Need Permission to Let Go?

Are you in one of those seasons of life when you have taken on too much and are overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities? Or maybe expectations at work increased at the exact same time as a family commitment became more intense? Or maybe you are feeling the pressure of the upcoming holidays and all that goes into making that time of year work?

When I find myself in the middle of a season that feels too full I often long for a way out, but it can also feel like my hands are tied. It’s easy to tell myself that I just have to suck it up, deal with it, and hope for easier days ahead. But I know in my heart there has to be another way, because powering through often leaves me exhausted, resentful, and still feeling stuck.

It might not be easy.  But I have to LET GO. 

I don’t mean throw in the towel or trash it all! That doesn’t solve anything. What I am talking about is noticing the things that are taking up time and energy, but could be set down FOR NOW. Setting a few things aside FOR NOW is one way to open up the breathing space needed to keep my body and mind from feeling so overloaded and neglected. But nobody knows what those things are but me.

No one can give me permission to let go.  The only person who knows what I need, when I need it is ME.   

Which means I have be mindful of what is happening inside of me. I have to stay in touch with my tendencies, my desires, my hopes and my frustrations.

So if you are feeling overloaded and know that a shift is needed, then try this simple exercise to uncover the things that you want to let go of FOR NOW in order to take better care of your mental health and your heart.

  • Find a scrap of paper, the back of an envelope, or turn to the next page in one of the many notebooks lying around.
  • Take 5 minutes and write down everything that you would like permission to let go of. Go ahead! No one has to see this list.
  • And don’t sensor yourself. If something wants to get written on the list, then write it. No second-guessing.
  • Now sit for a moment and let yourself feel the relief that comes from listening to the requests that are coming from your heart. Maybe even put your hands on your heart-it’s funny how this simple act can feel so soothing.
  • Then, commit to make one small change OR do nothing but keep this list in mind and watch for ways that you could decrease your involvement in something that you wrote.

Offer yourself the permission to let go of needing to do it all! Your body, mind and soul will thank you.

If you are in a place of overwhelm and longing to shed some of the things in your life that are holding you back, then I hope you find some encouragement from this poem by Safire Rose. 

SHE LET GO

You can let go.  You can move ahead. 
Offer yourself the permission you need to make your life reflect your desires.

Declutter & Redesign is all about letting go of the things that no longer serve you and redesigning your space, lifestyle, or habits to fit that yearning in your soul for a change or an easier way.  

And this letting go can happen in stages, so wherever you are on your own journey, I hope you continue to follow along or share this message of hope, so that we each find the support we need at the right time.

Be in touch. I offer a 30 min. free phone consultation and would love to hear more about the changes that you are longing to make.

When you are continually juggling “all good stuff” then is it really all good?

Are you feeling swamped by all the possibilities, activities, and responsibilities in your life?

I can relate. I am a #1 on the Enneagram, the Perfectionist or Reformer, which means that it is easy for me to notice things that need improving or tweaking. Walking from my home office to the bathroom, my attention can be drawn to 5-10 things I could do! Which means my to-do list can get really long if I’m not careful.

And I love to learn about self-improvement, culture, and creativity, so any new books, classes & podcasts around growth are super tempting! Without realizing it, I might be reading a stack of books, taking a couple classes, and downloading enough podcasts to keep me busy for hours.

Add in the activities and responsibilities of parenting two active, social kids and running a business and I might as well throw up my hands!

It’s exhausting and embarrassing to write all this! Especially when I understand that mental clutter can be just as overwhelming & debilitating as physical clutter.

I could try to justify it all with the phrase I often hear from busy moms, “But it’s all good things.” These words usually follow the crazy list of everything that they are juggling, like the one I just rattled off.

I understand what these words are trying to say. I, too, try to live in gratitude for all of the good that comes into my life, but there comes a point when too many good things can’t be called good anymore. All those “good things” are coming at a price.

