There are many areas of our lives that may burden us; The never-ending to-do lists, obligations to others, relationship entanglements. These burdens can overwhelm us and have a negative impact on our physical, mental and emotional health as well as our relationships and productivity and effectiveness in the workplace.
When we get rid of the things that are weighing us down we can lighten up and open ourselves up to new possibilities and positive energies.
You cannot change what you do not acknowledge so the first step is to take stock.
Scrutinizing our ‘to do” list.
If this list is ever-lengthening it can drain us of our energy. Simply writing obligations on a list in itself is not smart. The list needs to be divided into categories:-
- Urgent and important
- important but not urgent
- not important and not urgent.
The next step is to set a date when each task is to be completed and identifying the steps required to complete the task. As each task is completed a person experiences the feeling of achievement.
Clearing Out Clutter
Many of us have a “dumping ground” where we store unused/rarely used/unwanted goods. Scrutinize each item and ask yourself “when did I last use this”? If you haven’t used it for a year or more get rid of it; throw it away, sell it, give it to charity.
Notice how much lighter you feel.
List Obligations and Tasks
Take time to list all the obligations and tasks for which you are responsible. For each obligation/task ask yourself the following questions:-
- What would happen if I didn’t do this?
- Can someone else do it instead?
- How necessary is it to do it?
- Could I/someone else do it differently?
This exercise will help you to identify if you have taken on something because you “ought to” or “should do”.
For a period of time – say 1 month or longer before taking on new obligations ask yourself – “will this serve me”? “What effect will have on others around me?” For example you might feel that offering your services helping a local charity would be fulfilling for yourself but if it takes a lot of time away from family obligations it will have an affect on your relationships. This exercise will also help you to identify whether you take on tasks in order to seek approval and recognition from others.
Identify Toxic Relationships
Again, take some time with this. It is sometimes difficult to move on from friendships or other relationships that no longer serve us.
We can stay friends with someone whom we no longer have anything in common. We can naturally let friendships go.
We can get stuck, particularly with our families and continue with old out-dated role playing. It is amazing to find that when families come together on festive occasions everyone slips into the old role plays; We do this unconsciously. One family member will be the “responsible” one, another could be “ditsy”, or the “joker”. As soon as the family come together those old ways of being come into play.
We can stay stuck in relationships because we feel guilty, take on responsibility for that person’s happiness or even because we are afraid of being alone. When we stay in a relationship that no longer serves us we are not only holding ourselves back but also preventing the other person from being happy.
If you find yourself in toxic or unhappy relationships look for solutions; It might mean seeking professional help, having a frank conversation with that person or ending the relationship.
Getting into the habit of taking stock of your life and always asking yourself what is causing you the most concern right now will get you into the habit of checking in with yourself. This will help you to feel less vulnerable, overwhelmed and to take responsibility for your own happiness.
Read more about taking steps to de-clutter your life