Healthy Living

Have You Ever Been in a State of Overwhelm?

That’s where I live most of the time. In a state of overwhelm.

From having too many clothes hanging in my closet, which makes deciding what to wear more difficult than it should be, to having so many downloads on my reading list that I can’t decide which one to read first.

How many evenings have you sat down in front of the TV, remote in hand, and just perused the guide and ended up watching nothing? I know everyone raves about going on Netflix and having the entire series there for you to binge on, but there are so many! I kind of miss the days when there was a show or two that aired one night a week and I couldn’t wait till the following week to see the next episode. It was something to look forward to, as benign as it may be.

We’ve filled our life with convenience – with the intention of giving us more time. But time we thought we had saved has been overcrowded and overshadowed with too much of everything, leaving us to doing a whole lot of nothing. We seem to be trying to fit it all in, shuffling things from here to there, and end up feeling overwhelmed with just too much on our plate.

As a blogger I’ve been told to keep my posts short – to the point, two to three paragraphs at most. People don’t have time to read an entire article. I’ve noticed now that on many publications they put the time it will take to read an article under the title. 4 min read. 8 min read. 2 min read. Whatever you can squeeze into your already calendar crowded day.

This is where living a more Zen life, the life of a minimalist, becomes much more attractive. Less is more has never sounded so desirable. We are on overload, even down to having too much in our refrigerators. So much so that half the time we can’t even decide what to make for dinner.

It’s wonderful to have options. Of course it is. But when the options become so many that it takes forever to make a decision, then options become more of a distraction, a hinderance. They say that we might not know what we want a lot of the time, but we do know what we don’t want. And what I don’t want is to live in a state of overwhelm.

So I downsized my closet. According to the chief design officer for California Closets, the average person only wears about 20 percent of her wardrobe on a regular basis. I know that’s true for me. I try and change it up every now and again but tend to always fall back on my favorite go-to jeans, black Gap tees, and well worn-in cowboy boots. So I did some downsizing and got rid of every pair of black pants except the two that fit me really well. I did the same with my jeans, with my t-shirts, black sweaters, my boots and the rest of my shoes. Just that act alone has made my life much easier. Getting dressed now isn’t such a big ordeal.

Simplicity equals freedom. It equals peace of mind. If you find you are feeling overwhelmed, what parts of your life feel too crowded? What can you do without? Having less is truly a way to reduce overwhelm in your life, whether in your closet, your reading list, or on your calendar, less is a breath of fresh air.

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  • Donna Barker

    Last year I became too sick to work for about four months and a friend lent me a copy of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. A small book that one can read in small chunks and then apply the advice. I followed it to a tee and got rid of about 75% of my clothes, books, and kick knacks. I have to admit that when even making a cup of tea is overwhelming it is the perfect time to purge.

    Do I *need* this? Does this bring me joy? If not, I let it go. And 8 months later, my physical and mental space are still free from clutter. Which, I am 100% certain, helped in my recovery. Life changing magic, indeed!

    Fabulous advice, Kim!

    • Kim

      Thank you, Donna. I agree – clearing the clutter is so freeing and is the first rule of Feng Shui – make space for new opportunities! So happy to know that it was life changing for you. I also love the notion that if you have faith that the Universe (God) will provide for you, you can let go of any nouns (person, places, things!) and trust that there is plenty more where that came from when and if you desire/need it. 🙂

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