You see the research on clutter, stress, and productivity reaffirms what my heart has been asking me to recognize for a long time. When you keep adding more options & more to-dos then there will be trade-offs. And too often what I push aside, as the next good thing comes in, are the items that feed my soul.

If I am not mindful and clear about what I want to spend time on, then all those little improvements and opportunities, that seem so great, will fill the space that I need for the REAL stuff.

Not just the good stuff, but the real stuff. The stuff that I long to do. That I enjoy. That I know in my heart will help to make me ME.

So how do you put the brakes on when you have fallen in a pattern of adding more and more, and can feel the trade-offs are getting harder to swallow? It’s not easy. This can be a hard pattern to shift – I am working at it every day – but here are some things that I believe will help.

First recognize the discomfort that saying yes has created. It’s that little let down that you felt when you said YES to one more activity, volunteer request, or work projects and NO to time you could spend on your hobby, health, or chance to have more free time. You probably didn’t recognize the trade-off at that point but that little feeling of resistance or disappointment was a little sign that this YES was going to come at a price. The more good stuff that came in, the more the discomfort grew.

Acknowledge this discomfort without putting yourself down about it. There is no shame in looking at the facts. You got overloaded and didn’t know any other way, it happens. There are so many great opportunities out there and it all seems important and relevant, so it isn’t surprising that your calendar and time got filled up.

But now that the discomfort is getting more noticeable, it’s time to step back and get some perspective. Find a quiet place to sit and take a deep breath. Then exhale all of the stress you have carried as you juggled your million things. Let it go.

And then get out a piece of paper (it can be that crumpled receipt or grocery list stuck in the bottom of your purse) and make a list of the things in your life that you enjoy vs. the things that you do because you feel like you should or could. When you take time to look at all of the things you are doing & why, it can highlight the stuff that came in without you realizing it vs. the stuff that you really want to do and intentionally chose.

The next step is to move forward with Melissa Camara Wilkins advice in mind –

“Should is not an assignment!”

from Permission Granted, by Melissa Camara Wilkins

As you look at the list, think about letting go of some of the things that entered your life because someone said you should try it or do it or be it. Just because someone else thinks those activities or opportunities are great, doesn’t mean they are right for you.

And if you have a broken record in your own head offering lots of shoulds about how things need to be done or how much work you need to take on, then start talking back to that voice. Let it know that you are doing just fine without all the suggestions!

Finally, get clear on the things that you won’t trade-off. One of the things on the top of my list is sleep – I’m no fun & super unproductive if I don’t get good sleep, so it is easier to say no to any opportunity or project that would put a kink in getting enough sleep. Taking time to recognize all the things that you are not willing to trade-off can make decisions much easier.

Now you get to decide how quickly you want to cut out some of the items on the list that you don’t enjoy or realize that you didn’t really want to start in the first place. Look for ways to give notice, pass them along, decrease the time commitment, or cut them out cold turkey.

Remember going forward that you get to decide what you want to spend time on, not extra voices offering you all those coulds and shoulds.

And work to keep the amount of good stuff feeling the way you want it to – all good.

Want to chat more about getting some clarity around all of that good stuff – let me know your thoughts below!

-Kate

Are you a REBEL & it’s getting in the way of being organized or productive?

Have you had the desire to “be more organized” but something inside pushes back against this idea? 

Do you go back and forth between beating yourself up about the state of your space and wondering “what is the point?” 

Are you able to start something new & stick with it when it feels important to your identity & how you represent yourself, but have a hard time following through if you don’t really believe in what you are doing?

Maybe you are a REBEL and you need to start OWNing it!

Here’s what I mean.

I work with all different clients and I wish I could say that I offer a one-size-fits-all approach, but it just doesn’t work that way. There is no “right way” when it comes to decluttering, organizing, or being productive because we each bring our unique experiences, personalities, quirks, and tendencies to everything that we do!

Which is why it is so important to get in touch with what makes us “tick” so that we can stop pushing, struggling, and hitting road blocks, and instead start tapping into strategies that allow us to shine.

