proven ways to guarantee a happier (and healthier) day.

Exercise - I know that it sucks sometimes. I know that you don't want to do it, especially when you are having a bad day, but it is what you NEED. Put on the clothes. The rest will happen. Here are some motivational tips!
    Meditate/Pray - It's okay and, actually, helpful to take a timeout. Your mind needs this. Forget the worries of the day. Feel them, acknowledge them, let them go. Give it to God. Free your brain for more important thinking, like deciding what's for dinner tonight. Ha! Which brings me to number 3.

    Eat healthier foods - Feed your body like you love it. I am the first person to opt in for pizza, but it needs to be in moderation with other foods that come from the earth. Foods that nourish us can feed our brains, as well as our bodies.

    Get enough sleep - Ugh, this is the one that I wrestle with the most often, but sleep is SO important! We are all different, but aim for 8 hours. I find that I function better on 9. Experiment with going to bed earlier to see when you feel the best. If you have trouble falling asleep, an hour before bedtime cut off all electronic devices. This includes TVs, phones, computers, and tablets. Try doing some relaxing yoga (here's a ten-minute session on YouTube) and/or reading a lighthearted book in bed. If that doesn't work, you can try supplements. I take magnesium (Nature Made MAGNESIUM 250 mg 100 Tablets ) every night and, occasionally, melatonin (Nature Made Melatonin Tablets, 5 Mg, 90 Count ). The magnesium helps your body relax, while the melatonin helps regulate your circadian rhythm (that thing that tells your body it's time to sleep).

    Give these a try and let me know it works for you. Do you have any rituals/routines you do every day?