“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” ~John Maeda
The past few months of my life were a myriad of things, to say the least: busy, chaotic, overwhelming, exhausting, frustrating, and stressful. I felt like my fuel tank was on zero, but I had to get up and do it all over again the next day.
I wasn't stopping to take it all in and check in with myself to see how I was doing. It took catching up with a friend in town on a whirlwind trip to give me a big, smack-bang wake-up call. I was filling her in on everything I was currently juggling (which looked like this):
- Studying twenty hours per week
- Working two part-time jobs
- Running my little love bomb of a website
- Packing our life into boxes as our rental was being sold (and dealing with open houses and constant intrusions to our physical space)
- Being Mum to a four-year-old and six-year-old and everything that comes with running a family life (when the workweek entails solo parenting, as my hubby works long hours)
- Having no family support to help with any of the above
She looked at me like I was crazy, and asked with kindness, concern, and a little bit of disbelief, “How are you managing all that?”
The fact of the matter was, I wasn't. I wasn't at all. And trying to answer her stumped me a little bit, because I hadn't stopped to ask myself the same thing.
I was so caught up in doing that I wasn't being. I felt like I was constantly tired, stressed, and unhappy. And that's not fun for me or anyone I love.
I had to stop. Something had to give, and I needed to make the right kind of changes. I needed to start listening to my inner voice—because she was talking loud and clear, giving me all the signs and telling me how she was feeling, but I wasn't listening.
So I said “sorry” and poured as much loving compassion and self-kindness as I could into me.
I started with resigning from the part-time job that I was struggling with the most. The days were long, my kids were finding it hard with a full day of school and daycare around my working hours, and I didn't have weekends off to spend time with my family.
I loved the people I worked with, but I knew that I wasn't going to work a minimum wage job for the rest of my life, because I wanted to dedicate time to my dreams.
It was scary to take that plunge from safety because I was comfortable. And I felt guilty and bad—like I should just be able to get on with it and make things work—but I had to shut down that mean girl voice stat and crank up the volume on the loving, kind, Oprah's-got-your-back voice, pronto.
Once I pressed send on my resignation email—sitting, eyes squeezed shut, and trepidation running through my veins—I checked in with my feelings.
My authentic feelings, which I started to pluck from the weeds of guilt and doubt, began to surface. This felt good. This felt really good. I knew I was on a winning track and I wanted more.
One by one, I started to make changes that were more in line with simplifying my life.
I’d had a taste of authenticity and tuning in to my inner frequency, and it was amazing.
Some things in life are non-negotiable, but it's okay to work with the things that are flexible and be kind to ourselves with the things that aren't as easy to maneuver.
We have a choice, all the time, in everything we do. Was I choosing to do all of the crazy, hectic nonsense my life was filled with? I sure was. But I needed to make some different choices because they weren't working out so well for me.
So began my journey to getting a little extra loving in my life. I got busy KISSing. Anywhere and everywhere I could, I learned to K.I.S.S.
How do you do that?
Keep. It. Simple. Sweetheart.
When things are getting too complicated for you, stop. And K.I.S.S.
When things are getting out of control and you're not sure where your head is at or what's going on where and when and next and OH MY GOD! Just stop. Breathe. And then K.I.S.S.
When you're starting to feel like a rag doll being pulled in a million different directions and all your stitches are about to come undone, and your cute, mismatched buttons are ready to pop, just stop. Slow down. Give yourself the most loving, kindest gift of all. And that's to K.I.S.S.
We need to start checking in with ourselves more and listening to our inner voice. What is it saying? What does it want? What needs to give/stop/surrender/be put on pause in order to simplify and feel free?
How are you coping with things, and what is in your power and in your choice to change?
You have so much more strength and authority than you probably give yourself credit for to make choices that benefit you. And you're allowed to make those choices.
When I thought about leaving one of my jobs, I considered what my options were. I would have less income but the trade off for me was also less stress and more time with my family (and doing other things I enjoyed). That, for me, was priceless.
I still had one job to help pay the bills and had to stick to a tighter budget, but my schedule became more manageable to do this. By far, the most important change was that I felt happier. That was how I really knew it was worth doing.
It can be daunting at first, but learning how to simplify your life can start by simply being aware of the changes you want to make.
Practice saying “no” when you feel you are overextending yourself. Start asking for help more often when you feel overwhelmed. Outsource anything someone else is capable of doing for you instead, and downsize or upgrade whatever it is that would make your life less complicated.
As much as we love everyone in our lives and care about not letting others down, who is going to take care of you in the best way possible? You got it, sweetheart. You.
You are the most qualified and most entitled to do just that, nobody else. And you can K.I.S.S. away anything you need, whether it's in your relationships, work, or parenting.
Where do you need a loving K.I.S.S. right now? Plant those babies everywhere and start feeling more aligned, more in tune, and way more freakin' happy with what you're doing in this lovely life of yours.
Zen woman image via Shutterstock