Finding out what motivates you & allows you to “buy into” what you are doing is important!  And this is especially true for someone that longs to create systems & spaces that function with ease.  

So what does being a Rebel have to do with this?

Gretchen Rubin, a best-selling author, researcher, & the creator of the Four Tendency framework has studied habit formation & determined that people fall into 4 different groups based on how they are motivated. Her 4 Tendency framework explains that adopting new habits may be easier for some people than for others.

You can take her free quiz here and find out if you are an Obliger, Upholder, Rebel, or Questioner.

Your tendency offers insight into how inner & outer expectations affect your ability to form new habits. And habits often play a role in keeping spaces tidy.

What if you are a Rebel?

Gretchen says, “Rebels resist all expectations, both inner and outer alike. They want to do what they want to do, in their own way, in their own time — and if you ask or tell them to do something, they’re very likely to resist.”

The Rebel’s natural tendency is to push back against many of the methods that often work to get and stay organized. Consistency, scheduling, accountability, or rewards typically aren’t going to work for Rebels, which means that if you are a Rebel then you think outside-the-box and that can be exciting!

It’s time to embrace your unique tendency and work with your resistance. Let go of the notion that you are doing anything wrong when you aren’t able to get yourself to start or follow-through. Instead when you feel the desire to clear clutter, create new systems, or develop a new habit, consider these ideas.

Identity

Do it because it enhances who you believe you are. When you are able to link your actions to your identity then you are more likely to be motivated.

Challenge

Your natural instinct is to push back against outer expectations, so use that to your advantage and make it a challenge. If you have been hearing a voice that told you that you’d never (fill in the blank), then prove that voice wrong by doing it.

Feeling

Gretchen says, “instead of keeping a to-do list, keep a “could do” list.” Tap into that desire to have choice & freedom by waking up each day and asking what you feel like doing today.

Clarity

Rebels are more likely to do things when they are clear on what they want & why they want it. Taking time before you start anything new to get clear on the reasons behind your actions will create greater likelihood of follow-through on the things you decide are important & worth your time.

Remember, you are a Rebel. Decide for yourself what feels right for YOU!

Take it or leave the tips, but the one thing that I hope will resonate is that you can take pride in the fact that you are going to find the way to declutter & build habits that works for YOU.  Not because someone says you should or you think you had better.

Are you a Rebel? Need support to start making these shifts & honoring your tendency? Fill out the form below & we will find a way to get started.

I’m here to help you shed the old patterns & worn out ways of thinking so you can create the spaces & systems that work for YOU!

Is Grief Holding Back Your Decluttering?

Are you faced with the challenge of sorting through items left by a loved one’s death?  

This can be one of the hardest things to get the motivation & courage to do.  And you wouldn’t be alone if you packed up the stuff & then let it sit for a few years.  Or maybe you closed the door on a closet or room & find yourself avoiding this space because you are not ready to face what’s inside. 

You might feel some guilt or shame that you haven’t been able to work on this stuff earlier, and maybe you are beating yourself up over how many times you have tried to start the sorting & clearing, but can’t follow-through.  

Whew… Heavy stuff.  

But let’s shift the narrative away from the shoulds & shame.

I want to share compassion, and hopefully some relief, by letting you know it’s okay.  Those strategies, that probably haven’t felt like strategies to you, are exactly what you needed to do in the midst of the the change & grief that this loss created.  

Grief is a powerful, individual journey & no one can offer the roadmap or timeframe that will predict when YOU will be ready to deal with the stuff left behind.  And forcing yourself to “power through” may get the job done, but the process will likely feel harder & more overwhelming than it needs to be.

So if you are grieving and wondering when and how to tackle this project, I want to offer a few thoughts that might create a little light in a space that can feel dark & hard.

First, work to let go of comparison

We each deal with grief & loss in our own way & in our own time, so commit to go at your own pace without judging your action or inaction based on someone else.  There is no need to rush the process or feel guilty if you haven’t been ready. 

Recognize that this physical stuff seems to hold a lot of memories, but the memories are actually inside of you

You get to keep the memories regardless of whether you hold on to the stuff.  The dusty wine bottle from your first anniversary or the shoe box of old baseball cards are reminders of your time together & the person you love, but they don’t tell the story.  The stories are in you. 

Create new avenues that will cultivate your favorite memories

As you come across pieces that spark positive stories & happy memories, you can take a picture to create a visual reminder of that event. Or use a journal or voice dictation on your phone to collect the feelings, thoughts & images that come to mind.  Keeping the physical item will become less important once you have created alternate ways to trigger the memories of those good times with your loved one.

Allow the letting go to happen in stages

There will be some things that are easy to sort & clear and those are the first areas to tackle when you start the process.  This easier stuff will offer you practice & build your confidence.  And remind you that letting go creates a feeling of relief & lightness

As you dig into the stuff that feels harder & you are faced with a tough decision, you can offer yourself permission to put this in a “maybe” pile or keep it “for now.” It’s ok to go slow & keep more during your first sort. You can come back after you have taken a break. Once a little time goes by & you get more practice letting go, then those hard decisions might not feel so heavy.

Honor the items you keep

If it feels right, place the items that you keep in areas where you can enjoy them. Allow those good memories to resurface every time to notice the item. And if you aren’t ready or it doesn’t feel right to wear, display, or use the items, then dedicate a tote or bin that will keep them safe from deterioration.

Feel proud of each step you take on this journey

It may feel like slow work and you might get frustrated that you aren’t able to move through things faster & make decisions quickly. But, there has been alot of emotion wrapped up in this stuff. Remind yourself that each decision moves you one step further. You are moving ahead & you can be proud of the courage & strength it took to start this work.

Sending you love & encouragement.

If you’d like to share something that you have found helpful or would like to tell me more about your situation, I’d love to hear from you. Share it below.

Finding a Way to Lighten the Load

We are in the middle of one crazy winter here in Minnesota & I am finding that as the snow & snow days continue to pile on, my patience & energy are quickly melting.

But I know that this season will eventually pass & that my grumbling isn’t going to change Mother Nature’s plans. And it does nothing to help the mood around our house!

So today I am committed to making a shift & here’s how.

First, I’m going to acknowledge that IT’S OK to be CRABBY! This has been one loooong haul! At times it has sucked! Plans have had to be changed or put on hold. Calendars rearranged then rearranged again! My flexibility buttons have been pushed to their limits!

So yes! It’s ok to be crabby! I’m going to allow myself to feel it! Maybe even scream it!!!

Then it’s time to MOVE ON & look for some small moments of gratitude.

Here are a few that are coming to mind for me:

  • The treadmill has been dusted off & given some use.
  • We have been able to offer a helping hand around the neighborhood with our trusty snowblower.
  • A choir concert was cancelled which meant we had a night in to play a new card game with the kids.
  • We are making history (and lots of memories) with each snow fall!
  • We are fortunate to have a warm house to protect us from the cold.

After that I am going to offer myself a little SELF-CARE. All of this time indoors with my kids (and husband) around has depleted my energy reserve. This introvert is going to offer myself permission to retreat into a good book or take a couple hours off to do a hobby that I enjoy. I may even bundle up & brave the biting cold to enjoy a quiet walk.

And then I am going to continue to tell myself that this is temporary. Winter is only one season & it will have to move on eventually!

My expectations may have had to shift a little to adjust to the weather’s unpredictability but eventually routine will re-emerge. We will talk about braving the winter of 2019 & feel pride that we found ways to persevere.

This quote in Of Mess & Moxie by Jen Hatmaker, reminds me that even if another storm blows in this week & adds another couple inches to our snow banks, I am the one that gets to choose how I will respond.

YOUR TURN…

How are you handling the unpredictability of this winter weather?  What have you done that allows you to keep perspective, reserve energy, or make the best of this season? I’d love to hear it!

I believe that the more we offer each other permission to be ourselves in our struggles & in our joys, the easier this world becomes for us all.